For a variety of reasons, this is not a good article. The author, David Wolman, contends that paper money is not “efficient” enough to be worth it any more, and that governments should end the use of paper money altogether. Wolman does not suggest, as you may be hoping, that paper money be replaced with hard money. He simply wants a completely electronic system of fiat money.
Now, paper money in a fractional reserve fiat system has a myriad of problems, but one doesn’t have to be some kind of hard-core survivalist to know that paper money is a useful option.
Wolman’s pronouncement that paper money is inefficient has a nice neo-classical ring to it, but the people who choose to use it have concluded that it is efficient for them, and it’s not the role of the state to say otherwise. And of course, ending the use of paper money would be a nice nail in coffin of financial freedom. In a system with no paper money, the government can “efficiently” tax every single transaction that doesn’t take place in the black market.
“Little” problems with the elimination of paper money, such as destruction of the tip system, can, according to Wolman, simply be solved by a mandated raise in the minimum wage.
Lest we be accused of being nutty survivalists, we might also mention that it isn’t exactly totally outlandish to speculate about scenarios in which one might not have access to one’s electronic funds for a few days due to a variety of reasons such as financial or natural disaster. Might it be a wee bit helpful to have some cash on hand in such a situation? Is it really wise to assume that the technological infrastructure and financial system will always work without any serious disruption until the end of time?
The article raises some interesting opportunities for speculation. The piece doesn’t necessarily presume a system of fiat money, although it almost certainly does in this case. Efficiency is apparently the primary purpose of money, according to Wolman, but could not such efficiency be obtained with a gold standard? There is no reason why not, although persons would always be free to engage in commerce using gold and silver for smaller transactions.