The Cashless Society

Introducing a new currency also provides almost unlimited power to your government in its efforts to track your financial affairs. Governments, for the most part, do not like cash. Transactions conducted in cash produce no records and leave no paper trail of their existence. Instead, such transactions can be completely anonymous and afford those involved a level of privacy that has become increasingly difficult to achieve in our modem electronic age. However, thanks to currency recalls, even this last source of financial privacy is quickly evaporating. For a case in point, consider the recent “minor” changes introduced into the US currency. These changes are not nearly as harmless as they may at first appear. Secretly, Big Brother has been hard at work transforming the good old greenback into a completely traceable currency. Do you remember that polyester thread that runs along the left hand side of new bills? Polyester may sound harmless, but the magnetic threads with which it is interwoven are the beginning of your worst nightmare. These threads can be encoded with messages, a taxypayer identification number for example. In other words, it is now entirely possible for your bank to encode cash with your social security number before handing it over to you. Such a practice ensures that any transaction carried out with such marked bills would afford you absolutely no degree of privacy. Wherever your cash may make it to at the end of the day, Big Brother could easily trace it straight back to you.
Although such practices have not yet come into full swing, it has been reported that at least some banks in the US are already equipped with machines capable of reading such encoded bills. Similarly, other countries have developed new currencies that all but eliminate your ability to achieve financial privacy. The Netherlands has recently introduced a much flaunted currency. Yes, it must be said that the bills themselves are quite nice looking. The only problem, these spiffing new notes also carry barcodes, meaning that any attemPM at conducting a private financial transaction can be easily thwarted by the bureaucrats. Incorporating metal threads and using magnetic inks in new currency also means that large amounts of cash can no longer travel quite so freely across national borders. Many new currencies have been specifically designed so that a large number of bills will set off metal detectors at airports.
Still, your government will not rest contentedly even once it has transformed cash into a completely traceable commodity. Instead, Big Brother is working steadily towards his vision of Utopia, the truly cashless society. With the advent of the debit card, such a possibility looms on the horizon as an all too likely outcome. A debit card works much like a credit card, excePM that rather than going towards a line of credit, money is automatically removed from an existing account balance. Just about everyone excePM the privacy conscious consumer is only too pleased to usher in these plastic wonders.
Merchants like debit cards because they receive an instant credit for the goods they sell, no more bounced checks or credit card chargebacks. Banks usually charge a small fee for such transactions, meaning they can increase revenue while decreasing staff costs. Marketing companies love debit cards as they create a detailed picture of each consumer which can in turn lead to far more profitable marketing campaigns. Even the average consumer likes debit cards. They are seen as an easy way of paying for purchases, one that eliminates the need to carry around cash that can be lost or stolen. Finally, the bureaucrats absolutely adore debit cards. They create a visible paper trail for any and all transactions. In the cashless society, the bureaucrat need only log on to his computer to receive a detailed picture about what you’ve been up to with your money.
Furthermore, your government would have little difficulty in cornering you if the need ever arose. In the cashless society, Big Brother need only instruct your bank to cancel your precious plastic card to f lush you out of the woodwork. Without this bit of plastic, you would fW longer be able to purchase even the most basic necessities of life, never mind travel out of the country and beyond the reach of your government. You would be left with little choice but to give in and cop a plea with the authorities, one that would obviously work far more to their benefit than to your own. Many countries have already instituted national debit card systems. Those who have not as of yet will certainly be soon to follow. Whether you like it or not, the cashless society is likely to soon become an all too concrete reality.