Money Makes The World Go Round (The penny drops)

“The best books are those that tell you what you know already”

George Orwell 1984

I can’t shake it.  That niggling feeling I get every time I use the “Contactless” paypoints.  Contact. less.  We are becoming further removed from our money.  It all feels very Orwellian.  The quote plays again in my head.

Is it just me?

Is it just me?

“Do you know about this?”
A random conversation strikes up with a fellow commuter as she hands me a leaflet stating that cash will no longer be accepted on buses.  My fellow commuter is called Amanda, she is a debt councillor and is concerned about the effect a “cashless” society will have on her clients.    Cash. Less. society.  A society without any money.

“Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.”

George Orwell 1984

Is the answer to why I feel so uneasy about a cashless society hidden in plain sight?  Contactless, Cashless, it feels like we are definitely losing something.  Did it start in 1971 with the loss of the Gold Standard? Is the move to a cashless society a bid to prolong the life of our Fiat currency?  After all, if we get rid of the promissory notes, will the government have to keep it promises?  Or am I just being pessimistic… In our digital age do we need a “currency” to match?  A digital currency, where billions can be created at the mere touch of a button.  But who’s finger will be on the trigger?

I promise to pay the bearer the sum of 10 pounds.

I promise to pay the bearer the sum of 10 pounds.

Or is the drive towards a cashless society driven by a much simpler motive?  The sights of South London speed past our window as Amanda shares her fears.  In hushed tones, we discuss the desire for retailers to further remove consumers away from the reality of their purchases. Studies as far back as the 1970s show that cards are not seen as “real money” and that consumers have a tendency to spend more when using plastic rather than cash.  The popularity of our “flexible friend” has probably had a significant part to play in helping nearly nine million people across the UK into serious debt problems.

Swipe all your troubles away with your flexible friend.

Swipe all your troubles away with your flexible friend.

The bus slows and abruptly stops outside of a betting shop and a Cash Converters, Amanda bids me farewell and disappears under her umbrella.  As the bus pulls away, our conversation replays in my mind; debt, cash, currency, money, profit, greed, retail, shops, shoes..  I press the buzzer. The weather outside is dismal, but I look up and feel a warm glow from a beautiful window display.

“Have you seen these? They’re on special offer £131”

A tap on the machine and they’re mine.

 

27 responses to “Money Makes The World Go Round (The penny drops)

  1. We should be anxious about this trend: anything that puts us even more into the hands of the financial institutions can’t possibly be good for us. Terrific for them, of course.
    Excellent post – congratters !

    • I know! When researching the post the idea which really hit home for me was that “money” or “wealth” is never destroyed, only transferred, so as we are all getting poorer either through debt or devaluation of our hard earned savings, someone somewhere is getting richer…

      • The gap grows constantly between the top and bottom echelons. Here in Oz we have a guvmint dong its utmost to increase it even more rapidly. Ugh ! Bloody LIBERALS !

  2. The other side of the coin is this – how did people live before the world became a cash based society. I drive my husband batty always seeing the other side. Even though the capitalists and banks may have their less than noble reasons decreasing the use of cash – I see it as an opening for people who want to develop other means of exchange of goods and services. We’ve allowed pieces of paper to ruin people’s lives and elevate the unworthy for too long. When communities return to being communities – communicating, communing together, we will discover that truth wealth is much much more than material money. The masses of people around this globe have been brainwashed, coerced and oppressed into accepting a mode of living that is not living. We’ll transcend money and create a new and better world – maybe we won’t see it but I know it’s coming.
    Thanks for following me, looking forward to sharing your new life as a wife.

    • I love your comment!! Thank you for commenting! Let’s hope this is the case all of our lives would be so much richer if we were able to appreciate the true value of things. Again thank you for your very inspiring comment xx

  3. hi there! i have nominated you for the very inspiring blogger award and you can find all the details here http://mariabrinkley.com/ i love reading your take on the world. congratulations. 🙂

    As for the money thing I often think we were better off paying cash. If you didn’t have the money you couldn’t buy anything. I remember having to wait for two pay packets to buy my first tv. The tv stayed at the shop until I had paid for it. those days are long gone. 🙂

    I can even remember being paid in cash in a little packet! Lol! 🙂

    • Awwwww!! Thank you Maria for the kind award!!

