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Pieces of Eight: News Bulletins from the Eighth Federal Reserve District

Monday, April 1, 1996

Keeping Pace with Payments

Smart cards. Electronic cash. Virtual banks. Ready or not, the future of the payments system is with us today. How did we get here? And more important, where are we headed?

In our just published 1995 annual report, the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis explores these questions by tracing the evolution of the nation's payments system from the archaic bartering process through to emerging high tech methods. The report includes descriptions of the different payment forms available today and those planned for tomorrow, as well as discussions of the benefits and drawbacks of each.

St. Louis Fed President Thomas C. Melzer introduces the report by pointing up the host of public policy questions that the new technologies raise. The best answers to these questions, Melzer says, will arise from experimentation and collaboration among parties working together to set common standards and workable safeguards.

To request a copy of the report, call Debbie Dawe of our Public Affairs Office at (314) 444-8809.

Navigating the Sea of Electronic Business Information

The Internet can provide a wealth of business and economic information from around the world, but only if you know where to find it. The St. Louis Fed's home page ( will point you in the right direction by providing links to more than 40 other government- and economic-related web sites. Examples include: the Bureau of the Census, the Internal Revenue Service, the Library of Congress, the Department of the Treasury, and more. You may also want to visit the addresses below for more general business- and government-related information.

  • American Stock Exchange
  • American city home pages
  • Commercial Sites Index
  • Federal agencies directory
  • General Accounting Office
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration
  • Securities and Exchange Commission
  • Small Business Administration
  • Social Security Administration

If you've found an informative, business-related web site you'd like to share, call us at (314) 444-8818 or e-mail us at

Cream of the Crop

District States Have Quarter of Nation's Farms

District State # of Farms % of Nation's Total
Missouri 105,000 5.1
Kentucky 89,000 4.3
Tennessee 83,000 4.0
Illinois 77,000 3.7
Indiana 63,000 3.1
Arkansas 44,000 2.1
Mississippi 39,000 1.9
United States 2,064,720  

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Agriculture

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