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article imageOp-Ed: Will cash become extinct?

By Alexander Baron     Aug 4, 2011 in Business
A recent survey has found that cash is becoming increasingly unpopular with the British public; the big question is, will it become extinct?
The British love surveys, not necessarily the British public, but academics, political parties, and here, banks. According to their latest poll: “Over one in eight of us don't carry cash and half of us believe coins and notes will become obsolete in the future, according to research from Barclaycard and Barclays.”
A 1982 Gallup Poll found that 21% of the British public, 34% of the American public, and 67% of the Greek public believed in the Devil. Nineteen years later, the figure for the US had nearly doubled, and that was four months before September 11. Now that we have established the credibility of opinion polls, what does the Barclays Bank survey tell us about the future of cash? Well, it could all be a sinister conspiracy, in the words of David Icke:
“Today if you go into a shop to buy food and your credit card is refused by the computer, you can pay with cash. What happens when there is no cash? You are at the mercy of the computer. If it refuses your card or microchip, you have no means to purchase anything.”
Okay, let’s forget for a minute that this is a guy who believes in the Protocols Of Zion, and the subversion of terrestrial governments by space lizards; is he wrong?
The ugly truth is that financial transactions carried out on-line are easily traced by the government, and when we make them, so are we. This is not always and necessarily a bad thing. Credit card transactions were instrumental in building the case against serial killer Ted Bundy, and such data can often exculpate the innocent as much as inculpate the guilty. In any case, David Icke’s ideas are not as revolutionary as his supporters and probably the man himself seem to think. Aldous Huxley published his dystopian novel Brave New World in 1932, and identity cards were not new even then. Ration books followed in short order.
The good news is that new types of money are being developed that are not traceable, or not easily traceable, such as Ecash. Leaving aside both paranoia and genuine concerns over a cashless society – which hopefully will never come about – credit cards, debit cards, and similar substitutes have definite advantages for the user such as convenience, and even built-in insurance. And which would you rather lose in the back of a taxi, a fat wallet or a debit card? Having said that, cash has its place, and whatever propaganda the banks may churn out, notes and coins will be around until the next century - if the world lasts that long.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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