The End of Money: Counterfeiters, Preachers, Techies, Dreamers%E2%80%94and the Coming Cashless Society

David Wolman, Author
David Wolman. DaCapo, $25 (240p) ISBN 978-0-306-81883-7
Reviewed on: 01/30/2012
Release date: 02/01/2012
Ebook - 249 pages - 978-0-306-82269-8
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Paperback - 248 pages - 978-0-306-82147-9
Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-4690-2435-6
Compact Disc - 978-1-4690-2436-3
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Money is a hot topic—Wired magazine contributing editor Wolman observes that it is paradoxically something we think about "always and never." Tangible cash, on the other hand, is something "we think we know." However, Wolman believes that physical cash will soon cease to be. He explores this compelling possibility by talking with a number of fascinating characters, such as Pastor Glenn Guest of Bowman, GA, who, citing the biblical book of Revelation, believes the end of cash is the beginning of the end of the world; convicted counterfeiter Bernard von NotHaus; and Delhiite Sonu Kumar, who uses his cell phone to remotely update his State Bank of India account, a technological advancement that Wolman notes could be "the angel of death" to the paper and coin system. Cash alternatives are already in place, whether we acknowledge or recognize them as such, and Wolman (A Left-Hand Turn Around the World) reviews a few, including Kilowatt Cards and Disney Dollars. Just as interesting is Wolman's discussion of money, culture, and poverty: is cash truly—as Ignacio Mas of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation claims—the "enemy of the poor"? If cash goes away, will that really lead to financial inclusion for the world's poor? Wolman's writing is clear and thoughtful, and his use of characters and places add color and personality to this excellent investigation of a timely topic. Agent: Giles Anderson, the Anderson Literary Agency. (Feb.)
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