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Paying Our Debts

Apple Watch

The announcement (finally) of the long-awaited Apple Watch, and the related announcement of Apple’s new payment system got me wondering – how will we handle money in the future?

If you’ve never seen the movie “In Time”, go rent it now. It’s a fascinating look at a future payment system, in which time really is money. People have a counter on their wrists, and get paid in time. And when your time runs out, you die. Many people are, literally, living from day to day in low-end jobs.

I’m not saying we’re actually edging toward that kind of future, but it does seem likely that paper money will one day become obsolete in some fashion.

I’m struggling with this little bit in the story I’m currently writing – the rich and elite, of course, all use credit, but what do the poor people in my somewhat-dystopian world use? Many of them don’t have access to the kinds of devices that would allow them to tap into the global credit market. So my guess is that there will still be some kind of underground paper money exchange going on.

And let’s say we live, instead, in a more utopian future, where everyone has some version of the iPhone or the Galaxy or the Apple Watch – what concerns does that bring up? If and when money becomes totally divorced from its physical incarnation, is it easier to spend? Is it easier to lose?

So my questions today – what do you see happening with the future of money? Will it go away entirely to be replaced by something else? Will it transition to a purely electronic form? Or will instead be some kind of hybrid like we have now? And what are the ramifications of any of these possibilities? Finally, have you read any good books or seen any good movies that dealt well with this issue?

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