Personal Checks, and the Trouble with Market Eschatology

I love market eschatologists. These are, of course, those full-bearded prophets who shout about impending end times for … something or another. It could be equities, or fax machines, or growth stocks, or video rental stores, or pretty much anything.

The fun thing is, of course, they’re almost always wrong. Nothing ever truly goes away. There are still endless people out there using fax machines, buying equities, renting videos in stores, and even starting (and funding!) deranged dot-coms. Nothing goes away. We live in a world where the only things that truly become extinct are the species that we humans wipe out in drive-by fashion. Whoops, sorry about that!

Anyway, I was reminded of the preceding tonight when perusing a paper about the stubborn reluctance of personal checks to go away. Their demise has been prophesied endlessly, and yet people using them to pay for groceries always end up in front of me in the local line at 5pm on Fridays. Finally, however, at least usage seems to be tailing off a little on a per capita basis, albeit a decade or three after first forecasted.



Why Are (Some) Consumers (Finally) Writing Fewer Checks? The Role of Payment Characteristics by Scott Schuh and Joanna Stavins FRB Boston

Originally published at Paul Kedrosky’s blog and reproduced here with the author’s permission.

One Response to "Personal Checks, and the Trouble with Market Eschatology"

  1. Jacques René Giguère   May 15, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    But in civilised technologically advanced countries like Canada, they have disappeared. (I haven’t written a check for over two years and I don’t enen remember where my checkbook is)