New York City vs. Retail Innovation

Monday, January 27, 2020

New York City is set to ban cashless stores. In other words, it is going to violate the right of a merchant to set acceptable terms for making a sale, allegedly to aid minorities and the "underbanked:"

It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg for someone else to ask me to use this. (Image by flyerwerk, via Pixabay, license.)
"When you open a dollar bill, it reads 'This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private,'" said Councilman Ritchie Torres, the sponsor of the bill. "Cash ought to command universal acceptance." [Really? On what basis? --ed]

Once signed, businesses would have nine months to adjust before the law takes effect.

Torres said the bill would protect the most vulnerable New Yorkers, such as seniors, homeless people and undocumented residents.
Given that that this will incur higher operating expenses and security risks, some businesses will "adjust" by closing altogether, as I and others have noted before. And I have also already discussed how this will likely do more harm than good (even setting aside the further erosion of government respect for individual rights, which is much worse):
... Have these "consumer advocates" not heard of "food deserts" -- poor areas in cities that lack grocery stores? Cashless stores alone would not solve the problem, but it's conceivable that the ability to operate without mounds of cash on hand might make it safer enough for at least a few businesses to enter or start in such potential markets. And as for "the unbanked" not being able to pay, I am sure some enterprising soul could come up with a pre-paid way for many of them to use such stores, if that hasn't been implemented already. But that's not even the half of how ludicrous such proposals are...


[G]uess who loses when their employer's costs increase? Or is it "elitist" to make entry-level employees accustomed to higher pay levels?
And as if that doesn't show how short-sighted and self-congratulatory this bill is, its own backers don't bat an eye at the following double standard:
The law would not apply to online transactions.
But what do I know? New York is already considering a law to ban independent contracting, so maybe Amazon is already in the crosshairs, too. No new idea is too effective or promising in the realm of liberating the common man these days, that some kleptocrat won't manufacture a flimsy excuse for banning it.

Perhaps, to show solidarity with those "oppressed" by the mere existence of technological alternatives to cash, Mayor de Blasio could start insisting on receiving his quarter million-plus salary in cash, and walk it home each payday after work.

My calling de Blasio a hypocrite is no endorsement of his professed views: It may not be obvious, but it is just as ridiculous to demand de Blasio do this as it is for him to demand that a shopkeeper accept cash whether he deems it wise or not.

There is a far better course of action he could follow, but it would take deliberation and courage because both go against the grain of today's political trends. He should think about something other than looking like a defender of the downtrodden in the eyes of the ignorant, and being a defender of them (and, in the process, everyone else) in actual fact.

In other words, de Blasio could make a stand, rare in this day and age, for the inalienable rights of the individual to conduct his life according to his best judgment. De Blasio should refuse to sign this measure into law because it violates those rights.

-- CAV

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