Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 15

Thread: The "War on Cash"

  1. #1

    Default The "War on Cash"

    Ten spine-tingling quotes from Naked Capitalism

    By Don Quijones, who lives Spain & Mexico and is an editor at Wolf Street. Originally published at Wolf StreetThe war on cash is escalating. As Mises’ Jo Salerno reports, the latest combatant to join the fray is JP Morgan Chase, the largest bank in the U.S., which recently enacted a policy restricting the use of cash in selected markets; bans cash payments for credit cards, mortgages, and auto loans; and disallows the storage of “any cash or coins” in safe deposit boxes. In other words, the war has moved on from one of words to actions.

    Here are ten quotes that should chill the spine of any individual who cherishes his or her freedom and anonymity:

    1. Kenneth Rogoff (from the intro to his paper The Costs and Benefits to Phasing Out Paper Currency):

    Despite advances in transactions technologies, paper currency still constitutes a notable percentage of the money supply in most countries… Yet, it has important drawbacks. First, it can help facilitate activity in the underground (tax-evading) and illegal economy.

    Second, its existence creates the artifact of the zero bound on the nominal interest rate.

    In other words, cash (not money) is the source of all evil and must be destroyed because governments can’t trace its every movement, and it represents a limiting factor on central banks’ ability to continue their insane negative-interest-rate experiment.

    2. Citigroup’s Chief Economist Willem Buiter responds to the monetary economist Charles Goodhart’s description of abolishing currency as “shockingly illiberal.”

    (T)his cost has to be seen against the cost that the anonymity of currency presents to society. Even though hard evidence is hard to come by, it is very likely that the underground economy and the criminal community are among the heaviest users of currency.

    This, I believe, is the hidden intent behind all the excited talk about banning cash: to do away with the personal anonymity it offers.

    3. France’s finance minister Michel Sapin adds a dose of scare-mongering, which can do wonders. In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo murders, he put much of the blame for the attacks on the assailants’ ability to buy dangerous things with cash. Shortly thereafter he announced a raft of capital controls that included a €1,000 cap on cash payments, down from €3,000. Such radical counter measures were necessary, he said, to “fight against the use of cash and anonymity in the French economy.”

    4. Guillermo de la Dehesa, a Spanish economist, former senior civil servant and current international advisor to Banco Santander and… (cue drum roll) Goldman Sachs, already demonized cash (as opposed to digitalized bank credit) as a source of all crime and evil back in 2007, when he wrote the following in an El Pais article titled “The Great Advantage of a Cashless World”:

    Without cash, we would live in a much safer, less violent world with enhanced social cohesion, since the major incentive fuelling all illegal activity [i.e. cash]… would disappear.”

    Dehesa also lamented that political authorities in all countries were incapable of taking this “transcendental step” to build a “safer and fairer world, in which there will be a reduced need for public and private policing and fewer wars, terrorist attacks, and burglaries, and drugs could only be bought legally.” So he ludicrously elevated cash (rather than money) as a major cause of war and a laundry list of other evils. They’d be stamped out by electronic payments where every single movement will be tracked and recorded for posterity.

    5. Economist and former US Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, among the growing ranks of policymakers, business leaders, academics, and bankers picking up the torch of Dehesa’s dystopian dream, is barely able to conceal his glee as he tells CBS news:
    There will be a time – I don’t know when, I can’t give you a date – when physical money is just going to cease to exist.

    6. David Wolman, author of the Death of Money, told CBS just why cash is so impractical (not to mention unhygienic, or as he puts it “pretty gross”):

    Everyone thinks cash is so simple and so easy and so fast and so secure. It’s NONE of those things. It’s really expensive to move it, store it, secure it, inspect it, shred it, redesign it, re-supply it, and round and round we go!

    7. Founder of mobile payments provider Square, Jack Dorsey seems to understand that to kill cash for good the authorities must go beyond just vilifying it; they must romanticize the alternatives. Here’s his take on mobile money:

    I think there is a general desire in American culture right now to find something that is more crafted, more personal.

    As anyone who’s ever received money as a gift will tell you, there’s nothing more impersonal (and, of course, more untraceable and anonymous) than cash. Mobile payments will fix that shortcoming.

    8. Chris Skinner, author of The Future of Banking and Digital Bank, drives home the point that digital money doesn’t just offer a more personal touch; it also offers a far more secure payment system, especially with the advent of biometric authentication systems.

    Imagine that your payment mechanism is built into a watch that your bank gave you. The watch includes an RFID or NFC capability, biometric recognition and is supported by existing infrastructures at the merchant front-end and money transmissions process back-end. The retail consumer can therefore go into any store, wave their watch at the contactless terminal, press their finger to the pay point and they have purchased the goods. No card or cash involved.

