In the so-far fictional world of Panoptica, shops have nothing on display. You enter, wave your chipped hand over the reader, and the assistant hands you your shopping, bagged up and ready.
There is no tobacco and no booze. All it took was a couple of generations of keeping it out of sight and putting out terrifying fiction labelled as research, and nobody even remembers they were ever legally sold. They are not illegal, just as street photography is not illegal now, but who knows?
What’s in your bag depends on your weight and activity levels, all monitored of course. You do not choose what you want. It’s all pre-processed crap with occasional fresh fruit and vegetables. Tomatoes appear rarely and those who get them are suddenly found to be smokers, and are forced to take early retirement. Which sounds good until you find out what it means.
There is no cash. In fact, there is no money at all, but the residents believe their chips actually contain their money. How that works, well, we’ll do that another time.
Today, the coalition took another step towards the long-dreamed-of cashless society where nobody has any printed money and money is worth whatever the government says it’s worth.
I used to hang out with those sorts of people. Druggies, alkies, the dregs. Somehow I never got into drugs at all. I was more interested in getting out of that world so I wasn’t going to spend money on oblivion powder. I succeeded and found the truth in the ‘frying pan and fire’ saying. The world they dropped out of is just as crappy as the one they are in.
So, what do I think they’ll do when their benefits will no longer buy them booze and baccy and burgers?
They will buy what they can buy and resell it to buy what they want. Or they will steal cash, mug people, or just steal the things they want. This is obvious to everyone with an IQ above 50. The government has not noticed.
How to stop it? Oh, that’s obvious too. Everyone gets a card. Everyone. The druggies can’t mug you for cash if you don’t have any so the sheeple will soon be delighted to find they can have the cards too. What is there to fear? They aren’t unemployed so the restrictions won’t apply to them.
Then only those Approved Of will be able to buy tobacco and booze. You’ll have to register as a baccy monster or boozehead to be allowed, of course. Just like the plans to make you register as a pervert if you don’t want your internet censored.
Misbehave and your privileges are withdrawn. Remotely. You will find out when you try to buy your monthly bottle of wine.
All it takes to bring this into my fictional world is to put it on an implanted chip, and the technology to do that has already been around for years.
I should have written Panoptica ten years ago. Keeping up with the sods these days is proving really difficult.
Incidentally, the main character is a devoted drone called Wayne Taylor. Since I have to type his name often I don’t want a long and complicated one. If anyone comes up with a better name and I use it (think two more generations of chav/footballer names but keep it simple), you’ll get a free signed copy when it’s finally done and one of Samuel’s Girl when I get print copies too, because it could take a while to get Panoptica finished. I keep having to think of new and more bizarre stuff the maniacs in charge haven’t already done.