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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 5:01 pm 
Smeric
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Correlate, yes. But I'm sure it is just a correlation. The actually laws are more responsible.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 7:50 pm 
Sanno
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malloc wrote:
Recently it dawned on me that the US is one of the few developed countries with a presidential, as opposed parliamentary, system of government. On the other hand, it seems like most third world countries (apart from dictatorships and absolute monarchies) have presidential systems. Is this simply a coincidence or mistaken impression on my part or does the parliamentary system really correlate with higher prosperity than the presidential system?

I don't know.
However, if the relationship were real, two factors might be significant.
First, presidential democracy is considered inherently unstable. Other than the US, and until the last ten years, no presidential system had ever remained democratic longer than 25 years - and the strong relationship between presidentialism and democratic failure has been demonstrated to hold good statistically even controlling for many other potentially relevent variables. [however, Zompist is likely to jump in here and argue about that again]
Second, parliamentary systems are associated with British rule, which is in turn associated with greater democratic stability and educational attainment, both of which are associated with greater economic success.

I believe there is also a thought that more democratic systems with more participation by all stakeholders (ie parliamentary systems, usually, particularly coalition systems) tend to be associated with more policy stability and hence economic growth - but the sample sizes would have to be very small, so I wouldn't put too much money on that.

However, I'd have to puncture two small holes in your observation. Firstly, there are many, many parliamentary systems in the developing world - Commonwealth nations in particular tend to be parliamentary. Secondly, the samples are obviously skewed by the prevalence of parliamentarism in Europe. The latter can probably be explained by:
- desire for democracy; parliamentarism has always been more closely associated with the democratic ideal, so european ideological revolutionaries tended to favour it (when you get rid of kings, you're often loathe to replace them directly with presidents, particularly after you've met Cromwell and Napoleon)
- conversely, there's a smoother path from monarchy to parliamentarism, so non-revolutionary countries tend to drift in that direction
- the negative example of the Latin American democracies, which were seen as unstable and authoritarian, compared to the positive example of Britain and France (ironically France itself has drifted toward Presidentialism, though it's not there yet).

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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 8:40 pm 
Sumerul
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And, even more than the laws, Europe still benefits (indirectly) from the advantages detailed in Guns, Germs and Steel.


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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 6:33 am 
Avisaru
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Salmoneus wrote:
Also, interestingly, it's illegal: the PM doesn't have the power to call elections anymore. However, there are two loopholes:
a) the law saying she can't call elections allows her to call elections with the support of 2/3rds of MPs, and Labour have said they'll probably back her
b) the law saying she can't call elections can itself be repealed with the support of 1/2 of MPs. So it's basically worthless.


And indeed it is useless, as the Prime Minister got her 2/3rd and the direct opposition was so small that the Guardian could be bothered to put the names of all 13 MPs who voted against into the live feed. Jeremy Corbyn was very much "bring it on" about the whole thing, which is not a good sign given the absolutely awful situation Labour finds itself in right now. The one small bit of good that may come out of this is a Lib Dem resurgence, or if we're really lucky a Labour-Lib Dem-SNP coalition, which Sturgeon has actually proposed to keep the Tories out of No. 10 and to begin to repeal austerity (and it would be none too soon either).

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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 6:46 am 
Smeric
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I am personally in favour of a president directly elected by the people over a prime minister, but otherwise I prefer parliamentarian-style governments.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 7:59 am 
Sanno
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mèþru wrote:
I am personally in favour of a president directly elected by the people over a prime minister, but otherwise I prefer parliamentarian-style governments.

...that IS the difference between parliamentary and presidential systems. When you have a president, it becomes a presidential system.

[Or, OK, potentially it becomes a semipresidential system like France.]

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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 8:10 am 
Sanno
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Frislander wrote:
Salmoneus wrote:
Also, interestingly, it's illegal: the PM doesn't have the power to call elections anymore. However, there are two loopholes:
a) the law saying she can't call elections allows her to call elections with the support of 2/3rds of MPs, and Labour have said they'll probably back her
b) the law saying she can't call elections can itself be repealed with the support of 1/2 of MPs. So it's basically worthless.


And indeed it is useless, as the Prime Minister got her 2/3rd and the direct opposition was so small that the Guardian could be bothered to put the names of all 13 MPs who voted against into the live feed. Jeremy Corbyn was very much "bring it on" about the whole thing, which is not a good sign given the absolutely awful situation Labour finds itself in right now. The one small bit of good that may come out of this is a Lib Dem resurgence, or if we're really lucky a Labour-Lib Dem-SNP coalition, which Sturgeon has actually proposed to keep the Tories out of No. 10 and to begin to repeal austerity (and it would be none too soon either).


