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Thread: Big Brother Fucking up Efficiency Again

  1. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by Wraith View Post
    But this law isn't doing that. It's not doing anything to solve the problem.
    Categorically disagree. Perhaps what you're trying to say is that the law does not address the root causes of people being unbanked/underbanked, or give them access to banking services, ie. solving the problem of people being unbanked/underbanked; that's absolutely true. The law does, however, solve or at least mitigate a problem - the problem of unbanked/underbanked people not being able to participate fully in society by purchasing goods that they need/want and can pay for. The law can plausibly mitigate the problems that arise as a consequence of people being unbanked/underbanked. It does indeed also create new problems for those merchants who prefer, no doubt for legitimate reasons, to go cashless. The law attempts to mitigate those problems as well, eg. by making some allowances for stores that provide easy access to machines that can top up prepaid cards. That may still not be enough, but, as a group, merchants are better able to incentivize innovation that can solve their problems, than individual poor people who can't even access basic banking services that are increasingly necessary for participation in normal society.

    Giving a starving person free food doesn't address the root causes of poor food security, but it does mitigate the consequences of lacking food security for that person. Giving a homeless person a home doesn't address the root causes of people becoming homeless, but it does mitigate the problematic consequences that arise from those root causes (see eg. Finland's experiences with this simple strategy). Treating a person with diabetes doesn't address the root causes of diabetes, but it does mitigate the problems that arise as a consequence of diabetes, for that person. Making it illegal to discriminate against black people on the basis of race may not address the root causes of such discrimination (eg. racism), but it does mitigate the problems that arise from such discrimination, eg. being denied access to goods and services or jobs for which they are qualified.

    It's just dumping the problem on small businesses with the same problem instead, but in a way that lets the politicians take credit for any solutions they come up with later.
    Who cares who gets credit for solutions, so long as those solutions are discovered and implemented? But let's be real - innovators who develop good solutions for any problems that may arise from this law are the ones who'll get credit for those solutions, as well the $$$.

    Or maybe they'll just be crushed under the additional burden and die, but who cares, right?
    The market will deliver innovative solutions that will prevent mass death of retailers in NYC. You must have faith. These problems can be easily solved, if the will to solve them is there.

    It's lazy and irresponsible and makes it clear that the politicians involved are more interested in scoring points for their team than solving anything.
    Partly because I disagree with your assessment that this law doesn't "solve anything", I have to disagree with this characterization - and with your conclusion. The law does solve something, and it is perfectly reasonable to believe that the politician who managed to get it passed cares about solving a problem for a vulnerable group that he represents. Any righteous genius who feels they are less lazy, more responsible, and more competent... are welcome to present solutions that may meet your standards. It's telling that they haven't been able - or inclined - to do so yet.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  2. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by RandBlade View Post
    If a company wishes to refuse to accept fiat currency that should be their choice. Currency is there to make things convenient and it would be rare for a company to desire to refuse it, but if they want to then so be it. Don't like it, don't shop there.
    If a merchant wishes to refuse to serve people with Irish accents, that should be their choice. It would be rare for a merchant to refuse to serve people with Irish accents, but, if they want to, then so be it. If people don't like it, they shouldn't shop there. Especially if they have a thick Irish accent - because then they can't shop there.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  3. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by Aimless View Post
    If a merchant wishes to refuse to serve people with Irish accents, that should be their choice. It would be rare for a merchant to refuse to serve people with Irish accents, but, if they want to, then so be it. If people don't like it, they shouldn't shop there. Especially if they have a thick Irish accent - because then they can't shop there.
    No that should be illegal.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ominous Gamer View Post
    Being upset is understandable, but be upset at yourself for poor planning, not at the world by acting like a spoiled bitch during an interview.