    That is the vision of the future of retail payments and we are almost there today. We already have contactless payment terminals, fingerprint recognition payments, micro and mobile payments. The only logical step is to introduce non-card based (i.e. biometric-based) payment systems.

    As the saying goes: you can create a new password many times (for example, if your accounts get hacked), but you can create your biometrics only once. If they’re compromised, they remain compromised. So a payment system based on them would be really cool.

    9. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, in its 2015 annual letter, adds a new twist. The technologies are all in place; it’s just a question of getting us to use them so we can all benefit from a crimeless, privacy-free world. What better place to conduct a massive social experiment than sub-Saharan Africa, where NGOs and GOs (Government Organizations) are working hand-in-hand with banks and telecom companies to replace cash with mobile money alternatives? So the annual letter explains:

    (B)ecause there is strong demand for banking among the poor, and because the poor can in fact be a profitable customer base, entrepreneurs in developing countries are doing exciting work – some of which will “trickle up” to developed countries over time.
    What the Foundation doesn’t mention is that it is heavily invested in many of Africa’s mobile-money initiatives and in 2010 teamed up with the World Bank to “improve financial data collection” among Africa’s poor. One also wonders whether Microsoft might one day benefit from the Foundation’s front-line role in mobile money.

    10. Buiter’s employer Citi, a big player in the African arena, recently launched a partnership with USAID aimed at accelerating mobile money adoption in developing countries. Here’s a nugget from their joint press release:

    [E]xpanding the adoption of mobile financial solutions is a critical economic development strategy with the potential to drive growth and increase financial access and security for the developing world’s poor population. The effort seeks to strengthen alternatives to a cash-based system that is inefficient, costly, and prone to corruption.

    As a result of technological advances and generational priorities, cash’s days may well be numbered. But there is a whole world of difference between a natural death and euthanasia. It is now clear that an extremely powerful, albeit loose, alliance of governments, banks, central banks, start-ups, large corporations, and NGOs are determined to pull the plug on cash — not for our benefit, but for theirs.

    As I warned in We Are Sleepwalking Towards a Cashless Society, we (or at least the vast majority of people in the vast majority of countries) are willing to entrust government and financial institutions – organizations that have already betrayed just about every possible notion of trust – with complete control over our every single daily transaction. And all for the sake of a few minor gains in convenience. The price we pay will be what remains of our individual freedom and privacy.

    Wolf here: Governments and corporations have one thing in common: they want to know everything. Data is power. And money. Technologies for collecting, mining, and using data are now so cheap that totally impoverished Somaliland has turned into the model of just this sort of cashless society. It sure is convenient. But…. My report from nearly two years ago: Perfecting The Surveillance Society – One Payment At A Time
    "We'll know our disinformation campaign is complete when everything the American public believes is false." --William J. Casey, D.C.I

    "We will lead every revolution against us." --Theodore Herzl

  2. #2

    Default

    The "cashless society" is a big part of the technocratic agenda. See also:

    https://www.corbettreport.com/the-cr...ation-of-cash/


    The Criminalization of Cash

    Corbett • 04/15/2015 • 11 Comments

    No-Cashby James Corbett
    TheInternationalForecaster.com
    April 15, 2015

    Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Louisiana has moved to criminalize cash! That’s right, as you may have read on any number of websites this week, Louisiana’s state legislature has passed House Bill 195, which reads in part:


    “A secondhand dealer shall not enter into any cash transactions in payment for the purchase of junk or used or secondhand property. Payment shall be made in the form of check, electronic transfers, or money order issued to the seller of the junk or used or secondhand property and made payable to the name and address of the seller.”
    .
    If this story seems familiar to you, then congratulations; you were probably paying attention when the bill was actually passed back in 2011. That’s right, in another example of that strange internet phenomenon by which a very old “news” story gets picked up as new news by one website and then copy-pasted around the internet, it looks like Louisiana’s anti-cash secondhand goods law just got recycled (appropriately enough) as a secondhand news story.

    And why not? The story itself may be old, but it is part of an unfolding agenda to create a cashless society, an agenda that continues to this very day.

    Do you remember when the Canadian government stopped allowing payment of taxes in cash at government service centers? Or when Passport Canada did the same?

    How about when children’s game manufacturers started pumping out cashless versions of the Game of Life, Monopoly and other classics? Or when companies like IBM started pimping their vision of a cashless future in TV advertisements?

    Or there’s the fact that London buses no longer take cash. Same in Sweden.

    Did you catch when Visa chief Peter Ayliffe predicted the end of cash?

    Or perhaps you’ve noticed that cash is getting increasingly more difficult to withdraw or even deposit into your bank account?

    Of course, there are many reasons presented as to why we need to transition into a cashless society. Cash is only used by criminals and terrorists, after all (just ask the government of France or the FBI or Amtrak or, presumably, the authors of House Bill 195 in Louisiana). Cash carries germs. Cash is so, like, 20th century.

