I’m Already Paranoid But “Cashless Society” Pushes Me Off The Cliff

I could go on a rant about “cashless society” and how those damn kids should stay off my lawn. Instead I’ll let Joe Bob Briggs from Taki’s Magazine handle it for me. You should read it all but here are a few quotes to whet your appetite:

“There’s some guy at the world headquarters of CVS drugstores screwing with me. I don’t know who he is yet, but he lives in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. This is where CVS Health, the largest drugstore chain in the history of drugstores, has its main offices, and where a designated marketing jerk chews on the nub of a pencil and thinks all day about how many coupons he can string onto the bottom of my sales receipt.”

I think we all can agree that, after small pox, the untimely death of butterflies, and Hillary Clinton, “targeted” marketing is the worst evil on earth. For example, I researched truck batteries a while back and right now there are literally three goddamn ads for car batteries on my screen!

I bought the batteries a month ago! They had a chance to make the sale. They blew it. The seller wins, they lose. It’s proper etiquette for losers to go home and weep quietly. (And yes, I knew the marketing type in college. You knew them too. They were the ones who used Daddy’s trust fund to major in anything that didn’t take work, math, or commitment. This is something they brought upon themselves.)

On to the real threat of credit based transactions:

“The conspiracy theories become even more convincing when we review the recent calls for a “cashless society,” and the proposals to require a “biometric global ID card.” These would sound like fanciful inventions of people who have Buckminster Fuller coffee-table books in their homes were it not for the fact that Indonesia, a nation of 250 million souls, is already introducing it, and India is talking about it as well. I’m sure all the Indonesians are being told, “You’ll enjoy greater security.”

Then there’s the fact that the little miniaturized computer known as the EMV chip is a version of the same chip that the vet puts in your cat’s neck…”

Ye Gods! Now I hate big data and cats both!

“So, in the future, we’ll be told to forget that bankroll. Get rid of that wad of twenties you’re taking to Aqueduct to put down on the second claiming race. ‘We’re gonna force you to carry around a biometric chip, even if we have to cut open your forehead to find a place for it.'”

Obviously things like this need a scapegoat. Whom shall be blamed? If you’re left wing it’s Bush, if you’re a hippie it’s “the man”, if you’re Joe Bob Briggs it’s…

“The whole thing started in France.

So it came from France, it doesn’t work in France, it’s used by marketing girls in Woonsocket who leave early on Friday so they can suntan in Nantucket, and it’s designed to make sure that anyone buying Trojan Magnums is specifically identified as a candidate for jock-itch cream.”

Now that’s some epic writing there folks! Enjoy.


On a more serious note I view a cashless society as almost more threatening than the loss of gun rights for civilians. I won’t go into it in detail but simply say that a cashless society fails the Jews In The Attic Test.

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About Adaptive Curmudgeon

I will neither confirm nor deny that I actually exist.
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11 Responses to I’m Already Paranoid But “Cashless Society” Pushes Me Off The Cliff

  1. bmq215 says:

    The over-the-top writing style is fun but his technical understanding is woeful at best. As in, it appears to boil down to an absurd mishmash of different technologies. I’m certainly not one to defend a “cashless society” or even the idea that “more security” is always the answer but there are a few points that are worth pointing out:

    1) “there’s the fact that the little miniaturized computer known as the EMV chip is a version of the same chip that the vet puts in your cat’s neck”. Some proposed EMV chips have RFID tech in them (what’s in your cat’s neck) but the vast majority do not. It’s also far from being a “miniaturized computer” since it just squirts out the same string of numbers every time it gets near a field capable of energizing it. You know what else has these “miniaturized computers”? Every book you buy from a place like B&N.

    2) “biometric chip” is definitely a scary-sounding phrase. In practice though it just means that your card is carrying around a picture of your fingerprint and the note “hey, don’t let any dude use this whose fingerprint doesn’t look like this!”. Is this a good idea? I’m not sure. However, it’s no different from the signature that’s always been required, except for the fact that it might actually be enforceable.

    3) Yeah, big data is super annoying. Lately ads for things I’ve been searching for have been showing up on my girlfriend’s computer. Just because we’re on the same wireless network. If that isn’t enough to scare a guy, I don’t know what is. However, these new credit cards aren’t exactly going to change the data collection side of things. After all, your credit card purchases have always been identified with a unique number tied to your name, address, transaction history, etc. Otherwise, how would they know who to charge? This just attempts to reduce the number of people who can get ahold of that number.

    Just my 0.02

    • I’m chalking up the technological inaccuracy to hyperbole and poetic license.

    • Phil B says:

      I recall a guy in Indonesia that had his Mercedes stolen – it had a fingerprint reader that could only be activated by his fingerprint. He not only lost the Mercedes but his right index finger too …

      There is ALWAYS a way around a security system. Locks, bolts and bars are only there to keep the honest people out. No different to this system.

