Annoying tech libertarians think that I'm an ardent luddite about the idea of a cashless society because I think the government cares what kind of cheeseburger I order, which is inane. I care because you can't use panhandling money in a McDonald's staffed by touchscreens connected to POS terminals that only accept cards or phone e-wallets.

A human with a cash register is always preferable because that way of doing things isn't bottlenecked through the need to have a bank account with a card or an activated, charged cell phone. Cashless, automated commerce is about cutting the poorest strata of society out, and instituting a relatively-high baseline of social legitimacy to even order off the dollar menu.

And tech industry shitheads KNOW this. Otherwise they'd be going in on schemes to make e-wallets something that poor people can use more easily, and taking a predatory skim off it. That'd be anethetical to their goals of turning cities into antiseptic social projects where undesirables just sort of conveniently disappear. It's hostile economic architecture.


Poor people & the cashless economy (1/2) 

Poor people & the cashless economy (1/2)

@Zero_Democracy The tech industry proper isn’t in the ‘e-wallets accessible to poor people’ niche because credit card companies got there first.

For the past ~decade, there’s been a rack of gift cards in every corner store and grocery I’ve gone into. Among the options are general-purpose cards from Visa, MasterCard, and AmEx. At least so far, you can buy them for cash in denominations as little as $5. But? At the point of sale, you have to pay an activation fee on top of the value loaded onto the card itself. Only part of it goes to the brick & mortar store, to compensate them for display space. At least according to the one non-franchise convenience store owner I asked, the lions’ share of that fee goes to the c-card company.

(The next step up is reusable pre-paid credit cards—works like a debit card sans bank account—which also typically charge a fee to add cash to their balance.)

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Poor people & the cashless economy (2/2) 

Then when you use the card, the c-card company charges its regular processing fee to the vendor. It’s a perfect racket, and it only gets better for them as increasing numbers of final product vendors (stores, restaurants, etc.) are persuaded to stop taking cash.

Since they’re making bank, the interest of the credit card behemoths isn’t to completely eradicate cash. It’s to partition the economy in a way that marginalizes physical money as much as possible without quite killing it.

Poor people & the cashless economy: Addendum 

@Zero_Democracy Damn, I missed a third profit line from gift & prepaid cards. While they’ve got money on ‘em, that’s an interest-free loan to the card issuer, which they can invest as they see fit.

Poor people & the cashless economy: Addendum 

@Verdigris When I mean "e-wallet" I mean specifically something like an Apple Pay-style scheme geared towards pay-as-you-go phones, or even using subsidized ones as a market penetration scheme along with some public-private "replacement" for social programs like SNAP.

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