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Re: <nettime> In Praise of Cash
Michael H Goldhaber on Fri, 3 Mar 2017 08:09:21 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> In Praise of Cash

Interesting essay, Brett, but ironic that you don't comment on the
replacement of a person selling drinks by the soulless vending machine.
I'm reminded of what happened a few years ago when my wife and I were on
our honeymoon. In the course of our flight from California to Ireland,
by way of London, she took ill, and was rushed by ambulance to the
nearest NHS hospital to Heathrow. After a very tense day, she seemed
better and was being taken care of enough for me to realize how tired
and hungry I was. I had stocked up on Euros for Ireland, and also had
dollars, but no pounds. The Hospital cafeteria would not accept payment
in other than pounds, nor would it take credit cards. There was a bank
machine, but it was broken. Finally, very reluctantly, the person who
ran the little hospital shop agreed to sell me a candy bar for some

If, as you posit, an electrical grid goes out, your vending machine
would probably not have worked at all, even with coins. But what if you
hadn't had the right coins? An old-fashioned vending machine wouldn't
have worked either. And if the human seller of drinks— had there been
one—either was too bureaucratic or arbitrarily took a dislike to you,
you couldn't have had your fix either. 

If, and it is a sizable if, a government feels responsible for all
people, it would only get rid of cash if an acceptable alternative
exists for everyone. If it does not feel that basic responsibility, cash
or plastic is hardly the main worry.


Sent from my iPad

> On Mar 1, 2017, at 2:35 PM, Brett Scott <brettscott {AT} fastmail.com> wrote:
> I just published this big essay in Aeon Magazine, looking at the dark
> sides of 'cashless society' (aka. the bank payments society):
> https://aeon.co/essays/if-plastic-replaces-cash-much-that-is-good-will-be-lost.
> This follows from an earlier essay I did called The War on Cash. The
> battle to protect cash is one full of ambiguities - it feels somewhat
> like trying to protect good ol' normal capitalism from a Minority Report
> surveillance-capitalism. The full text is below

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