In the new digital age, the use of electronic money has become more and more in the daily life of people. If we stop to think, many of us, we see as with the passage of time, we make less use of cash. We pay the bills; we buy clothes, plane tickets, tickets for concerts, and countless other things, over the internet. Even when we go out on the street, we use the credit or debit card in most shops as a means of payment. In the United States, some economist experts even dare predict the death of cash by 2043. Others are more skeptical and even refuse to do so.
The latest book by journalist David Wolman, The End of the Money (the end of money) is a wakeup call on whether we should rethink the existence of cash associated with high costs and very relevant offenses against the advantages of money electronic.
Although perhaps not all the citizens of the world are prepared for the disappearance of the cash, the fact is that in the digital age, its possible substitution for electronic money would be full of advantages. These include:
- Paper money has a high cost to society, especially in an impression that is inefficient, given that despite its sophistication, it does not prevent the massive counterfeiting of the “industry” of a few countries.
- Cash money serves as a basis for the hidden or submerged economy and fraud to the Public Treasury, for example in Italy this tax fraud is estimated to amount to 100,000 million euros. Mafiosi, drug traffickers and tax evaders are the top defenders of cash.
- Cash can be easily stolen and traps the poorest countries and people in a circle of poverty.
All this and more, makes it necessary to rethink the monetary system, or in Wolman’s words, that there is a “silent rebellion against cash.” It is a fact that paper money is already suffering attacks from many fronts. One area is innovation in alternative currencies, or virtual currencies, another is the new payment technology, especially with mobile phones. And there may be a third emerging category, which is more attention to the true cost of cash.
However, the author of The End of Money does not fully support the eradication of cash. Banknotes represent such an economic activity that it is difficult to argue that the world is prepared to live without them. And since any substitute would have to be electronic, it also raises questions about what would happen if they stopped being used.
Just as one of the reasons against cash is that it can be easily stolen, many may think that electronic money also suffers from financial crimes in cyberspace, and that just as there are white-gloved thieves, there are hackers . In spite of this, getting rid of the money in cash would reduce a greater number of thefts than those that can be generated in the network.
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About the possibility that this eventually spread, in my opinion seems rather complicated, especially if we take it to our terrain. In Spain, not only do we have a scarce financial culture, as the ordinary citizen still considers the ticket as the only asset associated with money, but we have a system, where the submerged economy represents a whopping 28% of total GDP .
The author David Wolman does not mean ultimately that there is a sudden death of money as such, but something similar happens with the phone booths on the street. There are fewer and fewer of them, and almost nobody realizes they exist.