Would having a cashless society do away with such crimes as drug dealing, robbery, moneylaundering, tax fraud etc., or would it just create more problems?
B. G., I have a feeling that Nickrz is going to wield his new found powers to move this thread to Great Debates. However, to answer your question, I’m in favor of a cashless society, as long as I can earn frequent flier miles from it.
A cashless society society would have to either
a) have no trade whatsoever, which would be extremely bad, or
b) barter only, which would be inconvient.
So inconvenient, in fact, that people would trade gold for most things as a thing every barterer would accept. And then, since gold is so heavy to carry around with you, someone would make official looking “I owe you 1 pound of gold” notes. And you can guess where it would go from there…
That is a very interesting question. I am not sure that a cashless society would necessarily do away with those things. Robbery of cash would disappear, but depending on the new medium, it might not stop that and of course robbery of items would not stop.
I think we are very close to a cashless society now. My check is direct deposited, I pay most of my bills online, I use a credit card for most purchases. If all eating establishments took a credit card like device, then I could do away with cash.
The smart cards that some have pushed are stupid. You pay $20 for a $20 card, then you can only use it at places that take that card and if someone steals it there is nothing to stop them from using it. It is like cash but worse, because you can’t spend it just anywhere.
Maybe a system that used your finger prints. However, there will always be a concern of what the gov’t or others will do with the finacial and finger print information.
I do think it could cut down on some of the other activities. You could still launder money by sending it from one bank account to another. There will still be ways to buy drugs. But since I am almost there now, I say go for it.
Most money laundering doesn’t involved cash.
drug dealing, robbery:
With the strong emphasis on personal privacy and freedom in our society, cash could never be completely done away with without an electronic equivalent. e-cash is already an idea that has been played with. e-cash would be some sort of card that is totally transferable, and not attached to a name
Even without the presence of e-cash, I don’t think that there would be much impact on drug dealing or robbery ('cept for the robbery of cash). Drug dealers would need to be more creative. It wouldn’t have any effect on the activities that work within organized crime.
Yeah, in its current form, e-cash is no good. It would need to carry the government backed insistance of “legal tender for all debts, public and private”
Methinks someone is missing the idea here.
Only a very tiny fraction of today’s trade is done in cash.
Uh, yeah. Sorry. I read that “money-less society”. Very different.
OK OK. How would you go about buying a suitcase full of heroin with a debit card? How would you sell a stolen car to someone if they had to pay with a debit card? What would the drug lords do with all of those suitcases full of $100 bills? How would you hide all of those dirty deals from the IRS?
A cashless society would be a dictatorship with No privacy. We are almost there now. Just put your smart card number in a biochip in your hand (predicted in Revelations) and there you are. No one can steal your money, but everywhere you buy anything, it’s all recorded.
B.G. Kimball asks:
I can’t speak for others, but I’d use Strainger’s frequent flier miles.
More seriously, In addition to the bad privacy implications mentioned by vanillanice, there would be the benefit of making these sordid transactions more difficult to complete. But on the wholesale level, I see a big New York gang trading stolen cars for export to a big Columbian gang for cocaine, for instance. I’ll leave the retail distributions to others.
This is not an offer to agree or disagree with opinions, which may be done only by a current prospectus.
Totally replacing paper currency with “virtual” currency would probably have an effect on street crimes like mugging. But consentual crimes like drug dealing, gambling, and prostitution would continue under cover of false transactions. Financial crimes like tax fraud and moneylaundering already involve mostly non-currency transactions.
C’mon, be imaginative.
There are plently of substitute currencies, the obvious being precious metals. Bartering already figures into the black market pretty heavily. Many drug dealers also have minor legitimate work selling things like jewelry. That helps to explain the jeweler’s scale. In any case, having a simple legitimate trade would allow one to launder drug transactions fairly easily.
Cashless society ? Go to inner Borneo, or deepest Amazon. Got headhunting, murder, rape, and theft of everything from water supplies to pigs. Kinda like NYC.