    This is hogwash and propaganda, of course. As various sites pointed out with regard to the Louisiana story, the government moving to ban cash is a further encroachment on property rights and due process. It is also a move that disproportionately hurts the poor, who often have less access to banking services or credit/debit instruments. But perhaps more to the point, the future cashless society that the social engineers are trying to bring in is a world of total government surveillance. The government is already reading your emails and listening to your phone calls. Do you really want them correlating all of that data with the record of everything you ever purchase, and to keep all of that on file for the rest of eternity? No, I thought not.

    So what is the answer to this mess? Certainly not government regulation. In fact, there is no reason the government should be involved with the money supply at all, either issuing it, regulating it, or outlawing it. Do you really want the government to be able to stop you from using their central bank funny money fiat paper (or any other form of currency) to buy a table lamp at a garage sale? Where and how did they get the authority to step in between the two people making that transaction? And if they don’t have that authority, why would we cede it to them by sheepishly complying with these edicts?

    Thankfully, there are indications here and there that the people, when given a choice, will opt to go for cash transactions and human interaction. Let’s see if we can push that inclination to its logical conclusion by shunning the government-issued colored paper altogether and transacting with alternative and complementary currencies as much as possible.
    “The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of doubt, what is laid before him.”
    ― Leo Tolstoy,

  3. #3

    Default

    And now a propaganda piece in The Telegraph:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/p...-and-bust.html


    How to end boom and bust: make cash illegal

    Comment: Forcing everyone to spend only by electronic means from an account held at a government-run bank would give the authorities far better tools to deal with recessions and economic booms, writes Jim Leaviss

    By Jim Leaviss

    1:28PM BST 13 May 2015

    This story is part of our "Money Lab" series, in which respected figures from the world of finance put forward controversial ideas for improving our personal finances or the economy. We will publish this story in print in "Your Money" this weekend along with the best comments from readers, so have your say below

    A proposed new law in Denmark could be the first step towards an economic revolution that sees physical currencies and normal bank accounts abolished and gives governments futuristic new tools to fight the cycle of “boom and bust”.


    The Danish proposal sounds innocuous enough on the surface – it would simply allow shops to refuse payments in cash and insist that customers use contactless debit cards or some other means of electronic payment.


    Officially, the aim is to ease “administrative and financial burdens”, such as the cost of hiring a security service to send cash to the bank, and is part of a programme of reforms aimed at boosting growth – there is evidence that high cash usage in an economy acts as a drag.


    But the move could be a key moment in the advent of “cashless societies”. And once all money exists only in bank accounts – monitored, or even directly controlled by the government – the authorities will be able to encourage us to spend more when the economy slows, or spend less when it is overheating.


    This may all sound far-fetched, but the idea has been developed in some detail by a Norwegian academic, Trond Andresen*.

    • Get the best investing ideas from Telegraph Investor once a week by email

    • Get sent the best of Telegraph Money once a week by email

    In this futuristic world, all payments are made by contactless card, mobile phone apps or other electronic means, while notes and coins are abolished. Your current account will no longer be held with a bank, but with the government or the central bank. Banks still exist, and still lend money, but they get their funds from the central bank, not from depositors.

    Having everyone’s account at a single, central institution allows the authorities to either encourage or discourage people to spend. To boost spending, the bank imposes a negative interest rate on the money in everyone’s account – in effect, a tax on saving.

    Faced with seeing their money slowly confiscated, people are more likely to spend it on goods and services. When this change in behaviour takes place across the country, the economy gets a significant fillip.

    The recipient of cash responds in the same way, and also spends. Money circulates more quickly – or, as economists say, the “velocity of money” increases.

    What about the opposite situation – when the economy is overheating? The central bank or government will certainly drop any negative interest on credit balances, but it could go further and impose a tax on transactions.

    So whenever you use the money in your account to buy something, you pay a small penalty. That makes people less inclined to spend and more inclined to save, so reducing economic activity.

    Such an approach would be a far more effective way to damp an overheated economy than today’s blunt tool of a rise in the central bank’s official interest rate.

    • Interest rates predictions: 'July 2016 for first rise'

    • Nikkei at 20,000: will it hit '63m' by 2025?

    If this sounds rather fanciful, negative interest rates already exist in Denmark, where the central bank charges depositors 0.75pc a year, and in Switzerland.

    At the moment it’s easy for individuals to avoid seeing their money eroded this way – they can simply hold banknotes, stored either in a safe or under the proverbial mattress.

    But if notes and coins were abolished and the only way to hold money was through a government-controlled bank, there would be no escape.

    Apart from the control over the economy, there would be many other advantages of a cashless society. Such a system is much cheaper to run than one based on banknotes and coins. Forgery is impossible, as are robberies.

