Credit card companies are stupid. Not for any of the crazy backwards pricing structures or 0% percent nonsense that they send out 100 times a year in the mail. Not for the hope of fre money or the predatory lending that happens every day.
They are stupid because they haven’t turned spending money into a game, at least not any more than playing with a piece of plastic and getting people to give you objects for swiping it into a machine.
If credit card companies were smart, they would create a virtual representation of everything that is purchased and put it into a virtual house for you. If they really had everything together, they would make The Sims into a carbon copy of everything that we buy.
On the one hand it would make people realize everything that they are consuming because they would have to lug it around their virtual world. On the other, it would allow us to start setting up an economy that is a direct copy of everything our real economy values. It would allow us to trade what we cant trade in real life, to own what we have always owned and what we will own in the future.
Rather than bogus rewards systems, we could be rewarded with the game of life. The real one, the one we pay for every day.
Think of this:
The gas that we buy for our real cars will make the virtual cars go. The fast food that we purchase will show up in our guts in the online game. The electronic devices that we purchase are forever in existence, long after their usefulness is gone. We could see the entertainment costs and the costs of not entertaining ourselves at all. We could see how happy our virtual counterparts are and reflect on the way our real selves feel. We could actually see what our debt gets us and the real affects of our consumption have on the world around us.
Most people still find the idea of purchasing virtual goods to be ludicrous, but purchasing real goods that have virtual counterparts just makes sense. We do this when we buy cd’s and get mp3 files as well. We do this when we buy neopets and farmville slushies. W just need to do this for everything. We need to have a way to publish all of our purchases for the purpose of creating a more intimate relationship with out goods and services.
The way I see it, the first bank to do this will be the one that gets to dictate the price of goods and services from that point forward. Because once everything is both virtual and physical, the virtual economy will become just as important as the one that provides us with sustenance and substance. Once a single bank doubles our buying power by duplicating every line item on a receipt, they will literally be printing their own money. They will own the game and every transaction could me monitized.
The only question I still have, is why aren’t the credit card companies so stupid as to not see this?
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