  4. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by Aimless View Post
    Categorically disagree. Perhaps what you're trying to say is that the law does not address the root causes of people being unbanked/underbanked, or give them access to banking services, ie. solving the problem of people being unbanked/underbanked; that's absolutely true. The law does, however, solve or at least mitigate a problem - the problem of unbanked/underbanked people not being able to participate fully in society by purchasing goods that they need/want and can pay for. The law can plausibly mitigate the problems that arise as a consequence of people being unbanked/underbanked. It does indeed also create new problems for those merchants who prefer, no doubt for legitimate reasons, to go cashless. The law attempts to mitigate those problems as well, eg. by making some allowances for stores that provide easy access to machines that can top up prepaid cards. That may still not be enough, but, as a group, merchants are better able to incentivize innovation that can solve their problems, than individual poor people who can't even access basic banking services that are increasingly necessary for participation in normal society.

    Giving a starving person free food doesn't address the root causes of poor food security, but it does mitigate the consequences of lacking food security for that person. Giving a homeless person a home doesn't address the root causes of people becoming homeless, but it does mitigate the problematic consequences that arise from those root causes (see eg. Finland's experiences with this simple strategy). Treating a person with diabetes doesn't address the root causes of diabetes, but it does mitigate the problems that arise as a consequence of diabetes, for that person. Making it illegal to discriminate against black people on the basis of race may not address the root causes of such discrimination (eg. racism), but it does mitigate the problems that arise from such discrimination, eg. being denied access to goods and services or jobs for which they are qualified.



    Who cares who gets credit for solutions, so long as those solutions are discovered and implemented? But let's be real - innovators who develop good solutions for any problems that may arise from this law are the ones who'll get credit for those solutions, as well the $$$.



    The market will deliver innovative solutions that will prevent mass death of retailers in NYC. You must have faith. These problems can be easily solved, if the will to solve them is there.



    Partly because I disagree with your assessment that this law doesn't "solve anything", I have to disagree with this characterization - and with your conclusion. The law does solve something, and it is perfectly reasonable to believe that the politician who managed to get it passed cares about solving a problem for a vulnerable group that he represents. Any righteous genius who feels they are less lazy, more responsible, and more competent... are welcome to present solutions that may meet your standards. It's telling that they haven't been able - or inclined - to do so yet.
    Sorry but you're not seeing the woods for the trees. Telling some of the largest and most important retail outlets they don't need to accept cash, but telling small retailers they must, is not a solution. Not sure what proportion of US trade is done online only (not affected by this law), or what proportion of trade is done in cashless stores, but I bet the latter is a fraction of the former. Currently in the UK more than a fifth of all sales are done online and on current trends it could reach a quarter within a year or two. Cashless bricks and mortar retail OTOH is very niche.

    Amazon and its like are more critical to modern society than a fast food restaurant like the example in the OP. Refusing to enable all your citizens to get banking services, but instead getting a small fast food chain to accept cash while turning a blind eye to major retailers not doing so then patting yourself for a job well done is pathetic.

    This is about as much a solution for the underbanked in 2020 as giving two paracetamol to a patient with a brain tumour is a solution.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ominous Gamer View Post
    Being upset is understandable, but be upset at yourself for poor planning, not at the world by acting like a spoiled bitch during an interview.

  5. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by Aimless View Post
    Categorically disagree. Perhaps what you're trying to say is that the law does not address the root causes of people being unbanked/underbanked, or give them access to banking services, ie. solving the problem of people being unbanked/underbanked; that's absolutely true.
    Yes, that is what I'm saying. Further, the law does not address the root causes of businesses being cashless, which is proof that their environment is not normal or healthy.

    The law does, however, solve or at least mitigate a problem - the problem of unbanked/underbanked people not being able to participate fully in society by purchasing goods that they need/want and can pay for. The law can plausibly mitigate the problems that arise as a consequence of people being unbanked/underbanked. It does indeed also create new problems for those merchants who prefer, no doubt for legitimate reasons, to go cashless. The law attempts to mitigate those problems as well, eg. by making some allowances for stores that provide easy access to machines that can top up prepaid cards. That may still not be enough, but, as a group, merchants are better able to incentivize innovation that can solve their problems, than individual poor people who can't even access basic banking services that are increasingly necessary for participation in normal society.
    No credit is awarded for saying "Not my problem". This law doesn't solve or mitigate anything. It's not a solution, it's an abandonment.

