(Response to Dr. Steven C. Ibbotson: https://stevenibbotson.wordpress.com/2015/07/28/cash-only-death/)
First off before I start my long comment to your blog post, thanks for visiting my country! Though I haven’t been to the west coast, I like to read about people’s experiences with the world. Hopefully one day I could travel and discover my country with my own eyes. Much can be said about the Great White North, more can be seen and done if you go there.
As a local intercity and intra-city traveller, I too agree with you the 21st century ubiquity of the debit/credit card transaction. It’s truly a marvel to live in a day in age where currency is nothing more than a a line of code to a line of credit upon a plastic shard. A single tap, swipe and punch of a pin can open the consumer world. With that being said, you can argue we don’t necessarily need money anymore when we can use a card representative of the same value. With machines running banks and other institutions of the world, we can tend to forget how our capital world can be fragile as well as flexible.
In my day to day within a large city, plastic cards run my life every since I got a debit card. Though it has opened the world of spending to me, it’s a reminder in my pocket that my finances all comes down to the actions I commit to this card and my account. Most if not all my transactions go to the card, however in a big city there are some uses for the paper (or in my case, polymer) and coin currency which has been the staple for over the millennia.
When we think of the world as a developed and connected society, we lose touch on many things. I’ve noticed within a decade we have been so dependent on technologies, we forget all this has to come from somewhere. The wi-fi that is letting me publish this post is being transmitted by radio waves which are created by a router which someone bought. The router requires an internet connection and a source of stable power. The internet connection goes to a distribution network of cables and servers all powered by the same electricity. This infrastructure in it’s complexity requires a lot of materials. Materials translates to cost which some places cannot necessarily afford. To maintain the flow of money in a technologically constrain budget is just simply to revert to the older means; actual cash in coins and paper. Though I am not an entrepreneur or business owner; if my situation didn’t allow for use of debit machines, money will be in cash only. As much as the world may have their cards, cash is here to stay.
Whether you owe someone $20 or paying for a meal in a cash only restaurant is here to stay. So always keep a small amount on you in case it happens. When you do travel, be sure you know how to get more of it if you can’t write cheques. And always remember to tip your waiter/waitress!