“Proverbs for Paranoids, 1: You may never get to touch the Master, but you can tickle his creatures.”
- T.Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow.
Cashless Society? Sounds good to me. You won’t need it anymore so send me all of your cash!
Odd, I thought I had already posted to this topic. Oh well.
Digital coin is quite feasible, and with properly implimented encryption algorythmns, untraceable, unless you attempt to defraud it. The algorythmns are moderately hairy and it has been a while since I studied them, but many good books on encryption, such as Applied Cryptograpy by Schneier, will go over them.
>>Being Chaotic Evil means never having to say your sorry…unless the other guy is bigger than you.<<
—The dragon observes
With banks having made ATMs, direct deposit, and debit cards the convienient way for many people to go- it is almost certain that we will get closer and closer to that e-cash or hard currency-free society. But so many poor people who live from payday to payday will never want to have one piece of plastic or a chip to carry all their money. How can the poor family afford to credit their children’s chip or plastic card for lunch money / allowance for a week at a time instead of handing them a couple of bucks each day? The currency is still easier to restrict the flow upon.
Vanilla - Your point is valid, but not for the reason you think. We have the technology to go cashless today, but it will not happen in our lifetime, and probably not in our childrens’ lifetime. The major reason it won’t happen is that a large portion of our society screams “Big brother!” every time a cashless society is mentioned. It is a baseless claim, but well entrenched in our collective psyche. The government has no access to electronic purchase information. As I have explained before in a similar topic, there are three parties (other than you) involved in an electronic purchase: the merchant, which knows what you bought, how you paid, and maybe your name; the clearing company, which knows your account status and the total purchase amount; and your credit/debit card issuer, which knows your personal information and the total purchase amount. No one, other than you, knows the complete picture.
BTW, to back up my claim of “not in this lifetime”- even in this age of technology the number of checks written annually in the US continues to grow. The growth has slown marginally, but we have not even begun to write fewer checks, much less a move to a cashless society. Cash “feels” good. It gives people security. Adoption of replacement technology is s-l-o-w.
The overwhelming majority of people have more than the average (mean) number of legs. – E. Grebenik
My god, do people actually think that eliminating currency will stop drug dealers?
Some of you are making the assumption that just because you are wired into the system, so is everyone else. Not the case. Many people do not trust banks and keep large, and I mean LARGE, amounts of cash under the mattress. Who is going to pay to convert everyone to “e-money”? The government? I’m sure it would be cheaper to just keep printing cash. And what about garage sales? And homeless people who panhandle for a living? If there is no more cash for them, what other line of work do you think they’ll take up? Do you even want to think about it? Cash will always be around because there will always be a demand for it.
How did this flaptrap start anyway? My guess: some moron congressman who has no idea what he’s talking about, but since he got in the papers with it some people accept it as gospel.
Doc, I agree with you that we have all the technology we need for a cashless society, but I think it is a lot closer. People scream Privacy whenever there is talk of doing away with money, however the change will not be a government-instigated move, it will happen through commerce. There are already many opportunities to get by without cash, cheques, direct debit, credit cards. As vendors find that it is easier and easier to do business this way they will encourage it more and more. Sooner or later you’ll find that there are so many ways of paying for stuff without cash that you can’t be bothered carrying it, indeed I can even imagine the day when there is a surcharge on users of cash levied by merchants compensating for the higher overheads; cash will dissapear on its own.
In the Netherlands there is already the possibility to load money onto a chip card at your ATM which is effectivly cash as it doesn’t need a PIN number to be used; the main drawback to this is that you still can’t go out of an evening and reliably expect to be able to use it anywhere. An alternative is the Phonecard technology used in the Uk, and elsewhere, where you buy a card with a certain number of telephone units on it, and when it is used up you throw it away. It doesn’t have to contain telephone credits, it could just as easily be currency. This way you would effectivly have untraceable electronic money.
It only hurts when I laugh.
Most of the cash in the world is on paper, so to speak. Very few nations have currency backed by anything(i.e. precious metals) other than the stability of that nation’s economy and/or government in the eyes of the international community.