The Cashless Utopia Mirage



” David Wolman’s article The Anonymity Fantasy gets off on the wrong foot by claiming to know what we all “deserve” or “what we all want.” As a reader, this is aggravating on multiple levels, but the pretentious fun doesn’t stop there as we later learn that anonymous cash does not equal freedom and that “clinging to cash” is misguided.

I could be cynical here, but I really don’t think it’s about perfidiously advancing a thesis to promote his new book. I think David actually believes all of this despite what history teaches us.

Let’s not kid ourselves, because the end of money, as we know it, really means the beginning of the transactional surveillance State, which makes this a serious debate about the boundaries of State power and the dignity of an individual.

Anonymity and civil society do mix — it is omnipotent violent government and civil society that do not mix.

Wolman is thinking like a technologist when he promotes the cashless utopia and, as a technologist, he’s probably correct because paper cash is inefficient, problematic, and dirty. But it’s mostly inefficient and problematic for the overzealous regulators and tax collecting apparatus.

Efficiency happens to be a very short-sighted and unintellectual argument. Selective breeding for certain ‘preferred’ traits is a vastly more efficient method and so is the training-from-birth selection criteria employed by totalitarian states that place athletes in the modern Olympics. I doubt Wolman would want to live in those efficient societies — cashless or not.”