Sweden is changing the faces of their twenty, fifty, and one-hundred kroner bills and embedded new security codes to prevent counterfeiting. If we do not spend your old kroners by tomorrow, they are no good. You can paper the wall with them. It’s an interesting way to get people to spend money—just sayin’.
You can’t go to the bank to exchange them. Banks here in this town of 90,000 don’t do cash. If you need cash, go to an ATM. Swedes are a very high tech people. They all have cell phones, more than any other country. They’re addicted to them. You see a Swede with a cell phone, watch and see if he or she can stay off it for more than fifteen minutes. They get plane tickets, train tickets, send photographs, log into computers, play with Facebook, pay bills. Checkbooks have become a thing of the past. They do not use cash. I bought a shirt a few weeks back, and paid for it in cash. The clerk was a little bit surprised. “Do Americans still use cash?” he asked with honest curiosity.
“I’m the only one,” I told him. It was probably true. I visit ATMs a lot. I like cash. It seems simpler, more honest somehow. One has an awareness of cost, how much one is spending.
Its an interesting thing to think about. You have this paper in your hand that was worth something, suddenly it is not. What was it ever really worth, other than our believing that it had some value? I don’t remember this happening in the States. The faces on bills have changed over time, but I think a twenty from the fifties is as good now as it ever was.
I have a friend who works with money here, involved in anti counterfeiting work. He tells me most of the counterfeits in the US are dollar bills, not the larger denominations one would expect. “Nobody checks the ones,” he says. Not worth the time and effort. More than half one dollar bills in the US are counterfeit,” he says.
What’s paper money dollars really worth?
When we got off gold standard, things went sideways. Paper money used to actually be worth something—gold. There was gold to back the paper up. It was worth $32 an ounce when I was in my twenties. It got up to around $1,800 four years ago, then took a dive, down to around $900. It’s going up again now. Not surprising with all that’s going on. Gold feels secure, something real that can be used — for more than jewellery, scientific things — high technology and NASA stuff. Gold has always had value. Kennedy wanted to go back to the gold standard. Some think that’s why he was killed. It was a good enough reason. What would have happened if they suddenly said, ‘We’re going back to the gold standard.’ Paper would suddenly be be worth something. Problem would be that there is far too much paper money that is not worth anything— just promissory notes from someone we can’t be sure of. An ounce of gold would be worth lots of paper—thousands maybe. Some predict that is about to happen for more complicated reasons than my own. Others say just the opposite. One authority on the net recently said gold has no value. “You just believe it does,” he said. Same as the paper money thing. It’s not the same. We’ll never see thirty two bucks an ounce again. You can bet on that.
What if a society goes totally cashless? There will be hackers of course—new age burglars. Money will be damn near invisible to the average person on the street, the working class. It could really get weird. The banks will do well.