    Electronic money is an inclusive and convenient system, giving poor and rural sectors of an economy – where cash machines and bank branches may be few and far between and not all people have accounts – a tool for easy participation in the economy.

    Finally, the “black economy” will be hugely diminished, and tax evasion made all but impossible.

    Jim Leaviss is head of retail fixed interest at M&G Investments.

    *Improved macroeconomic control with electronic money and modern monetary theory, by Trond Andresen of the Norwegian University of Science & Technology
    “The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of doubt, what is laid before him.”
    ― Leo Tolstoy,

  4. #4

    Default

    "We'll know our disinformation campaign is complete when everything the American public believes is false." --William J. Casey, D.C.I

    "We will lead every revolution against us." --Theodore Herzl

  5. #5

    Default

    The other benefit for government in a cashless society, is that there will be no chance of avoiding paying tax, as currently happens when cash is used.
    The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
    Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14

  6. #6

    Default

    I get a neuralgic headache whenever Bitcoin's mentioned on tv or in the 'paper. The book 'How Corrupt is Britain' says that whilst the press/govt is blabbing-on about £1.2billion/pa is lost in benefit fraud, £120bill is lost pa in tax avoidance/evasion, for what that's worth.
    [SIZE=1]Martin Luther King - "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
    Albert Camus - "The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion".
    Douglas MacArthur — "Whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword obviously never encountered automatic weapons."
    Albert Camus - "Nothing is more despicable than respect based on fear."[/SIZE]

  7. #7

    Default War on Cash = Negative Interest Rates

    Negative interest rates was first brought up here at DPF 7 years ago -- as an exceptional case. But what is coming is a global regime -- a new world order, if you will.

    With central bankers losing credibility left and right, and failing outright to boost the "wealth effect" no matter what they throw at it, the next big question is when will central planners around the world unveil the cashless society which is a necessary and sufficient condition to a regime of global NIRP.

    And while in recent days we have seen op-eds by both Bloomberg and FT urging the banning of cash, the most disturbing development we have seen yet in the push for a cashless society has come from the following slide in a Morgan Stanley presentation, one in which the bank's head of EMEA equity research Huw van Steenis, pointed out the following...


    ... and added this:




    One of the most surprising comments this year came from a closed session on fintech where I sat next to someone in policy circles who argued that we should move quickly to a cashless economy so that we could introduce negative rates well below 1% – as they were concerned that Larry Summers' secular stagnation was indeed playing out and we would be stuck with negative rates for a decade in Europe. They felt below (1.5)% depositors would start to hoard notes, leading to yet further complexities for monetary policy.
    Consider this the latest, and loudest, warning on the road to digital fiat serfdom.
    It appears there can be multiple agendas: centralization of Atlanticist economic power, driving the middle class into serfdom, what else?

    From Washington's Blog:

    More than one-fifth of the world’s total GDP is in countries which have imposed negative interest rates, includingJapan, the EU, Denmark, Switzerland and Sweden.Negative interest rates are spreading worldwide.
    And yet negative interest rates – supposed to help economies recover – haven’t prevented Japan and Europe’s economies from absolutely going down the drain.
    Nor have they even stimulated spending. As ValueWalk points out:




    Japan has had ultra-low rates for years and its economy has been terrible. Trillions of debt in Europe now trades at negative interest rates and its economy isn’t exactly booming. Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland all have negative interest rates, but consumer spending isn’t going up there. In fact, savings rates have been going up in lockstep with the decrease in interest rates, exactly the opposite of what the geniuses at the various central banks expected.

    Why is this happening? Simply, savers are scared. Lower interest rates have wrecked their retirement plans. Say you were doing some financial planning 10 years ago and plugged in 3% from your savings account. Now its 0%. You still have to plan for your retirement. Plug in 0%. What happens to your planning now? 0% compounded for X years is 0%. The math is simple. So in order to have your target savings at retirement, you need to save more, not spend more. But for some reason, the economists that run central banks around the world can’t see this. They are all stuck in their offices talking to one another and self-reinforcing this myth that they can drive spending up by reducing the rate of return on investments. Want to see consumer spending go up? Don’t wreck their savings plans so that they are too scared to spend. But that’s too simple. Instead, central banks use a chain of causation that doesn’t exist to try to create change 3 or 4 steps down the line. It hasn’t worked, and it won’t work. It isn’t in an individual’s self-interest to go out and spend their money on more “stuff” in order to spur economic growth.
    So what’s really going on? Why are central banks worldwide pushing negative interest rates?
    Economics professor Richard Werner – the creator of quantitative easing – notes:




    The experience of Switzerland [shows that] negative rates raise banks’ costs of doing business. The banks respond by passing on this cost to their customers. Due to the already zero deposit rates, this means banks will raise their lending rates. As they did in Switzerland. In other words, reducing interest rates into negative territory will raise borrowing costs!

