Feeling agitated or adventurous? Enter Tornado Country to witness the fury of Spin Doctor as he analyses the ins and outs of the modern world, tears down old preconceptions, and glimpses into history with an eye on the future.

Going Cashless

People ask what is wrong with a cashless economy, and they have a point. It’s a practical, cleaner alternative to the slow and dated concept of cash, making it easier to carry out and keep tabs on monetary transactions.

But there’s a catch. Cashless means digital, and digital is a ghost. Here now, gone in an instant, faster than a fire burning the cash down, or lifting it from a vault. We’re talking nanoseconds. Digital time.

Digital money, in other words, is almost magical. Not just promissory like a note, but truly incorporeal, subject to the codes and algorithms, firewalls and processors of any electronic database. It takes up less space in every way, meaning that it’s a reach too far (from human grasp).

But it’s always within reach of its handlers.

I ask the champions of a cashless economy: Do you see a problem with this arrangement?

They say: Sure, but the benefits outweigh the costs.

Like the benefits of cutting down a bunch of liberties to gain more security? I ask, mixing it up.

Yes, respond some of them (the fanatic and jingoist and not so well educated — as well as the far too well educated, the ones whose education is a means to indecency and greed).

No, say the ones who get the analogy, cognizant of the point but nevertheless unswayed. This, they say, is a matter of practicality. To reach greater heights of progress we have to upgrade the economy’s apparatus. Just like we had to ditch the barter system for a currency system; just like we had to exchange wheelbarrows and scythes for steam engines and combustion engines and robots and automation to accommodate our knowledge and facilitate progress. Cash is a remnant of the past. It may feel strange at first to ditch it for a digital alternative, just like it felt weird to transition from letters to the telex and from there to the telephone, but it has to go.

To which I say to them: This is all well and good, and I agree with the principle, but here’s another viewpoint. Imagine for a moment your family pictures, the ones you took over the decades. Precious, aren’t they?

Part 2 to follow