    Giving a starving person free food doesn't address the root causes of poor food security, but it does mitigate the consequences of lacking food security for that person.
    ...
    This is not equivalent. In fact, the equivalent would be one of the solutions worth investigating - providing citizens better access to prepaid debit cards so they don't need the cash. Or even providing cash handling services to local businesses so they can stop being cashless would be on the table, though I doubt this would wind up being a good solution. This law doesn't provide anyone with anything except additional burdens.

    Who cares who gets credit for solutions, so long as those solutions are discovered and implemented? But let's be real - innovators who develop good solutions for any problems that may arise from this law are the ones who'll get credit for those solutions, as well the $$$.
    No they won't. That's extremely naive about how politics works. This law is abdicating responsibility and setting up a scapegoat so problems that persist are the fault of the shops, and problems that get solved are because of the politicians so you should vote them back in office again. Local businesses should not be expected to solve a problem for everybody that they couldn't even solve for themselves. This law is worse than doing nothing for everybody except the politicians.

    The market will deliver innovative solutions that will prevent mass death of retailers in NYC. You must have faith. These problems can be easily solved, if the will to solve them is there.
    The market abhors a vacuum. If the market alone could fill these holes, then it already would have. The best the market has figured out is to have businesses go cashless. I agree that this isn't good enough, but it's the best that could be done under the circumstances. So we need to change the circumstances.

    Partly because I disagree with your assessment that this law doesn't "solve anything", I have to disagree with this characterization - and with your conclusion. The law does solve something, and it is perfectly reasonable to believe that the politician who managed to get it passed cares about solving a problem for a vulnerable group that he represents. Any righteous genius who feels they are less lazy, more responsible, and more competent... are welcome to present solutions that may meet your standards. It's telling that they haven't been able - or inclined - to do so yet.
    My failure to do the politician's job doesn't excuse their failure to do their job. I'm sure most of the people who voted for this weren't thinking in these terms, most probably didn't care enough to give it much thought at all, they just went along with where their team was heading because they all figured that it was somebody else's job to look at this critically. And of course, nobody is going to hold their own team to as high as standard as they try to hold the other team.

    This law is an excellent embodiment of everything I hate about politics:

    1) It only addresses the symptom (transactional incompatibilities) and not the problem (inadequate access to financial services)
    2) It fucks over the minority to pander to the majority
    3) It solves nothing and creates more problems, making the situation worse and harder to solve correctly. Here it's not only putting extra burdens on store owners when we have a parallel problem in the same areas about there not being enough stores, but it also funnels out money that would have otherwise circulated in the local community, when these communities are hurting for economic activity already.
    4) The only winners here are the politicians.
    5) People are acting like this shit is OK.

    This situation is a great opportunity to find a solution where everybody wins, because the problems faced by both sides of this are essentially the same. Politicians should not be held to such a low standard that simply fucking over the "right" people is considered good enough.

  6. #36
    Aimless asked for alternatives, and while I still don't have enough information to be certain it's a good idea, here's one I liked: Have the city operate a mobile shop that drives around like the ice-cream man selling prepaid debit cards. Get a cop to follow them everywhere to make sure they don't get jacked and so everyone knows it's safe to hand this guy cash. It's a workable stop-gap that could provide enough relief that the local economies can start to sort themselves out. Operating expenses shouldn't be too high since you only need targeted coverage, and nobody gets any undue burdens placed on them. Best of all, since anyone who sells prepaid debit cards gets a cut of the processing fees, in the right circumstances it could turn revenue-positive. In which case literally everyone wins.

  7. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by LittleFuzzy View Post
    This is where I run into problems with the idea of a cashless brick & mortar. The whole point of cash is for a government create and mandate a comprehensive medium of exchange within its sovereign boundaries to put a stop to these kinds of barrier. The motivation may be different but I fail to see the difference in effect between this and refusing to accept, say, paper scrip rather than hard currency. Or refusing to accept fiat currency at all rather than a more tangible material of exchange.
    I suppose another question that I struggle with: if someone wants to pay for a new camera in pennies, should a camera store be obligated to accept? If we agree the point of legal tender is for it to be universally accepted, do we have provisions for allowing people to choose the mechanism of transfer?

