No Hair Blog

Cash Against the Machine

Banks and payment processors are pushing for a cashless system, arguning that it's convenient. However, not so much.

We can also learn from Louis Althusser’s concept of interpellation. The basic idea is that you can get people to internalise beliefs by addressing them as if they already had those beliefs. Twenty years ago nobody believed that cash was “inconvenient”, but every time I walk into London Underground I see adverts that address me as if I was a person who finds cash inconvenient. The objective is to reverse-engineer a belief within me that it is inconvenient, and that cashlessness is in my interests. But a cashless society is not in your interest. It is in the interest of banks and payments companies. Their job is to make you believe that it is in your interest too, and they are succeeding in doing that.

(h/t Slashdot)

Another scheme to extract payments by the banks while allowing unfettered collection of information by the banks, card companies, and government. Arguments about reducing criminal and black market activity are trotted out, de rigeur. "Think of the children" indeed. But meanwhile, what happens when the system goes down, accidentally or deliberately? Who keeps the data? Who can object when the government or corporate oligarchs use it to evercise power over citizens.

No, thank you.

Update 7/29: Henry Grabar article in Slate.


Posted by Gordon, No Hair Blog, July 22, 2018

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