Bill Maurer, an anthropologist at the University of California, Irvine, who studies payments, calls the decision to withdraw cash “contextually rational”. It’s not that people are worried about how the Fed distributes cash, he says. It’s that, as in any disaster, people are worried about everything else — the electrical grid, or the mobile network. … Holding on to a stack of bills, says Prof Maurer, is “the recognition that in a pinch I can use cash and it will work with anybody

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