  8. #38
    Instead of turning this into a slippery slope, a bit of common sense should be used when figuring out how best to balance the needs of the public. Should a store be charged with handling volume like that? No. Should people make wild claims about cash to push their own agenda? no.

    Now stores can and have turned such penny purchases into free advertising. Its real popular with college kids paying parking fines, people have even done it with new truck purchases. On the flip side my credit union doesn't directly handle any change, its all done with a coinstar like machine, without fees. We don't officially accept pennies at work, but we have a 3 foot vase full of them from trading with patrons.
    Last edited by Ominous Gamer; 01-27-2020 at 03:55 AM.
    "In a field where an overlooked bug could cost millions, you want people who will speak their minds, even if they’re sometimes obnoxious about it."

  9. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by Wraith View Post
    Something is clearly broken here. No business says "Man, I wish I could have fewer sales and also pay processing fees on every sale I do get." Brick & mortar businesses go cashless for the same reason their consumers are going cash-only: inadequate access to financial services. I don't have the data to say exactly why their access is insufficient (could be lack of physical banks feasibly close enough to use, or the threat of crime creating artificial barriers, or other things). In a normal, healthy environment, cash is more valuable than other forms of payment. Cashless shops are just a symptom of a deeper problem. Whatever the barriers are here, any solution should be targeting those, not the people being blocked by them.
    Right, something is clearly broken when cash is seen as a liability. It's a symptom of a deeper problem, but blaming "Big Brother" is too simplistic.

    I can't get a driver's license or photo ID (which is used for voting) in PA and pay cash. They want a credit/debit card, a personal check, or a cashier's (bank) check. Conversely, PennDOT only recently started accepting credit/cards in lieu of cash on the PA turnpike....and some exits are only accessible to EZ Pass holders.

  10. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by Dreadnaught View Post
    I suppose another question that I struggle with: if someone wants to pay for a new camera in pennies, should a camera store be obligated to accept? If we agree the point of legal tender is for it to be universally accepted, do we have provisions for allowing people to choose the mechanism of transfer?
    That reminded me of S & H Greeenstamps. It was a redemption program based on purchases from participating stores. I bought my first camera that way. It was a nice Nikon. I still remember licking the stamps, counting the pages, getting the necessary points, and taking that to the S&H redemption office. Nikon chose to participate.

  11. #41
    Also, people paying cash should demand a 10% discount.

  12. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by GGT View Post
    Right, something is clearly broken when cash is seen as a liability. It's a symptom of a deeper problem, but blaming "Big Brother" is too simplistic.

    I can't get a driver's license or photo ID (which is used for voting) in PA and pay cash. They want a credit/debit card, a personal check, or a cashier's (bank) check. Conversely, PennDOT only recently started accepting credit/cards in lieu of cash on the PA turnpike....and some exits are only accessible to EZ Pass holders.
    Doesn't surprise me at all. If cashless is good enough for the government it should be good enough for businesses. Why should governments be "do as I say, not as I do"? Also, Wraith businesses suffering from underbanking is not the sole reason businesses want to go cashless. In fact I doubt its even a primary reason.

    The solution to underbanking is to find a solution for underbanking. It is not to compel businesses that don't want cash to accept cash. There's a reason some government departments don't want cash too which is why they don't accept it along with a reason why some businesses don't - and I'd think yet again that getting a driver's licence is more important than getting fast food.

    This is 2020 not the 19th century and cash is unnecessary and dangerous. I'm not exaggerating in the past I have had multiple armed robberies including one where a gang ran in with machettes, which were held to staff members throats, including one girl who was pregnant, in order to force the manager to open the safe so before anyone claims its not dangerous I'd like to see some evidence for that. I'm not making that up, I was quite shaken up and posted about it here at the time and we also had BBC's Crimewatch come and film a snippet which was shown on national TV about it. The perpetrators were never caught.