On the bad side, the LD 'resurgence' so far has taken them to the heady heights of 12%.
On the good side, though, it's really hard to predict what that will mean in terms of seats. The LD vote will be more concentrated than in the past, and they're good at local campaigning. In particular, London will be interesting - there's a whole stack of constituencies that are held by the Tories but that voted overwhelmingly Remain. The LDs will be hoping fo a repeat of the Richmond by-election -- goldsmith won the seat with 60% of the vote in 2015, but lost it in 2016 after a brexit-centric campaign. On the other hand, if we could trust by-elections the LDs would have won every general election since the seventies and they haven't. And some of that Richmond result may specifically have been anti-goldsmith, after his unpleasant mayoral campaign.

In related news, Crosby's back in charge of the Troy campaign, despite how badly he bungled London last year. It will be interesting to see how much he repeats his usual "muslims are evil" campaign tactics.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 8:32 am 
Smeric
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Or you could have a semi-parliamentary system. Also, parliamentary to me suggests some of the conventions in parliamentary systems as well.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 9:33 am 
Smeric
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mèþru wrote:
Or you could have a semi-parliamentary system. Also, parliamentary to me suggests some of the conventions in parliamentary systems as well.


It's sort of like what we have in France. Basically, it's a parliamentary system. The president is elected separately, but elections are synced so that the president gets a majority in the Assemblée Nationale.

The current election is interesting. It's probable that the next president will not be from one of the two mainstream parties; so getting a majority in parliament will be a challenge.
(The FN doesn't do well in the legislative elections; Macron - the current favorite - has started his own party just last year. The far left doesn't do that well in the legislative elections either, so Mélenchon would have trouble too).

Personally, I think our system isn't that great - I'd much rather have a German-like parliamentary system with proportional representation. I can't complain, though; I wouldn't like the British system with its dictatorial Prime Minister and FPTP elections.

Getting back on presidential system,

French history provides two examples of presidential systems not being stable:

Our early attempts at constitutional monarchy weren't very far from the US system. (Basically, remove the Senate, replace the president with the King, and you've got our very first constitution.) We ended up killing that king, cue Reign of Terror. I suppose that counts as a failure.

In 1848 France tried a presidential system. The president ended up proclaiming himself emperor a few years later. (On the other hand, we should have seen it coming electing Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte, nephew of Napoleon I)


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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 10:24 am 
Smeric
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Basically, I think parliament should use STV unless if it is a small country with little to no regionalism (like Israel)

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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 11:40 am 
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http://www.bbc.com/future/story/2017031 ... osexuality

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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 12:19 pm 
Sanno
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Ars Lande wrote:
Getting back on presidential system,

French history provides two examples of presidential systems not being stable:


To be fair, French history also offers the world's premier example* of an unstable parliamentary system too, in the Fourth Republic. (the Third wasn't that great either, but it was at least relatively long-lived by French standards). 21 Prime Ministers in 10 years. So possibly the message there is just that France isn't stable.


*OK, in the public mind the premier example is Weimar, but that's more for the consequences than the process. (14 chancellors in 14 years). But for political students it's either the French Fourth or the Italian First (40 Prime Ministers in 40 years, from the fall of de Gasperi to the rise of Berlusconi - less intense but longer; on the other hand a lot of that chaos was due to Italians, rather than the system per se (eg a huge number of PMs were brought down by corruption charges, one was murdered, etc); the title in Italy goes to Fanfani's sixth administration, which last three months, narrowly beating Tambroni's four-month long fascist-backed attempt).

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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 12:23 pm 
Avisaru
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Salmoneus wrote:
OK, in the public mind the premier example is Weimar, but that's more for the consequences than the process. (14 chancellors in 14 years).=


I mean it doesn't take much to see why that is: it was the weaknesses of Weimar which enabled Hitler's rise to power.

EDIT: Why did I have to be Captain obvious here?

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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 12:27 pm 
Sanno
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Frislander wrote:
Salmoneus wrote:
OK, in the public mind the premier example is Weimar, but that's more for the consequences than the process. (14 chancellors in 14 years).=


I mean it doesn't take much to see why that is: it was the weaknesses of Weimar which enabled Hitler's rise to power.



...er, yes, that's what "the consequences" referred to there; I thought the context was well-enough known that I didn't have to spell out the details. (cf. WWII, Holocaust, etc).

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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 12:38 pm 
Smeric
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I think any French or Italian democratic governing system is going to be chaotic due to culture.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 12:43 pm 
Smeric
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Things did not get to Hitler-levels in the French Fourth Republic, but things were pretty dire by the end, though. Arguably it even ended in a coup, albeit a benevolent one, if there is such a thing.

Let's be fair though, the Third Republic didn't do that bad. And the Fifth Republic has done well till then - no worse than elsewhere in any case. So we can do stable when we want.
Since 1958 things have been remarkably stable. Perhaps that's a bad thing; I wouldn't mind a little more chaos.

