BLINDED TRIALS: Online People & the Cashless Society
There are, of course, a great many trade-offs when moving to a cashless society — just as there was when we moved from barter to cash. Personally, I have greatly benefitted from the convenience and automatic tracking of electronic banking, automatic deposit, and debit cards; I have also spent more than one aggravated afternoon on the phone with my bank, creditors, and credit agencies after having my identity stolen. You might find this trade-off to be good or poor, and I would certainly empathize either way. Where I get hung up, however, is when this tradeoff is presented as simply another reason to live in fear of a democratic government. What I find telling about McArdle’s worries, and why I think of her post as being a textbook example of Online People-ism, is the drilled down focus of that particular anxiety.
First off, while it’s true that the government can overreach and take you money in a cashless society, it’s also true that they can too in one that isn’t cashless. If you don’t believe me, ask Clyde Ross.
It is also true that I might someday get myself into the government’s crosshairs to the point where they feel they need to cut me off from all of my assets. If that’s the case, however, the least of my problems is going to be how easy or difficult it is for them to do so. I’m not Alex Jones, and I don’t have a secret plan in place to take my cash and bullion and stay off the grid for the rest of my life. If the government erroneously believes I have been running drugs, have killed my neighbors, or have scammed them out of $100,000 in taxes, probably best I confront them sooner rather than later.