2013 Creative Writing Contest


How would you like to pay for that?


It's 2020, and you stop to buy a cup of coffee on your way to work. Instead of paying cash or using a credit card, you swipe your smartphone and the transaction is complete. On the way home that evening, paying for your groceries at the supermarket is as easy as scanning the iris of your eye.

Does this sound far fetched? It may, but this is what some experts predict our world will look like in the near future.

A majority of experts polled by the Pew Center predict that by 2020, the convenience and affordability of smartphones and other mobile payment systems like PayPal will replace cash and credit cards.*

Future World is closer than you think!

The Challenge

What does Future World look like to you? Is there cash, or are smartphones and PayPal the primary forms of payment for goods and services? Have there been major innovations in payment systems? Craft an essay, poem, play, or short story explaining what costs and benefits you envision in Future World.

As you craft your composition, think about how economic principles will affect Future World.

To answer these complex questions, contestants must think critically about basic economic principles.

Some Key Economic Concepts

Benefits are the social and financial positives that result from an economic activity, good, or service.

Costs are the expenses--such as time or money--necessary to obtain benefits.

Demand is how much of something people want.

Inflation is a general increase in the price level of goods and services.

Opportunity costs is the value of possible alternatives that a person gives up when making one choice instead of another; also known as a trade-off.

Supply is the total quantity of a good or service that is available for purchase at a given price.

Unintended consequences are outcomes of an action that are different from the expected ones.

*The Future of the Internet, Pew Research Center’s Pew Internet and American Life Project.