How a Cashless Society Could Embolden Big Brother – The Atlantic

Source: How a Cashless Society Could Embolden Big Brother – The Atlantic

When money becomes information, it can inform on you.

A cashless society promises a world of limitation, control, and surveillance—all of which the poorest Americans already have in abundance, of course. For the most vulnerable, the cashless society offers nothing substantively new, it only extends the reach of the existing paternal bureaucratic state.

As paper money evaporates from our pockets and the whole country—even world—becomes enveloped by the cashless society, financial censorship could become pervasive, unbarred by any meaningful legal rights or guarantees.


The USA only has 300 million people while China and India each have well over 1 billion. In 20 years, China and India will be “need to serve” markets for multinational/international corporations – including those which handle financial transactions. What if the Chinese or Indian government suggests that such a company might show and see goodwill if it would voluntarily choose to not serve an American – possibly even one running for public office? Imagine an election campaign that couldn’t accept digital/electronic donations, or a Super PAC which had its funds frozen for a few crucial days or weeks.

A future cashless society that isn’t utterly private and anonymous (which has its own risks and downsides) is one in which *huge* control will be held by those capable of influencing digital-finance bottlenecks.