      Yes growing up I always saved for everything, if I couldn’t afford it I didn’t need it. That’s what scares me, I’ve always been very rational with money, but I feel I’ve lost it, because prices have just become so inflated that paying over £100 for a pair of shoes seems normal.

      • You’re welcome! 😊

        As for inflated prices I can’t believe that 1 apple or potato can cost $1.00 these days. What is that about? I’ve given up eating fruit – unless I buy it at a farmer’s market.

  4. Very interesting post! It reminds me of the shift into a paper economy.

    Starting from the Middle Ages (around the 10th century AD to be more precise), papers were used in order to easily purchase/trade goods among merchants. This created banks and the trust that people started placing on banks. This may not be the most completely accurate recount of the start of paper economy, but at least the premise is there.

    It is very scary that everything that you need to advance in life day by day through purchase and trade of goods is now shifting from cash to plastic. Not only is money now readily available, it is now easy for tech-savvy people to access that information and use your own money. Thinking of it sends shivers down my spine, but yet I use my debit card.
    Maybe it’s because I’m deathly anxious of getting robbed. Or maybe it’s because the things that I like to purchase for leisure aren’t readily available for sale in my town.

    While there are major concerns over this, it is interesting to see this shift in economy. From bartering, to carrying metal coins of worth, to carrying papers of promise and trust, and now to carrying small rectangles of plastic. It is a fascinating transformation. Scary, but fascinating.

    • Thank you for your comment Chai!!

      “Study the past if you would define the future.”
      ― Confucius

      I read your comment and thought about this quote. We (humans) refuse to learn the repeated past lessons of economies based on Fiat Currencies…

      That said, I agree it’s a “double think” mentality, the idea of using your mobile phone to pay for goods seems fun and cool but there’s still that “We’re paying with thin air!” thought lurking somewhere in our thought processes.

  5. I really enjoyed reading this post. You have put into words (eloquently too) what I have been thinking in a random sort of way. Thanks 🙂

  6. Well-written and thought-provoking post. This “disconnectedness” from our money (which one-step back represents our labor and our time) IS what is causing all the debt problems. Nobody stops to think about every purchase and what it represents. Scary stuff…

  7. I agree with your/the studies’ conclusion that people sometimes see cards are not seen as “real money” but I’ve also encountered the idea that nowadays so much is digital and numbers on a screen, that CASH is coming to be seen as “not real” either. (I.e. People spending cash as soon as they have it, because once it’s out of the bank, it’s effectively gone already.)

    So we seem to think cards aren’t real money. And we seem to think cash isn’t real money.

    What were you saying about doublethink?

  8. It is so easy to part with something that we can’t see visually, is it not? It is almost as if we view digital currency as “other people’s” money. The digital age may have its advantages, but sometimes the sights and sounds that it takes away are the things that make us appreciate (and want to hold onto) them even more. When you can’t hear the clink of a quarter hitting the counter it makes it harder later to realize later that it is actually gone.

    You have great insight and a unique perspective in the way you write.

    Well done!

  9. Great article! The subjects brought up here are very important for our global society. If we wish to evolve into a peaceful, cooperative, non-Orwellian culture, we must maintain vigilance and empathy. I was born into the “hellhole” of urban american poverty and raised in a community often deemed “the projects”. I now live in a lovely suburban house with the family I’ve created. The sense of community, love, respect, acceptance, and heritage I experienced in the projects is not present in this suburbia. Many assume my white skin and blonde hair would garner intolerance where I grew up and acceptance where I am now, but the opposite is true. It is in the land of picket fences that shifty eyes lay with secrets, hatred, and mistrust of all but themselves. This is why I never feel so much at home in this lovely house as I did in that dingy apartment, and I know life is about so much more than political ideology.

    • Such an insightful comment!! Thank you for taking the time to share your experiences… It’s funny how other’s feel they can deem where you were raised as a “hell hole” until of course, they move there…

  10. The idea of a cashless society terrifies me. At least when our money is in our pocket, the risk of theft is reduced to those within close proximity. All this online stuff puts every single one of us at risk of being pickpocketed – by thieves who may live thousands of miles away from us, even on different continents.
    Then there’s the dodgy internet service here in Africa (this cashless thing does rely on the internet, doesn’t it?). Just today while I was trying to buy something from the chemist using my debit card, the transaction was only successful on the third attempt. The pharmacist then told me that last week the same had happened to her, three abortive attempts and all have been charged to her card!
    Yes, I hate it!

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