Social Cooling - and the long-term effects it might have.

Arkady Arkright

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and
When you have cash, then you do own money. When you totally went cashless, you just own a ledger that tells that you own money, and you've given away your control over your money.
Which bears an unsettling resemblance to how, owning an LP or CD, you 'owned' a song; whereas with iTunes or whatever, all you 'own' is the right to listen to a song until the relevant megacorp decides you can't listen to it any more.

I'd rather have coins and notes in my pocket, thanks.
 

Arkady Arkright

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You don't even have control over your own money -- certainly in the UK the Mint regularly withdraws coins and notes and replaces them with new designs. The process is a protracted and well-publicised one, so in practice it's completely seamless, but over the last few years we've seen several deadlines come and go after which older designs of £5 and £10 notes, and £1 coins, have ceased to be legal tender.
True, but it's not that they've lost their value. You can still exchange outdated notes and coins for current legal tender at the Bank of England :- £1.8 billion of old fivers and tenners still out there – how to make them spendable again
 

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Don't you be believe it. I've been retired for over 10 years, and it hasn't changed my volume of unwanted spam (both e- and snail-mail), just its nature - these days it's all about 'lifetime mortgages', 'stairlifts', 'walk-in baths' and 'pre-purchase funerals'.
Oh joy, we all get to look forward to that spam then.
 

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True, but it's not that they've lost their value. You can still exchange outdated notes and coins for current legal tender at the Bank of England :- £1.8 billion of old fivers and tenners still out there – how to make them spendable again
We have much the same here but it is mostly invisible to the end user. Tender is legal at all times, even after a design gets swapped out, but when you spend it it will make its way to a bank and the federal reserve, which will retire the physical note.

We have not done things like change sizes and denominations in recent memory (which I assume would involve flag days) though.
 
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Bartholomew Gallacher

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Which bears an unsettling resemblance to how, owning an LP or CD, you 'owned' a song; whereas with iTunes or whatever, all you 'own' is the right to listen to a song until the relevant megacorp decides you can't listen to it any more.
I just do love my Marantz Model 6300 - it's sooo nice and heavy.
 

Innula Zenovka

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True, but it's not that they've lost their value. You can still exchange outdated notes and coins for current legal tender at the Bank of England :- £1.8 billion of old fivers and tenners still out there – how to make them spendable again
Sure, but my point is that cash has value only to the extent everyone agrees it's got a value. Spending, outside of Scotland, notes issued by Scottish banks can be quite a challenge at times, after all.

Any medium of exchange really has only socially-constructed value. My offer to exchange some of my apples for some of your oranges is going to work only if you want my apples in the first place. Otherwise I have to sell my apples for cash (be it physical coins and notes or entries in an electronic ledger) and use that to buy some of your oranges, and you do what you want to with the cash.

However, should someone decide to try to buy a house for cash in most advanced economies, then he's likely to have considerable difficulties, even though he may have a whole armoured car full of the stuff parked outside.
 

Kara Spengler

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Which bears an unsettling resemblance to how, owning an LP or CD, you 'owned' a song; whereas with iTunes or whatever, all you 'own' is the right to listen to a song until the relevant megacorp decides you can't listen to it any more.

I'd rather have coins and notes in my pocket, thanks.
There are some things in my media collection I want physical copies of and some digital .... both have their pros and cons. For music I may as well skip the cd purchase though as I will just strip it into itunes anyway.

Most movies are getting better: a lot of them I own with amazon video, iTunes (apple) and vudu (walmart). I highly doubt all 3 of those major companies are going away any time soon. Strangely while they do that for movies they do not sync television series, which are pretty much the same as a long movie with intermissions.
 
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Katheryne Helendale

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Cash cannot be wiped out of existence by one mouse click; your account can.
On the other hand, cash can accidentally fall out of your pocket, purse, or bra, and, if you don't catch it right away, it's gone forever. At least with electronic cash, it's not so easily lost, and you have some recourse if the unthinkable does happen.
 

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We have much the same here but it is mostly invisible to the end user. Tender is legal at all times, even after a design gets swapped out, but when you spend it it will make its way to a bank and the federal reserve, which will retire the physical note.

We have not done things like change sizes and denominations in recent memory (which I assume would involve flag days) though.
There are several stores in my area that will not take the older $100 bills, presumably because they're relatively easy to counterfeit.
 

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I'd rather have coins and notes in my pocket, thanks.
How much money, coins and notes, do you have in your pockets at this very instant?

Now, how much money do you have in your bank accounts, or tied up investments, long term yields, superannuations or similar?

