A cashless society

by fulltimestudent 7 Replies latest jw friends

  • fulltimestudent

    For thousands of years some material form of money has been important in daily. But now, all over the world, there is a move toward a cashless society - a society where out wealth exists in an electronic form.

    Perhaps, no other country has moved as quickly toward that notion than China.

    A report today on China's Peoples Daily (English) web-site claims that 84% of Chinese can now leave home without cash in their wallet/pocket. As I understand it they will make payments via a smartphone app.

    ( See: http://en.people.cn/n3/2017/0924/c90000-9273002.html )

    An American reporter in China comments:

    "Its mobile payment app, Alipay, and WeChat Pay, which belongs to the country's leading social messaging platform, together hold a commanding 90 percent of the market, leaving Apple Pay struggling to make inroads.
    I recently spent a day in Hangzhou to see how easy it was to go cashless, and I found it somewhat ahead of other cities, including Beijing. I rode buses and subways, which all accept Alipay. I visited a major Buddhist temple, where visitors can make donations, buffing up their karma with a swipe of their phone.
    I even listened to the plaintive tunes of a woman performing music on the street for change — or for a scan of a QR code, placed beside the change box.
    Over a plate of noodles, a restaurateur named Ma Zhiguo told me that about half his customers pay for their meals with cellphones, and he uses his to pay most of the time too.
    "I don't have to worry about getting counterfeit money, or having to make change," he explained."

    Link: http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2017/06/29/534846403/in-china-a-cashless-trend-is-taking-hold-with-mobile-payments

    And with a projected middle class population of 500 million in a few years, it would seem that the trend will only grow more popular in China

    I'm likely in a (old-age-grin) minority (even here in Aust. where like most western countries, credit cards are in common use) but I'm not sure i'll be entirely comfortable. But thinking about it, I've already gone partly down that road. I pay for my public transport fares with a Govt. transport card, that I have to top up regularly. I could use a smartphone app instead of a card, but I don't want a smartphone. But I do appreciate using a web-based bank account that allows me to make payments directly into the accounts of people like my credit card, water and electricity suppliers and others.

    Maybe I'm just a slow adopter.

    How about you?


  • stillin

    I think we've wandered far enough from the gold standard. Sure, it's an abstract concept from the start, but identity theft as rampant as it is, and nobody to even hand my wallet to when they mug me. It sucks!

  • LongHairGal


    It won't totally happen but it is more common than years ago....hopefully, you won't have to deal with a hack where they can drain money right out of your bank account! The problem with everything being electronic is that it can all disappear because of a glitch or fraud.

    While I realize wages are low and a lot of people (especially young people) don't have much money, I generally think it's a bad habit to use the debit card for everything even small stuff (a pack of gum).

    Do you remember what happened in Greece two years ago? You couldn't take more than a small amount out of ATM machines. To me, this underscores the wisdom to have a certain amount of cash hidden.

    I won't use a debit card in a store anymore. I use credit card or cash. I also worked for wealthy people and they all had a safe with a certain amount of currency 'just in case'. They didn't totally trust the banks.

  • steve2

    To keep technological advances in perspective, the original "cashless" society (at a stretch) was the use and widespread use of checks (or, in the United Kingdom and commonwealth countries, spelt "cheques") some centuries ago.

    Admittedly, the use of checks was once confined to nobility and landed gentry classes.

    With checks no money passes hands but is based on the "promise" that funds can be accessed once the check is presented to the bank and cleared - a process that could take up to five working days.

    Yet a bank can only honor the signatories' savings.

    Ever have a check/cheque that "bounced"?

    Ever take a "bounced" check/cheque to the bank and be told there's nothing they could do?

  • Chook

    The biggest problem with a cashless society is a total lack of privacy for purchases and secondly tax robbery.

  • WTWizard

    When I think of a cashless society, I think of negative interest rates. That is, where you have to keep your wealth store in an account that dissipates whatever wealth it stores. And not just real interest rates--nominal interest rates. These negative interest rates mean your balance is shrinking, and the banks get to keep the proceeds. And that is on top of fees.

    Even though those toilet paper bills can be dissipated through hyperinflation, at least they are available during a blackout or internet or service outage. Digital currency (and that includes Bitcoin and similar currencies) cannot be accessed if you lose electricity or their system goes down. And, the banks can freeze whatever you have in your digital wallet, so you are not able to pay whatever you need to pay. They do this if they don't like what you are purchasing. Having access to cash, even toilet paper cash, bypasses this.

    It also throws mud in the "Gold and silver pay no interest" crap. They pay no interest, but you get to keep the gold and silver instead of watching it dissipate. You have one ounce of gold, you will have one ounce of gold 10,000 years later. Which could be a "high" interest rate in a world where nominal interest rates go negative.

  • Amelia Ashton
    Amelia Ashton

    I have a rubber bracelet which I wear to go shopping. To pay for items I just waft this bracelet over their payment machine and I've paid. No scrabbling about for a purse or dropping change everywhere counting it out etc. I love it. :)

  • vivalavida

    This is one of the reasons cryptocurrencies are becoming a bit more popular right now. I mean decentralized electronic money like Bitcoin, Ethereum and Monero, to mention a few.

    Coins like Monero, that is highly privacy oriented, might somehow help reproduce the idea of cash in a highly electronic world. The only problem is precisely the fact that it's still electronic and requires modern technology and communication to thrive.

    On the other hand, in countries like Venezuela, a huge Bitcoin community has been able to somehow counter the effect of runaway inflation and somehow protect some of the value of their hard earned money, even though the government tries hard to control everything.

    At least this way, one could emulate the 'saving money under the mattress' world of the "past".

    Just my 2 cents


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