Money is an inescapable part of life.
A currency’s ups and downs, regulate how the whole country under it operates, how its people live and work, and how that country operates in the international sphere. Money is one concern that both the rich and the poor have together. The poor are focused on making it and the rich are focused on keeping it.
In the past 60 years, technology has involved itself more and more with the monetary systems. First, it was the ability to withdraw cash from an ATM, first developed for the banking giant Barclays in the UK. Then it was the ability to swipe a credit or debit card electronically, instead of using those ungainly carbon-copiers that captured a paper copy of your card for later charging.
And recently, the smartphone had made a foray into the monetary system. With the advent of NFC technology, smartphones can now be used as credit cards. By linking your account to an app on your Android or Apple device, you can leave home with only your phone and ID and still make it to that shopping spree with Betty at 5.
- But what does this mean for money?
- Does this progression from the physical mean death for the dollar bill?
- Or does this control of corporations over your money mean privatization of the monetary system?
While the future of the dollar, euro, ruble, yuan, or peso remains unclear, what does present itself in crystal clarity is that culture around money has changed. Instead of an inn-owner hiding his life savings in a lockbox in the attic, as was usual in the early 18th century, a business owner has all his income held in the First National Bank down in town.
Instead of people hiding how much money they had, expect in the case of the very rich, for fear of it being stolen, it’s common for people to flaunt their money. Everyone knows that one person who seems to find any reason to talk about their salary, or what’s in their bank account, or the square footage of their house. Money has become a bragging point, and this is most visible in the high-school generation of today.
Status symbols have become central to youth culture today.
From Beats headphones, to Jordan shoes, to BMW or Mercedes-Benz cars, the youth of today covet items more than ever before. In some ways, it could be the fault of the internet. Now, everyone follows their favorite celebrities and athletes on Twitter, and when that celebrity lets drop that they have the new ______, everyone following them suddenly wants that item.
It’s the world’s most expensive game of Follow the Leader.
Not helping the issue is the fact that now, it’s easier than ever to buy things.
Amazon is only a click away now, and if you’re one of the few who bought an Amazon device, it’s only a tap away, or even less. With the introduction of multi-site cookies that track your interests and purchases, the things being shown to you are so tantalizing to your personal tastes that it’s almost impossible to not take Amazons suggestions “based on your history”.
The combination of the intangibility of money, combined with the spread of consumerism and the prevalence of easy-buy items in today’s society makes for a lethal cocktail of irreverence for the stuff that was thought up to simply make trading easier, but has turned into the second-most important thing to air for much of the modern population.
Money was never mean to take us over. Its whole aim was to simplify the trade of goods.
But as we saw with the telephone, sometimes our ideas turn into something not necessarily equal to what we expected.
Alexander Gault-Plate is an aspiring journalist and writer, currently in the 12th grade. He has worked with his schools newspapers and maintained a blog for his previous school. In the future, he hopes to write for a new-media news company.
You can follow Alexander on Twitter here https://twitter.com/AlexanderBGault