no cash

« previous entry | next entry »
Jul. 25th, 2010 | 06:12 pm

When I first read the casual statement in Neuromancer (I think it was, might have been Count Zero) about cash having been made illegal, I thought that was a weird piece of futurism gone too far. It was however, like all the best sci-fi, based on good extrapolation from the present; only I don't think cash will become technically illegal in the near-to-mid future (that would cause a massive outcry and also massive problems) it will just be useless for doing much more than buying a packet of Polos.

You can see here, for instance, Geraint Davies saying that people shouldn't be allowed to buy prepaid credit without identity checks because paedophiles might use it to get child porn - also going for the "think of the children" double by saying that kids use it to buy knives, the little buggers. (Clearly there are no other ways paedophiles or children might get hold of child porn or knives respectively.) Prepaid credit cards are basically internet cash; they can be purchased directly for physical cash, for an extortionate fee of course but that's how it works, with no notice, identity checking or credit reports. And cash is messy stuff. It lets people avoid having their economic transactions surveilled. We can't be having that.

Link | Leave a comment | Share

Comments {3}

Cyberpunk cash

from: anonymous
date: Jul. 25th, 2010 10:04 pm (UTC)
Link

It wasn't Neuromancer. In Mona Lisa Ovedrive (which postdates Neuromancer) Kumiko is told by Colin that it takes two brass ten pound calls for a local call.

I'm surprised you have forgotten that.

OldB

Reply | Thread

fridgemagnet

Re: Cyberpunk cash

from: fridgemagnet
date: Jul. 25th, 2010 10:20 pm (UTC)
Link

That was in London, not the Sprawl.

I've found the quote actually:
His total assets were quickly converted to New Yen, a fat sheaf of the old paper currency that circulated endlessly through the closed circuit of the world's black markets like the seashells of the Trobriand islanders. It was difficult to transact legitimate business with cash in the Sprawl; in Japan, it was already illegal.

http://www.williamgibsonbooks.com/books/neuromancer.asp

Reply | Parent | Thread

Pre apid cards

from: anonymous
date: Jul. 26th, 2010 09:45 am (UTC)
Link

I think the cards are pre-paid by the issuer who then resells to the user without asking for an identity check. If the cards are used to pay for kiddie porn then the issuer gets taken out of business but not the person who uses it to buy said porn who just gets another card from another issuer.

Reply | Thread