Nothing to bank on

Modern societies have created many problems. A feature of how economies have developed is that more things are done out of sight of others. We could say that many black boxes exist. Add to that the increasing complexity and interconnection of activities and you have a world that, for many people, is too hard to understand. Add to that relationship settings that keep certain social orders in place and you build in a tension that can often be ready to explode.

I’m thinking of this because my house keeper needed to get some money from the bank. She has her account overseas. She has an ATM card for that account. Her bank balance is in US dollars. She cannot access her full balance through an ATM. If she goes to some banks, she may be able to use the VISA feature to borrow from her account. Gone are the days when all money was in the house, under a mattress.

Those of us who have been able to move with technology may have no problems getting the money, and making transfers or payments, without moving from our home, or office, or wherever. We know about wiring funds, or we can even find ways to transfer by email, PayPal, or text message, etc. So much for the withdrawal.

How do we pay someone if we don’t have technology? It’s cash or cheque or money order, or something that involves physical movement of people or money.

Those people who are lagging with technology, they may also suffer from not knowing how the banking system works. So, they cannot conceive how money moves if not physically.

When they cannot make simple transactions, they blame someone or something. They remain shut out of the simple way to do things.

I won’t go into what if these people are illiterate or cannot deal with numbers.

I thought about this in the context of a real experience at a bank today. But, my mind went to things like the Tivoli Enquiry. People caught in the swirl of systems they did not build but have to use and don’t understand.

Author: Dennis G Jones (aka 'The Grasshopper')

Retired International Monetary Fund economist. My blog is for organizing my ideas and thoughts about a range of topics. I was born in Jamaica, but spent 30 years being educated, living, and working in the UK. I lived in the USA for two decades, and worked and travelled abroad, extensively, throughout my careers and for pleasure. My views have a wide international perspective. Father of 3 girls. Also, married to an economist. :)

One thought on “Nothing to bank on”

  1. This is serious food for thought, Dennis… Disempowered people trapped in a system they don’t understand and had no part in creating. Actually quite disturbing.


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