The simple fact is, if you live as part of the mainstream in the economic north, then the greater part of your liquid wealth is all just numbers in a system and has been so for years. So what if you buy your coffee with some coins, or pay for your groceries with notes? In order to get that "cold, hard cash" you had to walk up to a machine, slide in a card and type in a password and hope that a glitch in the system didn't erase your wealth between now and the last time you performed this ritual. It's all just an illusion. If you're wealthy enough to participate in a modern first world economy, the use of cash is nothing more than a placebo. It might make you feel more secure, more in charge, but if you have 50 bucks in your pocket and 10000 in the bank, you're just as beholden to the electrons as everyone else.
 

GoblinCampFollower

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On the other hand, cash can accidentally fall out of your pocket, purse, or bra, and, if you don't catch it right away, it's gone forever. At least with electronic cash, it's not so easily lost, and you have some recourse if the unthinkable does happen.
Don't forget civil asset forfeiture where the cops just fucking rob you.
 

Kara Spengler

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How much money, coins and notes, do you have in your pockets at this very instant?

Now, how much money do you have in your bank accounts, or tied up investments, long term yields, superannuations or similar?

The simple fact is, if you live as part of the mainstream in the economic north, then the greater part of your liquid wealth is all just numbers in a system and has been so for years. So what if you buy your coffee with some coins, or pay for your groceries with notes? In order to get that "cold, hard cash" you had to walk up to a machine, slide in a card and type in a password and hope that a glitch in the system didn't erase your wealth between now and the last time you performed this ritual. It's all just an illusion. If you're wealthy enough to participate in a modern first world economy, the use of cash is nothing more than a placebo. It might make you feel more secure, more in charge, but if you have 50 bucks in your pocket and 10000 in the bank, you're just as beholden to the electrons as everyone else.
Not everyone does that though. We may think that is the norm just because it is the norm in the circles we run in.

I got to see the other side of that fence when I was in grad school. A friend would get paid by check, walk several miles to the bank it was written on, exchange the check for cash, then hide the cash in her apartment. Unbanked people do exist.
 

GoblinCampFollower

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Not everyone does that though. We may think that is the norm just because it is the norm in the circles we run in.

I got to see the other side of that fence when I was in grad school. A friend would get paid by check, walk several miles to the bank it was written on, exchange the check for cash, then hide the cash in her apartment. Unbanked people do exist.
I used to work with a Vietnam vet who was said to do it like this. ...he made good money as a skilled machinist, and it was believed he must have had a monstrous amount of cash somewhere in his house. They absolutely did exist, and I feel terrified for them. They each have a higher probability of being robbed then the probability that the entire banking system collapses in most countries (there are places in the world where I'd also prefer to not bank).
 

Sid

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Here in NL, if you want a salary, pension or social security you need a bank account. Cash and check payments for these things are non existent any more for at least 30 years already. The only cash salary payments made are when both sides agree to avoid tax and other overhead payments (that is of course illegal), but it happens occasionally.
If you want cash, you need a bank card and a nearby bank or store with a teller machine.
 
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Sid

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Dutch coffee shops are all cash only.
But that is because you don't go for coffee to a coffee shop over here, but for a joint. And because of the tricky legal situation of these shops, they need cash to buy their cannabis.
 
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Kamilah Hauptmann

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Dutch Brothers coffee shop is where I found out my card was locked because the bank thought it was stolen.
 
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Innula Zenovka

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Dutch coffee shops are all cash only.
But that is because you don't go for coffee to a coffee shop over here, but for a joint. And because of the tricky legal situation of these shops, they need cash to buy their cannabis.
Not bitcoin? That works well for buying cannabis, or so I am told.
 
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Innula Zenovka

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Here in NL, if you want a salary, pension or social security you need a bank account. Cash and check payments for these things are non existent any more for at least 30 years already. The only cash salary payments made are when both sides agree to avoid tax and other overhead payments (that is of course illegal), but it happens occasionally.
If you want cash, you need a bank card and a nearby bank or store with a teller machine.
Same here. In extreme circumstances, if you really cannot open any sort of bank account, then you can arrange to have benefits paid by a special payments card, which you can use to obtain cash from some of the regular commercial payment processors (the people you use to send funds to the family back home, or they use to send you funds). But the government will do that only if there's no realistic alternative open to you -- it's expensive and time-consuming for the benefits agencies to pay people that way, so I can understand why they don't want to.
 
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OrinB

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In central London loads of coffee shops and small business owners are debit/credit card payments or phone wallet only. No cash. they're closing cash points and banks here there and everywhere.