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Ireland Leads Way to First Cashless Society

The Central Bank of Ireland is launching a €1 million campaign to create a cashless society in Ireland. The Central Bank on Dublin’s Dame Street is hoping to persuade all of the Irish to surrender their cash forever, and they’re using the current Irish economic troubles as a ripe opportunity to turn that corner on cash. The Central Bank estimates that it will save as much as a billion euros a year in processing costs if Ireland goes cashless.

The Irish strongly prefer cash and checks to debit cards and credit cards — in fact more so than any other European nationality. So, if it can happen in Ireland, it can happen anywhere. The Irish government has also long preferred checks, yet it is now setting an example for the rest of Irish society by switching all government operations to cashless transactions.

The one million euros budgeted by the Central Bank of Ireland to establish a cashless society will all be spent on an advertising campaign. The one-million euro tender to ad agencies says the campaign will endeavor to “win the hearts and minds” of consumers and merchants toward the benefits of becoming an entirely cashless society. In an economy and population the size of Ireland’s, a million-euro ad campaign is a very large campaign.

Since U.S. society is not terribly concerned that the government is recording all phone conversations and emails — because the government promises it will only pay attention to those conversations if you do something illegal — then giving the government total surveillance over all financial transactions may not stir much ire even in Ireland. Think only of how readily U.S. society gave up protection from government intrusion that required due process of warrants because of fears about terrorism. Will the Irish be persuaded as easily to give up freedom from government intrusion in all financial transactions due to fears of economic failure?

 

Read the full story about Ireland’s cashless society campaign here.

 

The End of Money: Counterfeiters, Preachers, Techies, Dreamers–and the Coming Cashless Society

Say good-bye to your beloved Benjamins, because the world is going cashless. So says David Wolman, contributing editor to Wired Magazine. In The End of Money, Wolman explores the drastic implications. How is it happening? What’s at stake? Why does it matter? Each chapter of this timely and fascinating book focuses on a specific aspect of the coming cashless society. Its cast of compelling characters includes an end-times fundamentalist who views the growing obsolescence of cash as a sign of the coming rapture; an Icelandic artist; an American libertarian and coin-maker convicted on federal charges for the distribution of “Liberty” coins and Ron Paul dollars; and an Indian software engineer (self-billed as “the assassin of cash”) whose firm is enabling digital payment methods that are lifting the living standards of thousands of poor New Dehli residents via their cell phones.

Raising the stakes with a personal experiment, Wolman goes (almost) a full year without using cash at all. All told, The End of Money offers everything there is to love about popular nonfiction, rendering a complex subject entertaining and easily approachable for a wide audience while proving the ultimate adventurousness inherent in a curiosity about the workings of the world.

 

More reading about the crash of cash:

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