    If this is the result, why do central banks not simply raise interest rates? This would achieve the same result, one might think. However, there is a crucial difference: raised rates will allow banks to widen their interest margin and make their business more profitable. With negative rates, banks’ margins will stay low and the financial situation of the banks will stay precarious and indeed become ever more precarious.

    As readers know, we have been arguing that the ECB has been waging war on the ‘good’ banks in the eurozone, the several thousand small community banks, mainly in Germany, which are operated not for profit, but for co-operative members or the public good (such as the Sparkassen public savings banks or the Volksbank people’s banks). The ECB and the EU have significantly increased regulatory reporting burdens, thus personnel costs, so that many community banks are forced to merge, while having to close down many branches. This has been coupled with the ECB’s policy of flattening the yield curve (lowering short rates and also pushing down long rates via so-called ‘quantitative easing’). As a result banks that mainly engage in traditional banking, i.e. lending to firms for investment, have come under major pressure, while this type of ‘QE’ has produced profits for those large financial institutions engaged mainly in financial speculation and its funding.

    The policy of negative interest rates is thus consistent with the agenda to drive small banks out of business and consolidate banking sectors in industrialised countries, increasing concentration and control in the banking sector.

    It also serves to provide a (false) further justification for abolishing cash. And this fits into the Bank of England’s surprising recent discovery that the money supply is created by banks through their action of granting loans: by supporting monetary reformers, the Bank of England may further increase its own power and accelerate the drive to concentrate the banking system if bank credit creation was abolished and there was only one true bank left – the Bank of England. This would not only get us back to the old monopoly situation imposed in 1694 when the Bank of England was founded as a for-profit enterprise by private profiteers. It would also further the project to increase control over and monitoring of the population: with both cash and bank credit alternatives abolished, all transactions, money creation and allocation would be implemented by the Bank of England.
    If this sounds like a “conspiracy theory”, the Financial Times argued in 2014 that central banks would be the real winners from a cashless society:




    Central bankers, after all, have had an explicit interest in introducing e-money from the moment the global financial crisis began…

    ***
    The introduction of a cashless society empowers central banks greatly. A cashless society, after all, not only makes things like negative interest rates possible, it transfers absolute control of the money supply to the central bank, mostly by turning it into a universal banker that competes directly with private banks for public deposits. All digital deposits become base mon
    "We'll know our disinformation campaign is complete when everything the American public believes is false." --William J. Casey, D.C.I

    "We will lead every revolution against us." --Theodore Herzl

  8. #8

    Default The real reason for the war on cash

    originally from the Wall Street Journal

    These are strange monetary times, with negative interest rates and central bankers deemed to be masters of the universe. So maybe we shouldn’t be surprised that politicians and central bankers are now waging a war on cash. That’s right, policy makers in Europe and the U.S. want to make it harder for the hoi polloi to hold actual currency.

    Mario Draghi fired the latest salvo on Monday when he said the European Central Bank would like to ban €500 notes. A day later Harvard economist and Democratic Party favorite Larry Summers declared that it’s time to kill the $100 bill, which would mean goodbye to Ben Franklin. Alexander Hamilton may soon—and shamefully—be replaced on the $10 bill, but at least the 10-spots would exist for a while longer. Ol’ Ben would be banished from the currency the way dead white males like him are banned from the history books.

    Limits on cash transactions have been spreading in Europe since the 2008 financial panic, ostensibly to crack down on crime and tax avoidance. Italy has made it illegal to pay cash for anything worth more than €1,000 ($1,116), while France cut its limit to €1,000 from €3,000 last year. British merchants accepting more than €15,000 in cash per transaction must first register with the tax authorities. Fines for violators can run into the thousands of euros. Germany’s Deputy Finance Minister Michael Meister recently proposed a €5,000 cap on cash transactions. Deutsche Bank CEO John Cryan predicted last month that cash won’t survive another decade.

    The enemies of cash claim that only crooks and cranks need large-denomination bills. They want large transactions to be made electronically so government can follow them. Yet these are some of the same European politicians who blew a gasket when they learned that U.S. counterterrorist officials were monitoring money through the Swift global system. Criminals will find a way, large bills or not.

    The real reason the war on cash is gearing up now is political: Politicians and central bankers fear that holders of currency could undermine their brave new monetary world of negative interest rates. Japan and Europe are already deep into negative territory, and U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said last week the U.S. should be prepared for the possibility. Translation: That’s where the Fed is going in the next recession.

    Negative rates are a tax on deposits with banks, with the goal of prodding depositors to remove their cash and spend it to increase economic demand. But that goal will be undermined if citizens hoard cash. And hoarding cash is easier if you can take your deposits out in large-denomination bills you can stick in a safe. It’s harder to keep cash if you can only hold small bills.

