Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Money Discriminates Against the Blind

Federal appeals court: Paper money discriminates against blind people.

So do street lights. Should we turn them all off?

(Nod to KH, who is a Libertarian in deep cover. Or dark color. Or something like that.)


Shawn said...

well, we've got to pay them in all ones. Worked for Ray.

Apparently, however, strippers don't take ones anymore...so encouraging usage of ones would discriminate against them...but there's not many blind people patronizing strippers.

Dave said...

I thought it might be funny to reverse the two:

Couldn't you make a (admittedly weak) libertarian argument in favor of having money that is blind friendly (as a necessary component of making the market practically accessible for all citizens), but disqualify public funding for street lights bordering commercial and residential streets (which could be funded privately by those who would benefit the most)?

Or am I betraying just how rudimentary my knowledge of the libertarian principles is?

David Garver
(Former Student)

Mungowitz said...

Ah, sure, that would be fine, to have street lights privately funded.

My point was that ALLOWING street lights, however funded, is discriminatory. A blind person can't see. Only total darkness, for everyone, is nondiscriminatory. The only nondiscriminatory policy is OUTLAWING street lights.

On the money: If I'm blind, and can find a credit card in my wallet, I'm good to go. The set of cash transactions, for most people, is pretty small and getting smaller rapidly. Sure, it would be really tough to have to deal with money that way. My dad was blind for the last ten years of his life, and he always asked the cashier to count it for him. He figured that most people would help cheerfully, and he was right. He ended up talking to the cashier, and had a grand old time.

If cash money had been differentiated, then yes my dad would have been able to count the money himself. But....HE STILL WOULD HAVE BEEN BLIND. The idea that we should spend enormous resources for a tiny benefit is nuts. Of all the annoyances that blind people face in our society, the number of transactions where cash matters is pretty small.

If we want to spend money on assistance programs, or audio walk signals at intersections, at least I can see the benefit. (Sorry, I can UNDERSTAND the benefit.)

Anonymous said...

Well, if the credit card receipt you get is simply printed, then that would be discriminatory. If this ruling is going to be fair & effective, all retailers need to get receipt printers that emboss Braille into the receipt. We should accept nothing less!

Anonymous said...

Our decimal-based money system also discriminates against people who are bad at math!

Christoph said...

Is there any reason to believe the cost of changing American paper money would be so enormous. It seems to me that, if it's done gradually, it would come at almost no cost since old bills have to be replaced at some time anyway.

Dirty Davey said...

"The idea that we should spend enormous resources for a tiny benefit is nuts."

The idea that making bills more useful to the visually impaired would require "enormous resources" is nuts.