Has Paper Money Become Obsolete?

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Because of the tips I get at my current Factotum-type night gig, I’m often left with more singles than Ichiro Suzuki.

Cash

Recently, I wrapped a wad of such currency in a big rubber band, took it to my bank and demanded of my teller the corresponding bill of a larger denomination.

She was completely unable to mask her contempt.

She looked like she not only wanted to wash her hands, but to shower after handling such a large amount of small bills. She quickly stuffed them all into some circa-Scarface automated bill counter and stood as far back as possible.

Then she came over and presented me with a Benjamin, quickly waiving me away as if I were some bad date or a secret friend that she wanted to be rid of now that her real friends were on the horizon.

This started me to wondering: who even carries actually money nowadays anyway?

There seems to be no greater indicator that you are a low-grade second rater than having pockets filled with actual cash.

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Now, from a production standpoint, paper money’s still good.

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing is still making 38 million bills a day with a face value of $750 milllion.

Also, despite only making up only 1% of the value of all transactions, paper money is still the most popular method of payment.

The only concern I have with what seems to be the inevitable abandonment of dollar bills is a theory my good friend, the great DJ Tone Fresh, advanced recently.

He argued that, much like New York’s E-ZPass which, on the surface, makes toll-road travel quicker and easier but which actually is no more than a thinly disguised tracking system, the current move away from a hard cash to cards and wires is another form of tracking.

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“You can’t even commit a crime and go on the run any more,” Tone argues. “Your card’ll give you away the minute you buy your bus ticket.”

I wonder though, is Tone right?

Is this just another case of technology making our lives easier on the surface while actually invading our privacy?

Or are you one of those few people out there who still prefers to see “green” and NOT a computer screen?

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