    Having ignorant people who have no real world cash business experience dismiss the problems of cash as non-existant or trivial is absurd - people DIE due to robberies to try and get cash amongst other issues. Cash can have major insurance issues and other issues. Fix underbanking, don't shove your head in the sand.
    Last edited by RandBlade; 01-27-2020 at 09:38 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ominous Gamer View Post
    Being upset is understandable, but be upset at yourself for poor planning, not at the world by acting like a spoiled bitch during an interview.

  13. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by Ominous Gamer View Post
    Do we have research that shows fraud from cash is higher than plastic with it's chargebacks, theft, and hacks?
    Yes, as I work in global risk for an international bank, cash is set by default to a higher transaction monitoring risk than any electronic funds transfer. That's for covering the risk of fraud, sanctions, and money-laundering. Movement of cash alerts the bank's monitoring systems at a far lower threshold than EFT.

    There is somewhere between zero and very little trace-back with cash movement - you generally don't know where cash has come from. There is considerable trace-back with electronic funds, electronic footprints. Further, it takes significant effort to try to cover the tracks of dirty electronic money - it takes no effort to cover the tracks of cash, mainly because there aren't really any tracks.
    Quote Originally Posted by Steely Glint View Post
    It's actually the original French billion, which is bi-million, which is a million to the power of 2. We adopted the word, and then they changed it, presumably as revenge for Crecy and Agincourt, and then the treasonous Americans adopted the new French usage and spread it all over the world. And now we have to use it.

    And that's Why I'm Voting Leave.

  14. #44
    Well said Tim, put it better than I could have.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ominous Gamer View Post
    Being upset is understandable, but be upset at yourself for poor planning, not at the world by acting like a spoiled bitch during an interview.

  15. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by RandBlade View Post
    Also, Wraith businesses suffering from underbanking is not the sole reason businesses want to go cashless. In fact I doubt its even a primary reason.
    I said financial services, it's not necessarily banking specifically. I'm just classifying the problem because we don't have better details, don't read too deep into it.

  16. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by Wraith View Post
    I said financial services, it's not necessarily banking specifically. I'm just classifying the problem because we don't have better details, don't read too deep into it.
    I understand, I'm just saying the issues with cash go beyond financial services and that some companies wish to do away with cash due to intractible issues and the fact its now redundant with better alternatives available. Cash is slower to transact (over modern contactless), has more errors regarding mistakes (if the EFT transactions are computerised) and as Tim explained has much greater risk of fraud. And that's before we consider the risks of violence and/or insurance.

    Cash is the past, electronic transactions are the future and any politician that wants to really tackle issues of underbanking needs to do that not virtue signal by bullying a fast food restaurant and others to do that which the DVLA doesn't do according to GGT!
    Quote Originally Posted by Ominous Gamer View Post
    Being upset is understandable, but be upset at yourself for poor planning, not at the world by acting like a spoiled bitch during an interview.

  17. #47
    Quote Originally Posted by RandBlade View Post
    I understand, I'm just saying the issues with cash go beyond financial services and that some companies wish to do away with cash due to intractible issues and the fact its now redundant with better alternatives available. Cash is slower to transact (over modern contactless), has more errors regarding mistakes (if the EFT transactions are computerised) and as Tim explained has much greater risk of fraud. And that's before we consider the risks of violence and/or insurance.

    Cash is the past, electronic transactions are the future and any politician that wants to really tackle issues of underbanking needs to do that not virtue signal by bullying a fast food restaurant and others to do that which the DVLA doesn't do according to GGT!
    We're getting into the weeds, but fuck it, let's go. I do get where you're coming from, and I'm not trying to argue with you or say you're wrong, because you're not. We agree on all material points, this post is going to be entirely tangental. We're about to head into semantics land, please watch your footing, there have been many wars fought here and the terrain is rough. Here's how I look at things:

    Pick any reason you might have for going cashless. Imagine there's a service or apparatus that makes that problem go away. Since that service is working with your money on your behalf, it is by definition a financial service. So if you go cashless for the previous reason, it means your access to financial services is inadequate, because otherwise you would have just used that hypothetical service to solve your problem. Such a service may not actually be available, or affordable, or feasible, or even possible, but at least we've identified the problem space.