    So, presto, ban cash. This theme has been pushed by the likes of Bank of England chief economist Andrew Haldane and Harvard’s Kenneth Rogoff, who wrote in the Financial Times that eliminating paper currency would be “by far the simplest” way to “get around” the zero interest-rate bound “that has handcuffed central banks since the financial crisis.” If the benighted peasants won’t spend on their own, well, make it that much harder for them to save money even in their own mattresses.

    All of which ignores the virtues of cash for law-abiding citizens. Cash allows legitimate transactions to be executed quickly, without either party paying fees to a bank or credit-card processor. Cash also lets millions of low-income people participate in the economy without maintaining a bank account, the costs of which are mounting as post-2008 regulations drop the ax on fee-free retail banking. While there’s always a risk of being mugged on the way to the store, digital transactions are subject to hacking and computer theft.

    Cash is also the currency of gray markets—amounting to 20% or more of gross domestic product in some European countries—that governments would love to tax. But the reason gray markets exist is because high taxes and regulatory costs drive otherwise honest businesses off the books. Politicians may want to think twice about cracking down on the cash economy in a way that might destroy businesses and add millions to the jobless rolls. The Italian economy might shut down without cash.

    By all means people should be able to go cashless if they like. But it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that the politicians want to bar cash as one more infringement on economic liberty. They may go after the big bills now, but does anyone think they’d stop there? Why wouldn’t they eventually ban all cash transactions much as they banned gold and silver as mediums of exchange?

    Beware politicians trying to limit the ways you can conduct private economic business. It never turns out well.
    "We'll know our disinformation campaign is complete when everything the American public believes is false." --William J. Casey, D.C.I

    "We will lead every revolution against us." --Theodore Herzl

  9. #9

    Default

    Correct, in my opinion. Negative interest rates and the "cashless society" go hand in hand.
    “The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of doubt, what is laid before him.”
    ― Leo Tolstoy,

  10. #10

    Default

    A Well-Kept Open Secret: Washington Is Behind India’s Brutal Demonetization Project

    In early November, without warning, the Indian government declared the two largest denomination bills invalid, abolishing over 80 percent of circulating cash by value. Amidst all the commotion and outrage this caused, nobody seems to have taken note of the decisive role that Washington played in this. That is surprising, as Washington’s role has been disguised only very superficially.