But we'll see after the election if Salmoneus and mèþru are correct and France is, indeed, unstable. (I read somewhere the current socialist government plans to hold on until the legislature passes a motion of no confidence if Le Pen wins the presidency; which is contrary to the established custom but apparently constitutional. While I have no particular desire to watch that particular train wrecks, it'll be fun to watch from a safe distance.)


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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 12:58 pm 
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Salmoneus wrote:
To be fair, French history also offers the world's premier example* of an unstable parliamentary system too, in the Fourth Republic. (the Third wasn't that great either, but it was at least relatively long-lived by French standards). 21 Prime Ministers in 10 years. So possibly the message there is just that France isn't stable.

*OK, in the public mind the premier example is Weimar, but that's more for the consequences than the process. (14 chancellors in 14 years). But for political students it's either the French Fourth or the Italian First (40 Prime Ministers in 40 years, from the fall of de Gasperi to the rise of Berlusconi […]).

What about interwar Poland — 20 PMs and 29 cabinets in 18 years (with the last three years before WWII having only one PM and cabinet due to a movement towards presidential system)?

Quote:
I think any French or Italian democratic governing system is going to be chaotic due to culture.

At least they are not Africans… /s

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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 5:05 pm 
Sumerul
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Frislander wrote:
Salmoneus wrote:
OK, in the public mind the premier example is Weimar, but that's more for the consequences than the process. (14 chancellors in 14 years).=


I mean it doesn't take much to see why that is: it was the weaknesses of Weimar which enabled Hitler's rise to power.

EDIT: Why did I have to be Captain obvious here?
I have heard this idea many a time before, but I don't buy it: by 1933, the other countries in Europe were unfortunately mostly authoritarian governments themselves, and half of those that weren't, were colonial empires. Oh and a civil war resulting later in a dictatorship. So the real question is not "how did Germany fall to fascism?" but rather "how did Switzerland and Scandinavia not succumb? And Estonia, Latvia, Czechoslovakia and Romania so late?".


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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 5:32 pm 
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jmcd wrote:
Frislander wrote:
Salmoneus wrote:
OK, in the public mind the premier example is Weimar, but that's more for the consequences than the process. (14 chancellors in 14 years).=


I mean it doesn't take much to see why that is: it was the weaknesses of Weimar which enabled Hitler's rise to power.

EDIT: Why did I have to be Captain obvious here?
I have heard this idea many a time before, but I don't buy it: by 1933, the other countries in Europe were unfortunately mostly authoritarian governments themselves, and half of those that weren't, were colonial empires. Oh and a civil war resulting later in a dictatorship. So the real question is not "how did Germany fall to fascism?" but rather "how did Switzerland and Scandinavia not succumb? And Estonia, Latvia, Czechoslovakia and Romania so late?".


I agree: we only remember Germany because of what followed (and because it's been a staple of history curricula in this country for decades now), and we remain mosly ignorant of the rest of Europe.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 6:32 pm 
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Salmoneus wrote:
OK, in the public mind the premier example is Weimar, but that's more for the consequences than the process. (14 chancellors in 14 years).=

Frislander wrote:
I agree: we only remember Germany because of what followed (and because it's been a staple of history curricula in this country for decades now), and we remain mosly ignorant of the rest of Europe.

I feel that's exactly what Sal had in mind in the first place.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 6:28 am 
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Pole, the wrote:
Salmoneus wrote:
OK, in the public mind the premier example is Weimar, but that's more for the consequences than the process. (14 chancellors in 14 years).=

Frislander wrote:
I agree: we only remember Germany because of what followed (and because it's been a staple of history curricula in this country for decades now), and we remain mosly ignorant of the rest of Europe.

I feel that's exactly what Sal had in mind in the first place.


Oh the circularity!

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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 5:54 pm 
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I feel very stupid right now, but I can't figure out how "credit cards" work, as I'm used to debit cards. I tried to read the article on Wikipedia, but it talks a lot about the network and the banks, without conveying how people actually use them. So, can American people explain to me how you use credit cards in your day-to-day life?

Here's what I'm used to in France. When I open a bank account, I get a card (theoretically it's optional, but in practice it's too useful to decline). In French, I call it a "carte bleue", even though they haven't been blue for a long time (and the actual Carte Bleue scheme is now obsolete); you'd probably call that a "debit card".

I can:
- Go to a bank, enter my card and input my secret code into a cash machine, and withdraw some money.[$] Within 2 to 3 business days, my bank account is debited of the corresponding amount.
- Go to a shop, and buy something using my card and my secret code. Again, within 2 or 3 business days, my bank account is debited of the amount.
- Use the numbers on the card to order something online. That's basically the only way to use a card if you don't know its secret code.