    If you're starting to feel queasy, now's a good time to bail on this post, because we're going deeper into the semantic weeds, and there's worse abstractions ahead.

    Cash is broadly accepted and easily convertable under normal circumstances, and since it doesn't come with any processing fees it is naturally more valuable to a shop owner than any card-based payment. The only reason you would accept credit but not cash is because there is some other problem that cash would cause you that you can't solve on your own with the tools you have available. So either you need better information about the tools that are available to you, or you need better tools for dealing with cash, i.e. better financial services or devices. This doesn't necessarily mean that it's even possible to give you what you need to solve your problem, it just tells us where our focus should be if we're actually trying to help.

    So now we have the problem space and a low-res approximation of what the solution should look like. Those give us a rough priority order for the angles of attack, even without knowing the specifics yet. Once we have a better understanding of the details of your problem, we can look at hooking you up with existing solutions and clear whatever barriers there are that prevented you from doing that yourself. If that doesn't work, we can look at creating a service to solve your problem. We can also consider workarounds and replacement services, ways to sidestep your problem rather than dealing with it head on. For example, with my mobile money changer idea from yesterday, the money changer also doubles as a depository since you can take all the cash you have on hand, convert it to debit cards, and unload them into your bank account, sidestepping the entire problem of bank access if that was the reason you weren't accepting cash. After we've exhausted those avenues, we'll need to start looking at more radical solutions. If that fails too, it's probably time to admit that the problem is unsolvable by us.

    Whatever the outcome, at no point are you to blame for having a problem you couldn't solve.

    Hopefully that helps explain where I was coming from and why I was using that terminology. Apologies if anything was unclear or misleading; I have a terrible record with explaining this type of thing.

  18. #48
    I understand where you're coming from but I think there is a service that makes the problems of cash go away. Its called EFTPOS. It is affordable, feasible, widely adopted and pretty universal in 2020.

    Companies aren't dropping cash due to a lack of financial services, they're dropping it because of easy availability of superior financial services.

    I think you overestimate the negatives of card processing fees, they can be pretty tiny compared to other expenses. Certainly a mobile money changer would need to charge higher fees. Indeed nowadays card processing fees can be cheaper than cash handling fees, cash handling is categorically NOT free. Mobile cash collection services like you describe already do exist and due to the needs of security (not free) companies that provide that service can charge more per volume of cash than card processing companies charge.

    Real world example of charges:
    If a customer pays for a transaction with a debit card with my business then I get charged a penny per transaction for the authorisation charge then a percentage of the transaction from 0.3% of the transaction value. Next to zero risk involved.
    If I take cash from a customer (higher risk) then personally transport the money to the bank (high risk) then the bank charges a cash handling fee of 70p per £100, or 0.7% of the cash total.

    Besides the penny authorisation charge the card processing fee is less than half of the cash handling fee. And if I paid a company to come collect the cash it would be a lot higher cash handling fee. Credit cards get charged at 0.7% rather than 0.3% so the same as cash but with a single penny per transaction extra for the authorisation charge, however debit transactions make up about 70% of card transactions, credit are about 30% in my experience and a single penny per transaction to deal with all the issues of cash is worth it even then.
    Last edited by RandBlade; 01-28-2020 at 08:18 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ominous Gamer View Post
    Being upset is understandable, but be upset at yourself for poor planning, not at the world by acting like a spoiled bitch during an interview.

  19. #49
    Hey Rand, my comment was about the inconsistencies in state gov't policies. DMV (PennDot) won't accept cash but the state-run liquor stores do....so the risk of robbery is moot. The turnpike only recently started accepting debit/credit cards (in the cash lanes), but made more electronic EZ Pass lanes. For them the efficiency is about moving traffic quickly, plus not having to pay people to man the booths, not theft or fraud.

    You've outlined the benefits of cashless transactions, I just don't think it's the panacea you imagine. The risks will change, not go away entirely. Robbery, theft, and fraud will still happen even if you remove cash from the scenario -- card readers and computer hacking cause massive losses to businesses, plus put individuals at risk for identity theft.

    And during disasters when the power grid goes down, sometimes for days or weeks, cash is the only thing that still works.

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