  2. Sailorcurt says:

    A cashless society is the only way they can make “negative interest rates” work. They want to force you to spend your money rather than save it, because spending it generates economic activity (otherwise known as “tax revenue”). Plus, if you save money, you may not be dependent on the government to take care of you in the future…Unthinkable…so they must FORCE you to spend your money. The recent innovation is charging you a fee to keep your money in the bank. The problem is those stubborn people who don’t cooperate and spend the money, but rather pull it out of the bank in cash and stuff it in a mattress. That can be prevented very easily by simply outlawing cash. Then the only alternatives you have are to spend your money or pay fees on saving it.

    That’s what this is all about. Oh…and the minor detail that it makes it MUCH more difficult to live “off grid” and helps the government keep track of (and control over) everyone. Can’t have anyone enjoying such extravagances as “freedom” can we?

    • I suspect “negative interest rates” will hit banks with a rebound they will regret for a long time. And it’ll crush the heck out of “cashless” ideas. Another example of people in suits “playing with fire” when they should know better.

  3. Rob says:

    In a cashless society the banks get rich(er)! Everyone has to have a bank.

    I’d never heard of the “Jews in the attic test”, it’s worth while. Thank you.

    • “Everyone has to have a bank.”

      This statement reminds me of the periodic articles / press foisted on us about those tragic individuals who are “underbanked”. Here are some random examples 1, 2, 3. I find them amusing because their “concern” about people falling prey to “predatory fees” sounds a lot like “we’re worried they’ll fall prey to someone else’s predatory fees” to me.

  4. Machiavelli says:

    I ran the security program for the credit card arm of a very large bank for 13 years. I’ve testified in federal court a handful of times as an expert on credit cards, credit card fraud, etc. I don’t consider myself “an expert”, but I probably know as much as the folks who do call themselves “experts”.

    During my 13 years with The Bank (they call it that – The Bank), I’ve seen bright-eyed executives pitch the idea of “cashless, cardless society” and “Biometric credit cards” no less than a dozen times. I’ve seen millions of dollars go into consumer studies, trials, and the like. Do you know why the industry has never done anything like this? “Because people f-cking HATE it.” I mean, people LOATHE it. When you see a consumer walk away from their groceries sitting there already checked out and in the cart because they don’t want to pay with a fingerprint… that’s pretty telling.

    Another “bright idea” someone had during my tenure is “pay online with bank account”. This is popular in parts of Europe. The gist of it is, when you are done checking out, instead of getting a form to put your credit card number in, we pop-up a login to your bank account. You login to your bank online, and poof, we transfer the money right out of it for you! Doesn’t that sound great? Except that people hate that, too. We’ve been telling them for decades, “Never give anyone your online banking credentials!”, now we’re going to ask them to do it. I needed all the experience that my four-year degree at University of Phoenix gave me to see that one coming.

    But that said, likening the EMV chip to a cat’s RFID chip is kind of spurious, at best. The similarities being and end with, “They are both computer chips”. EMV chips are what the industry calls a “smart card” and have MUCH more in common with the SIM Card in your cell phone or the chip that comes in your passport; they are, in fact, close to identical. See, people don’t need manufacture paranoia, there is plenty already right there in front of you.

  5. Howard says:

    I see the idea of a cashless society as a way to shut down the sub economy that deals in under the table sales that are therefore not taxed as well as allowing for negative interest rates. It also would track purchases of items that could be used to embarrass purchasers (like your trojian magnums) or keep track of your ammunition or alcohol purchases not to mention the hundred pounds of dried beans you bought last week. It would not require biometric data to implement. I understand you can pay your bill in some venues with an app on your smart phone. Whether you have a chip in your credit card or not makes no nevermind because a computer a the bank will record the purchase anyway.
    One of the arguments in favor will be that it would shut down the drug trade. If you believe that I have some ocean front property in Arizona to sell you.
    If cashless should become law I believe the black market will move to barter real quickly.

    • I figure the “cashless” society has two phases (neither of which benefits freedom):

      The first is to control all transactions in order to penalize “unacceptable” ones (either illegal like buying drugs or legal but “icky” like buying ammunition and liquor).

      The second is to allow the greater extraction of taxes and fees (either current ones that are ignored like adding sales tax on a rummage sale or new ones that we’d otherwise dodge like negative interest).

      I also figure it’s an idea that’s doomed to utter failure. You need to spend a lot of time locked in academia and/or reading your own press releases to think it’s going to happen. Fortunately the best way to give the “grey market” wings is to move cashless which will entice everyone from criminals to saints to trade on the grey market. I’m not sure what will be barter/trade but if the communist/totalitarian soviet empire couldn’t do away with cash it sure as hell ‘aint happening among the rest of the world. I look forward to an economy that is 30% bartered coffee/ammo/gasoline/Pepsi/silver or whatever other trade goods I haven’t imagined. (People will trade in anything if they have to… cigarettes, Pokemon, cell phone minutes, Uber rides, laundry detergent, bacon… It could be epic.)

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