    US-President Barack Obama has declared the strategic partnership with India a priority of his foreign policy. China needs to be reined in. In the context of this partnership, the US government’s development agency USAID has negotiated cooperation agreements with the Indian ministry of finance. One of these has the declared goal to push back the use of cash in favor of digital payments in India and globally.
    On November 8, Indian prime minster Narendra Modi announced that the two largest denominations of banknotes could not be used for payments any more with almost immediate effect. Owners could only recoup their value by putting them into a bank account before the short grace period expired. The amount of cash that banks were allowed to pay out to individual customers was severely restricted. Almost half of Indians have no bank account and many do not even have a bank nearby. The economy is largely cash based. Thus, a severe shortage of cash ensued. Those who suffered the most were the poorest and most vulnerable. They had additional difficulty earning their meager living in the informal sector or paying for essential goods and services like food, medicine or hospitals. Chaos and fraud reigned well into December.
    Four weeks earlier
    Not even four weeks before this assault on Indians, USAID had announced the establishment of „Catalyst: Inclusive Cashless Payment Partnership“, with the goal of effecting a quantum leap in cashless payment in India. The press statement of October 14 says that Catalyst “marks the next phase of partnership between USAID and Ministry of Finance to facilitate universal financial inclusion”. The statement does not show up in the list of press statements on the website of USAID (anymore?). Not even filtering statements with the word “India” would bring it up. To find it, you seem to have to know it exists, or stumble upon it in a web search. Indeed, this and other statements, which seemed rather boring before, have become a lot more interesting and revealing after November 8.
    Reading the statements with hindsight it becomes obvious, that Catalyst and the partnership of USAID and the Indian Ministry of Finance, from which Catalyst originated, are little more than fronts which were used to be able to prepare the assault on all Indians using cash without arousing undue suspicion. Even the name Catalyst sounds a lot more ominous, once you know what happened on November 9.
    Catalyst’s Director of Project Incubation is Alok Gupta, who used to be Chief Operating Officer of the World Resources Institute in Washington, which has USAID as one of its main sponsors. He was also an original member of the team that developed Aadhaar, the Big-Brother-like biometric identification system.
    According to a report of the Indian Economic Times, USAID has committed to finance Catalyst for three years. Amounts are kept secret.
    Badal Malick was Vice President of India’s most important online marketplace Snapdeal, before he was appointed as CEO of Catalyst. He commented:
    Catalyst’s mission is to solve multiple coordination problems that have blocked the penetration of digital payments among merchants and low-income consumers. We look forward to creating a sustainable and replicable model. (…) While there has been (…) a concerted push for digital payments by the government, there is still a last mile gap when it comes to merchant acceptance and coordination issues. We want to bring a holistic ecosystem approach to these problems.
    Ten months earlier
    The multiple coordination problem and the cash-ecosystem-issue that Malick mentions had been analysed in a report that USAID commissioned in 2015 and presented in January 2016, in the context of the anti-cash partnership with the Indian Ministry of Finance. The press release on this presentation is also not in USAID’s list of press statements (anymore?). The title of the study was “Beyond Cash”.
    “Merchants, like consumers, are trapped in cash ecosystems, which inhibits their interest” in digital payment it said in the report. Since few traders accept digital payments, few consumers have an interest in it, and since few consumers use digital payments, few traders have an interest in it. Given that banks and payment providers charge fees for equipment to use or even just try out digital payment, a strong external impulse is needed to achieve a level of card penetration that would create mutual interest of both sides in digital payment options.
    It turned out in November that the declared “holistic ecosystem approach” to create this impulse consisted in destroying the cash-ecosystem for a limited time and to slowly dry it up later, by limiting the availability of cash from banks for individual customers. Since the assault had to be a surprise to achieve its full catalyst-results, the published Beyond-Cash-Study and the protagonists of Catalyst could not openly describe their plans. They used a clever trick to disguise them and still be able to openly do the necessary preparations, even including expert hearings. They consistently talked of a regional field experiment that they were ostensibly planning.
    “The goal is to take one city and increase the digital payments 10x in six to 12 months,” said Malick less than four weeks before most cash was abolished in the whole of India. To not be limited in their preparation on one city alone, the Beyond-Cash-report and Catalyst kept talking about a range of regions they were examining, ostensibly in order to later decide which was the best city or region for the field experiment. Only in November did it became clear that the whole of India should be the guinea-pig-region for a global drive to end the reliance on cash. Reading a statement of Ambassador Jonathan Addleton, USAID Mission Director to India, with hindsight, it becomes clear that he stealthily announced that, when he said four weeks earlier:
    India is at the forefront of global efforts to digitize economies and create new economic opportunities that extend to hard-to-reach populations. Catalyst will support these efforts by focusing on the challenge of making everyday purchases cashless.
    Veterans of the war on cash in action
    Who are the institutions behind this decisive attack on cash? Upon the presentation of the Beyond-Cash-report, USAID declared: “Over 35 key Indian, American and international organizations have partnered with the Ministry of Finance and USAID on this initiative.” On the website catalyst.org one can see that they are mostly IT- and payment service providers who want to make money from digital payments or from the associated data generation on users. Many are veterans of,what a high-ranking official of Deutsche Bundesbank called the “war of interested financial institutions on cash” (in German). They include the Better Than Cash Alliance, the Gates Foundation (Microsoft), Omidyar Network (eBay), the Dell Foundation Mastercard, Visa, Metlife Foundation.
    The Better Than Cash Alliance
    The Better Than Cash Alliance, which includes USAID as a member, is mentioned first for a reason. It was founded in 2012 to push back cash on a global scale. The secretariat is housed at the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDP) in New York, which might have its reason in the fact that this rather poor small UN-organization was glad to have the Gates-Foundation in one of the two preceding years and the Master-Card-Foundation in the other as its most generous donors.
    The members of the Alliance are large US-Institutions which would benefit most from pushing back cash, i.e. credit card companies Mastercard and Visa, and also some US-institutions whose names come up a lot in books on the history of the United States intelligence services, namely Ford Foundation and USAID. A prominent member is also the Gates-Foundation. Omidyar Network of eBay-founder Pierre Omidyar and Citi are important contributors. Almost all of these are individually also partners in the current USAID-India-Initiative to end the reliance on cash in India and beyond. The initiative and the Catalyst-program seem little more than an extended Better Than Cash Alliance, augmented by Indian and Asian organizations with a strong business interest in a much decreased use of cash.
