Fri Feb 17
In many countries, you’re likely paying for things with a credit card, allowing you to accrue mileage, credit card points, and enjoy the convenience and safety of not carrying cash. But what if cash were no longer an option at all? What’s the cost of going cashless?
In a cashless society, the banking and tech elite are in control. Transactions and accounts can be made and frozen at their say so. Not only does this put everyone at their mercy, it means huge data trails will exist for any individual and that is a big boon to surveillance. But even if we trust our institutions and corporations to act in our best interest, a cashless society also means we won’t have a backup option in times of crisis whether that’s a natural disaster, power outage, or cyberattack.
Even so, the incredible ease, safety, and efficiency of digital transactions has moved many of us towards a cashless future. Some countries are fully embracing this, such as Nigeria (which is in a cash crisis fueling Bitcoin adoption). In fact, more than half the world’s central banks are exploring or developing a digital currency. But simultaneously, some are passing legislation to protect against a totally cashless future.
The Swiss will hold a referendum on whether cash should always be in circulation at some minimum level. Others such as the UK and Ireland have passed laws that ensure access to cash. In the US, some states have moved to ensure stores and restaurants will always accept cash payments, which they say helps small business, low income communities, and the undocumented. Ultimately, researchers see a viable future where a low level of cash continues to circulate while the majority of transactions become digital.
BELOW THE FOLD BYTES
Social Exclusion and Shame Linked to Support for Authoritarianism
Poverty is often linked to support for authoritarianism (blind submission to strict authority as opposed to autonomy) but what is it about poverty that makes someone more receptive to authoritarianism? Researchers in Germany answered that question through three experiments which tested for shame, stress, and anxiety. Researchers found that shame consistently came out as a top link to subsequent feelings of support for authoritarianism. The researchers argue that authoritarianism might provide a sense of oneness and sameness to the poor who may feel socially excluded. It also might diffuse personal responsibility (and shame) for their poverty while a “strong” authoritarian leader shelters them from their powerlessness.
Ozone Layer on Track for Recovery by 2066
In the midst of all the problems, isn’t it nice to have some good news about the environment? It looks like our ozone layer is on track to recover to its pre-1980s level by 2066. This is a big cause for celebration because it has taken an enormous effort that began in 1987 with the adoption of the Montreal Protocol, an international treaty to protect our ozone layer. Because of swift and global action in phasing out ozone-depleting chemicals (99% has been phased out since the treaty), we’ve managed to avoid this particular planetary crisis. And, as a reminder, the ozone layer is what protects all life from the sun’s harmful radiation, including cancer-causing UVB rays.
🎬 Action of the Week
While a digital economy has many benefits, the individual freedom and security of physical cash makes it easy to see why at least some cash needs to stick around and why being able to use it is important. To learn more about why a completely cashless system is problematic and what you can do about it, check out this ACLU article.
THIS WEEK'S SOURCES
- Bloomberg: Swiss May Enshrine Status of Cash 2 minutes long | 2 weeks ago
- Reuters: Swiss to Vote to Prevent Cashless Society 2 minutes long | 2 weeks ago
- Coda Story: Banking & Tech Elite Control 7 minutes long | 3 weeks ago
- The Irish Times: Legally Protected Access to Cash 4 minutes long | 3 months ago
- CashEssentials: Protecting Access to Cash 4 minutes long | 3 months ago
- NPR: Cities & States Say No to Cashless Shops 4 minutes long | 5 weeks ago
- IMF: Over Half of World’s Banks Exploring Digital Currencies 2 minutes long | 6 months ago
- McKinsey & Company: Benefits of Central Bank Digital Currencies 9 minutes long | 2 days ago
- TU Delft: A Sustainable Future of Cash 6 minutes long | 4 years ago
- Forbes: Nigerians Turn to Bitcoin In Cash Crisis 12 minutes long | 2 days ago
ASCII-ING ABOUT THE NEWS
____ (_ _) . . / / .`_._'_.. / / \ o / / / Pru \ / / _/ /_ `. ~. `\___/'./~.' /.~'`. .`'`.`.'`'`.~.`'~.`'`.~`
Here's to a future full of beach days under a healthy ozone!
Art Credit: asciiart.eu