Monday, 16 February 2009

Idiots and money rant

I just saw some idiot on the news saying we soon won't need money, we'll pay for everything on our mobiles. You'll swipe your phone and that'll pay for things. That's all well and good, I understand the technology, it's not that different from chip & pin cards.

What bugged me was the alleged expert's insistence that this technology was so good it was about to replace cash. About. To replace. Cash.

Now I remember at least ten years ago seeing a similar bloke on a similar TV news show telling me that chip and pin and globalised credit systems were so brilliant that "the only people who would use cash would be criminals."

Idiots idiots idiots. Money transferred from your phone. Has he ever tried getting a signal where we live? And if there's no cash and so everybody has to pay by phone, what happens when the sytems down? What happens when your batteries go? What happens when you're in one of the many locations I work in that get no signal (in the last 10 days that would include schools in Shropshire and Dorset, concrete buildings in South Wales and Birmingham, and my Mum and Dad's house in Leicestershire)?

And what about kids? How are they going to pay their dinner money? What are you going to do when you send them down the road to fetch you 20 Lambert & Butlers and a bottle of lambrini and a scratchcard? And what about shops like my photocopy shop that has a minimum of £5 on credit cards? Won't they be the same with this new technology?

More insidious, should we not be suspicious of people suggesting that the only way we could pay money for anything is through a bank. No more relying on the cash in your own pocket, everything would have to go through a multinational global organisation that would hold the power over your every transaction. Stick your hand in your pocket, pull out a few coins, buy stuff, easy. Get on the phone, wait for a signal, hope your pay-as-you-go hasn't run out, then hope the bank will still allow you to pay the two pennies and haven't skimmed a bit off to pay your credit cards. Or of course the bank hasn't gone tits up owing billions for reason you've never actually understood.

If they ever come within even a square mile of getting rid of cash, I'm moving straight over to a barter system. And the first thing I'm bartering for is a big gun and the addresses of all the idiots in banks who trot out this nonsense every decade.

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