    Reserve Bank of India’s IMF-Chicago Boy
    The partnership to prepare the temporary banning of most cash in India coincides roughly with the tenure of Raghuram Rajan at the helm of Reserve Bank of India from September 2013 to September 2016. Rajan (53) had been, and is now again, economics professor at the University of Chicago. From 2003 to 2006 he had been Chief Economist of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington. (This is a cv-item he shares with another important warrior against cash, Ken Rogoff.) He is a member of the Group of Thirty, a rather shady organization, where high ranking representatives of the world major commercial financial institutions share their thoughts and plans with the presidents of the most important central banks, behind closed doors and with no minutes taken. It becomes increasingly clear that the Group of Thirty is one of the major coordination centers of the worldwide war on cash. Its membership includes other key warriers like Rogoff, Larry Summers and others.
    Raghuram Rajan has ample reason to expect to climb further to the highest rungs in international finance and thus had good reason to play Washington’s game well. He already was a President of the American Finance Association and inaugural recipient of its Fisher-Black-Prize in financial research. He won the handsomely endowed prizes of Infosys for economic research and of Deutsche Bank for financial economics as well as the Financial Times/Goldman Sachs Prize for best economics book. He was declared Indian of the year by NASSCOM and Central Banker of the year by Euromoney and by The Banker. He is considered a possible successor of Christine Lagard at the helm of the IMF, but can certainly also expect to be considered for other top jobs in international finance.
    As a Central Bank Governor, Rajan was liked and well respected by the financial sector, but very much disliked by company people from the real (producing) sector, despite his penchant for deregulation and economic reform. The main reason was the restrictive monetary policy he introduced and staunchly defended. After he was viciously criticized from the ranks of the governing party, he declared in June that he would not seek a second term in September. Later he told the New York Times that he had wanted to stay on, but not for a whole term, and that premier Modi would not have that. A former commerce and law Minister, Mr. Swamy, said on the occasion of Rajan’s departure that it would make Indian industrialists happy:
    I certainly wanted him out, and I made it clear to the prime minister, as clear as possible. (…) His audience was essentially Western, and his audience in India was transplanted westernized society. People used to come in delegations to my house to urge me to do something about it.
    A disaster that had to happen
    If Rajan was involved in the preparation of this assault to declare most of Indians’ banknotes illegal – and there should be little doubt about that, given his personal and institutional links and the importance of Reserve Bank of India in the provision of cash – he had ample reason to stay in the background. After all, it cannot have surprised anyone closely involved in the matter, that this would result in chaos and extreme hardship, especially for the majority of poor and rural Indians, who were flagged as the supposed beneficiaries of the badly misnamed “financial-inclusion”-drive. USAID and partners had analysed the situation extensively and found in the Beyond-Cash-report that 97% of transactions were done in cash and that only 55% of Indians had a bank account. They also found that even of these bank accounts, “only 29% have been used in the last three months“.
    All this was well known and made it a certainty that suddenly abolishing most cash would cause severe and even existential problems to many small traders and producers and to many people in remote regions without banks. When it did, it became obvious, how false the promise of financial inclusion by digitalization of payments and pushing back cash has always been. There simply is no other means of payment that can compete with cash in allowing everybody with such low hurdles to participate in the market economy.
    However, for Visa, Mastercard and the other payment service providers, who were not affected by these existential problems of the huddled masses, the assault on cash will most likely turn out a big success, “scaling up” digital payments in the “trial region”. After this chaos and with all the losses that they had to suffer, all business people who can afford it, are likely to make sure they can accept digital payments in the future. And consumers, who are restricted in the amount of cash they can get from banks now, will use opportunities to pay with cards, much to the benefit of Visa, Mastercard and the other members of the extended Better Than Cash Alliance.
    Why Washington is waging a global war on cash
    The business interests of the US-companies that dominate the gobal IT business and payment systems are an important reason for the zeal of the US-government in its push to reduce cash use worldwide, but it is not the only one and might not be the most important one. Another motive is surveillance power that goes with increased use of digital payment. US-intelligence organizations and IT-companies together can survey all international payments done through banks and can monitor most of the general stream of digital data. Financial data tends to be the most important and valuable.
    Even more importantly, the status of the dollar as the worlds currency of reference and the dominance of US companies in international finance provide the US government with tremendous power over all participants in the formal non-cash financial system. It can make everybody conform to American law rather than to their local or international rules. German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung has recently run a chilling story describing how that works (German). Employees of a Geran factoring firm doing completely legal business with Iran were put on a US terror list, which meant that they were shut off most of the financial system and even some logistics companies would not transport their furniture any more. A major German bank was forced to fire several employees upon US request, who had not done anything improper or unlawful.
    There are many more such examples. Every internationally active bank can be blackmailed by the US government into following their orders, since revoking their license to do business in the US or in dollars basically amounts to shutting them down. Just think about Deutsche Bank, which had to negotiate with the US treasury for months whether they would have to pay a fne of 14 billion dollars and most likely go broke, or get away with seven billion and survive. If you have the power to bankrupt the largest banks even of large countries, you have power over their governments, too. This power through dominance over the financial system and the associated data is already there. The less cash there is in use, the more extensive and secure it is, as the use of cash is a major avenue for evading this power.



    The original source of this article is Norbert Haering

    Copyright © Norbert Haering, Norbert Haering, 2017
    "We'll know our disinformation campaign is complete when everything the American public believes is false." --William J. Casey, D.C.I

    "We will lead every revolution against us." --Theodore Herzl

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •