After money

My colleagues in Korea tell me that things there are now pretty much post-money. If you want to buy anything, or get swiped into your office building, you need your phone.

I asked one colleague what happens if you lose your phone. He got a panicked look on his face, and told me that it can take weeks of paperwork to re-establish that you are really you and get another authorized phone.

We are starting to get a bit of this in NYC, in our primitive way. I was one of the last holdouts still using a MetroCard. Now I just hold my credit card over the turnstiles like everyone else I know.

I wonder how all this will play out when those future glasses arrive, and replace our smartphones. Will the entire concept of money as we know it begin to fade away, when the process of checking out becomes a fully automated part of your shopping experience?

Wherever you go, and whatever you do, you will be continually charged as a sort of background tax on your lifestyle. Children will grow up having the instinctive understanding that certain activities drain your account more quickly than others.

Money, as we now know it, will be one of those fondly remembered things of old, like ice delivery or like having a telephone in your kitchen.

2 thoughts on “After money”

  1. Money is needed everywhere. Wireless coverage is not everywhere, not even close. In some the lack of coverage is a growing problem, as the providers focus on upgrading networks in very high density areas while decommissioning networks that used to provide some coverage to moderately dense suburbs.

    I think it’s easy for people who live in bustling metropolises to forget that, for many, a smartphone is still an expensive luxury rather than a device that you can depend on for communications, network access, and financial transactions. There are still a lot of infrastructure problems that we’d have to figure out before smartphones or smartspecs could supplant money.

  2. I agree with you, but I think it is not a question of if, but of when.

    Indoor plumbing and the electrical grid arrived first in the cities, because it was easier to make the transition there. But those innovations eventually made their way to rural communities as well.

    The transition to a post-money economy will happen first in the cities, and there might very well be a long delay before the change happens everywhere. But eventually advancing technology and the economies of scale will kick in, and the transition will be complete and universal.

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