The whole Corona crisis has also shown how digital the world has become concerning money. The furlough scheme is a major example in itself. UK Businesses were expected to log their furlough claims using the internet. The IT infrastructure and software to support this was in place in record time – major IT projects can often take months or years to design, develop, thoroughly test, and release. It’s then an example of how the currency can now be distributed quickly to millions, through the central government, to businesses, then distributed electronically to customer accounts in banking computers. Not a single physical coin or note ever having existed.
Many other nations introduced a furlough scheme, but the USA did not. In this case, they mailed out Corona stimulus cheques of $1,200 to everyone. Lamenting, while doing so, that it was a shame that it was taking longer because they needed to get signatures on every cheque. Then, that it would have been so much easier had they had more direct banking details, such as a nominated bank account, to send the money out to the recipients electronically.
As to spending, well, more and more of it became electronic as internet shopping took off even further. Still, some preferred physical currency to a certain extent. However, one of the early casualties of Corona has been cash – the number of shops now insisting on electronic payments only and media stories saying that cash can help spread the disease is a clear signal that the system no longer wants people using old-fashioned coins and notes. Also, remember Gresham’s law about bad money forcing out good? There is probably a case that people are genuinely retaining more banknotes and coins at home, just if they are needed for some kind of emergency. However the Corona crisis goes, it doesn’t seem like good news for savers or freedom.