Cashless Society?

It seemed so easy…One week after the 1st blog, how did I do in the “1 week without credit card”… I was doing quite well for the first…3 days and half then I succumbed I went back home and took my credit card and bought those “exceptional” items I really really needed (on second thought maybe not). That reminded me that I actually survive 2/3 weeks on a no credit card. Last year I went on holiday in Southeast Asia visited Thailand, Cambodia and Myanmar. While I was able to use cash and credit card in Thailand and Cambodia that was not the case in Myanmar (I don’t know now but at the time you were not able either to withdraw money at ATM (and even finding one) with a foreign card or pay with it in shops etc (and internet connection was so slow that made it impossible to buy things online). Before entering the country I had to think about the money I will need and bring them on me in cash. The result was that I had about 500$ on me to pay for hotel, food, transport, emergency etc….I remember that I thought carefully about every single expense and find more reasonable way to travel (by bus) etc… The result was that at the end of the 3 weeks I was left with about 200$. Of course life over there was much cheaper than here but still….. I would have spent it all if I knew I could use my credit card.

All of this made me think, are we going to toward a society that is going to give up money (cash) for payments? Are we going toward a cashless society? and if so, is it for good reasons or just a plan to make us spend always more. That was the question that came to my mind, apparently there are many research about the possibility of cashless society.

For some (The End of Money: Counterfeiters, Preachers, Techies, Dreamers – and the Coming Cashless Society David Wolman) it is imminent for other the possibility of cashless it still is very far (http://www.businessinsider.com/no-the-cash-less-society-is-not-imminent-2013-9).

As we can see every day we tend to replace money (cash) by other way of payment in most transaction and new ways that do not use money at all are flourishing (I guess it makes us feel more comfortable). One that caught my eye is:

Bitcoin is an innovative payment network and a new kind of money.”

It is not actually very clear to me how does it work in practise but there is no money involve. What surprises me is that what is argued by Dan Ariely a cashless society seems to be link to a raise in dishonesty: it’s easier to cut ethical corners involving money, while continuing to think of yourself as an honest person, when you’re psychologically distanced from the money involved. “We are moving to a situation which allows people to rationalise dishonesty to a much, much higher degree” (Dan Ariely). Do you think a cashless society is possible? And if so will it make us more dishonest people?

http://bitcoin.org/en/

http://www.theguardian.com/news/oliver-burkeman-s-blog/2013/sep/27/cashless-society-spend-money-clinkle

http://www.firstcapitalcashflow.com/news-blog/articles/are-we-moving-towards-a-cashless-society.aspx

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2 thoughts on “Cashless Society?

  1. The debate around a cashless society is very interesting! especially when it comes to our relation to physical money and the virtual one..
    I would really like to pay more by cash, I know it would help me to make more sense about my spendings and buying less things I don’t need, or stop upgrading my electronic devices every month under the pretext that “a new technology just came out, It look awesome!”; “this 178billions pixel sensor will change my life!”… The guiltless easy credit card or the “true” to close from reality cash.

    It is interesting to see people’s personal emotional relationship to cash when it comes to spending or overspending. “the physical act of handing over money can be useful in keeping control of how much a person spends (Ingo Härlen)

    We might have things to learn from German.. the strong difference with some of us and many other countries is that until today, they still pay a lot in cash but they are especially willing to pay large amount in cash like.. designer shoes! It seems to come from a form some sort of nostalgia from their precedent national currency, the “Mark” that is linked with a long period of economic growth and welfare. Today within these of crisis this attachment to cash and indirectly to better economic years might be even stronger.

    “Cash offer a space which is not under control – no one asks where it has come from”. (Ingo Härlen)

    On the opposite side we have Sweden who was the first European country to introduce banknotes in 1661, is now on the highway to an almost cashless society
    Two models, two ways of thinking!
    http://www.library.utoronto.ca/utel/criticism/hutchinp.html
    http://www.equens.com/Images/Salmony%20JPSS%20Oct%202011%20-%20How%20to%20replace%20cash.pdf
    http://www.internations.org/germany-expats/guide/16008-economy-finance/methods-of-payment-in-germany-15975
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/17/sweden-eu-cash-cashless-money_n_1355510.html

  2. Hello there fantastic topic its really got my mind spinning thinking about a cashless society I have to say I’m very fearful of this because I find it much easier to withdraw a set amount each month and leave it in a piggy bank under the bed so I can watch the pennies decrease and therefore I feel I budget far better which basically coincides with your point and experience while travelling. I’d like to take your attention to this article about a man who lived a whole year without cash and coins as I think it offers your blog a different perspective (http://www.chatelaine.com/living/budgeting/cashless-society-could-you-live-a-whole-year-cash-free-one-man-tries-it-out/) . Did you know that the Israeli government have limited the use of cash in their economy in order to curb unpaid taxes and black markets (http://www.timesofisrael.com/government-dream-of-a-cashless-society-already-a-reality/) which if you asks me makes for a fairer economy and a more just society. So perhaps this cashless society is something I’ll have to brave and the rest of society will have to become smarter about because it sure seems to be a concept that is only going to expand in the future. Therefore this blog is so informative and educational I have even purchased a banking app so that I could become more cashless in my own day to day like so THANK YOU.

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