There's little point in having several cards for a single person, as the money will come from the same account anyway (Edit: unless you own several bank accounts) (of course, two people who have a joint account can get one card each). There's a limit to how much you can pay or withdraw in a week, but it's as much a security as an annoyance (if someone steals your card and somehow manages to use it, they can't take too much money from you). And if your bank account gets too negative, your card can be blocked.

Can someone tell me a comparable story about your experience with credit cards?

[$] Incidentally, when I went to the US, it came as a surprise that every dinky little shop has its own ATM. In France, you see ATMs mostly in banks or post offices, and occasionally in large malls.


Last edited by Ryusenshi on Fri Apr 21, 2017 7:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 6:33 pm 
Smeric
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Quote:
- Go to a bank, enter my card and input my secret code into a cash machine, and withdraw some money.[$] Within 2 to 3 business days, my bank account is debited of the corresponding amount.
- Go to a shop, and buy something using my card and my secret code. Again, within 2 or 3 business days, my bank account is debited of the amount.

2 to 3 business days? That seems quite slow. But maybe it depends on the bank.

But anyway, I have never used a credit card either.

In Poland, contactless debit cards seem common. I have got one and I use it for most of my payments — to the degree I use almost no cash and I haven't had a real need for an ATM for several months, if not longer. There is also a limit (e.g. 50 PLN) below which you don't need to input your PIN.

I also use my debit card for online payments, but I prefer to pay directly via my bank's website — for a convenience of not having to type the card's number. In most cases, paying with a card requires logging to the bank's website anyway and then typing in an SMS code.

Quote:
There's little point in having several cards for a single person, as the money will come from the same account anyway (of course, two people who have a joint account can get one card each).

I have got three bank accounts at two different banks (it's a long story) and two debit cards, one of them contactless. If I had to visit some place in the Eurozone in the near future, I'd probably take a third debit card, connected to a EUR account.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 7:51 pm 
Sanci
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Pole, the wrote:
2 to 3 business days? That seems quite slow. But maybe it depends on the bank.

Probably. But I notice the delay when I check my bank account online.

Contactless paying is getting more and more common in France. But my card is getting old and doesn't offer this.

Pole, the wrote:
I have got three bank accounts at two different banks (it's a long story) and two debit cards, one of them contactless.

You're right, I should have mentioned the case where one person has several bank accounts.


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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2017 12:29 am 
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Ryusenshi wrote:
Can someone tell me a comparable story about your experience with credit cards?


For my first credit card, my father and I went to a bank, we filled out some paperwork, and I got a shiny card. Since then, I've acquired them generally via mail/online.

I think of credit cards as being debit cards, except that instead of the money being deducted from my account at the time of purchase, all of my purchases for a month are lumped together and I pay all of them at once, after I've had a chance to look over my statement and make sure that the list of payments is right. And, if I really really really need to, for a fee, I can avoid paying all of it this month, and instead pay it next month (I've only actually done this once in 15 years, I think, and that was because of a particularly large purchase).

At a higher level, what happens when I make a "payment" with a credit card is that my credit card issuer (e.g. Discover) immediately pays (like a debit card) the merchant say, 15 bucks, and receives implicitly from me a signed contract saying "Axiem will pay Discover 15 bucks in the future". This shifts some of the risk around e.g. stolen credentials away from me as a user, and onto the big, scary finance company. And I don't have to try to remember my PIN just to make a purchase. On the other hand, Discover will only let me get away with so much of this (my "credit limit", which is basically a function of how much money I make and whether or not I pay my credit card bill monthly), but I rarely get anywhere up there in practice, so it's a bit moot.

There's more complexity to it (in terms of how merchants are charged, and how risk gets mitigated, and how credit cards can get away with 5–10% back schemes), but that's the nutshell.

Though these days, I do it through Apple Pay when I can, but that's just using my phone instead of a card.

My spouse and I have 5 cards between us:
- A shared bank debit card for ATMs the one time every year we actually need cash (and for those rare places that only take debit)
- A shared credit card that is our primary purchaser, mostly because it has a good rewards program
- My spouse has their own credit card that they never use, but it's tied to the mortgage account and could theoretically be used for gifts and things that I can't see
- I have my own credit card that is paid out of my personal allowance bank account, and largely is my lunches and gifts and things
- I have my own debit card that's attached to my personal allowance bank account, but it doesn't live in my wallet so in practice, I don't have it

We used to have a 6th specifically for gasoline, but they stopped giving you the rewards for it if you didn't actually use it for anything else, so we went to our shared one because it has decent rewards on gas.


In terms of day-to-day life, somewhere close to 100% of our purchases are done by credit card; for me, I choose between personal or shared based on the context; my spouse always uses the shared card. I imagine it's pretty similar to using a debit card for everything, but we don't have any PINs to deal with, and we look at the statement monthly and pay it (and/or contest anything strange that shows up on there). Whether it's a physical card, Apple Pay, or typing numbers into a webpage depends on the context, but is functionally the same.


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