AuthorTopic: WAR ON CASH THREAD  (Read 5685 times)

Offline RE

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Re: WAR ON CASH THREAD
« Reply #15 on: January 19, 2017, 11:16:25 AM »
Ironically, those worst-hit are the people who helped vote Modi into power, believing his populist rhetoric.  Now, while they and their families go hungry, they outwardly give lip-service approval to Modi’s dictatorial scheme

Sounds familiar.

It will be a challenge when Trumpty-Dumpty Demonetizes the Benjamins to exchange them for more Rice & Beans for me before they go worthless.  Hopefully I get enough warning to go on a major Prep Run to 3 Bears on the Ewz and load up a few 25 lb bags of rice before my notes go worthless.  ::)

RE
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Offline azozeo

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Re: WAR ON CASH THREAD
« Reply #16 on: January 19, 2017, 12:43:46 PM »
Ironically, those worst-hit are the people who helped vote Modi into power, believing his populist rhetoric.  Now, while they and their families go hungry, they outwardly give lip-service approval to Modi’s dictatorial scheme

Sounds familiar.

It will be a challenge when Trumpty-Dumpty Demonetizes the Benjamins to exchange them for more Rice & Beans for me before they go worthless.  Hopefully I get enough warning to go on a major Prep Run to 3 Bears on the Ewz and load up a few 25 lb bags of rice before my notes go worthless.  ::)

RE


Rule Numero Uno - Location, location, location...

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I know exactly what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world.
You don’t know what it is but its there, like a splinter in your mind

Offline azozeo

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Re: WAR ON CASH THREAD
« Reply #17 on: January 29, 2017, 09:53:37 AM »
Activist Post

By Claire Bernish

In the most far-reaching move toward a cashless society to date, the European Commission proposed enforcing “restrictions on payments in cash” under an all-too-familiar premise — because terrorism.

“Payments in cash are widely used in the financing of terrorist activities,” the Commission’s proposal states. “In this context, the relevance of potential upper limits to cash payments could also be explored. Several Member States have in place prohibitions for cash payments above a specific threshold.”

On the heels of the European Central Bank’s discontinuation of the €500 note, the Commission’s plan would drastically scale back civilians’ ability to conduct transactions using currency — and, by default, will allow banks and the State further means to track individuals via bank cards.

According to the Commission’s Inception Impact Assessment,

    Cash has the important feature of offering anonymity to transactions. Such anonymity may be desired for legitimate reason (e.g. protection of privacy). But, such anonymity can also be misused for money laundering and terrorist financing purposes. The possibility to conduct large cash payments facilitates money laundering and terrorist financing activities because of the difficulty to control cash payment transactions.

In other words, because criminals and terrorists use paper currency, the ability for law-abiding citizens to conduct anonymous transactions with cash must be curtailed. For any number of reasons — not the least of which is the laughable presumption terrorists would just walk into a store and purchase big ticket tools of the trade — this assessment fails the sniff test.

In actuality, moving away from the use of physical currency constitutes a veritable jackpot for the West’s Surveillance State, and presents myriad possibilities for abuse by the European Commission and member governments. How long will it be, after all, before such restrictions extend to transactions of lesser sums?

“Potential restrictions to cash payments would be a means to fight criminal activities entailing large payment transactions in cash by organised criminal networks,” the plan states. “Restricting large payments in cash, in addition to cash declarations and other AML obligations, would hamper the operation of terrorist networks, and other criminal activities, i.e. have a preventive effect. It would also facilitate further investigations to track financial transactions in the course of terrorist activities.”

Notably, though the proposal repeatedly proffers the preventive effect made possible through prohibitions on large cash transactions, evidence supporting that theory is glaringly absent. It continues:

    Effective investigations are hindered as cash payments transactions are anonymous. Thus restrictions on cash payments would facilitate investigations. However, as cash transactions are moved to the financial system, it is essential that financial institutions have adequate controls and procedures in place that enable them to know the person with whom they are dealing. Adequate due diligence on new and existing customers is a key part of these controls in, line with the AMLD [Anti-Money Laundering Directive].

    Terrorists use cash to sustain their illegal activities, not only for illegal transactions (e.g. the acquisition of explosives) but also for payments which are in appearance legal (e.g. transactions for accommodation or transport). While a restriction on payments in cash would certainly be ignored for transactions that are in any case already illegal, the restriction could create a significant hindrance to the conduct of transactions that are ancillary to terrorist activities.

The Commission’s own language evinces a degree of doubt as to whether such a plan would work, saying only “the restriction could create a significant hindrance” to terrorist operations.


Indeed, as pointed out by Sovereign Man’s, Simon Black, restricting large-sum cash dealings might have the opposite effect on crime:

    If you examine countries with very low denominations of cash, the opposite holds true: crime rates, and in particular organized crime rates, are extremely high.

    Consider Venezuela, Nigeria, Brazil, South Africa, etc. Organized crime is prevalent. Yet each of these has a currency whose maximum denomination is less than $30.

    The same trend holds true when looking at corruption and tax evasion.

Yet the European Commission still asserts, “Organised crime and terrorism financing rely on cash for payments for carrying out their illegal activities and benefitting from them. By restricting the possibilities to use cash, the proposal would contribute to disrupt the financing of terrorism, as the need to use non anonymous means of payment would either deter the activity or contribute to its easier detection and investigation.”

Perhaps the most astonishing and erroneous assumption in the plan is that terrorists and criminals will suddenly abide the law — as if malicious groups would surmise, ‘Well, damn, large cash transactions aren’t possible, so I guess we’ll have to find another line of work.’

Black presents several examples of countries who have taken the leap away from paper currency only to be hit with soaring crime rates.

In short, banning or severely limiting paper currency is ineffective at what governments claim such programs are intended to do, as Black continues,

    Bottom line, the political and financial establishments want you to willingly get on board with the idea of abolishing, or at least reducing, cash […]

    Simply put, the data doesn’t support their assertion. It’s just another hoax that will give them more power at the expense of your privacy and freedom.

Freedom to spend, as one desires, on what one chooses comprises such a basic right, governments have had to propagate a massive campaign to conflate physical money with the criminal element — because the reality is, everyone uses paper currency — even if the Commission disagrees:

    While being allowed to pay in cash does not constitute a fundamental right, the objective of the initiative, which is to prevent the anonymity that cash payments allow, might be viewed as an infringement of the right to privacy enshrined in Article 7 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights […] It should also be observed that national restrictions to cash payments were never successfully challenged based on an infringement to fundamental rights.

It might seem convenient to gradually abolish paper currency in favor of, for instance, a bank or other card for all transactions, but the brutal truth of a cashless society is the heaviest hand of the State in our private lives.
I know exactly what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world.
You don’t know what it is but its there, like a splinter in your mind

Offline RE

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Things Just Got Serious in Europe’s War on Cash
« Reply #18 on: January 29, 2017, 02:52:00 PM »
http://wolfstreet.com/2017/01/28/europe-limits-on-cash-transactions-war-on-cash

Things Just Got Serious in Europe’s War on Cash
by Don Quijones • Jan 28, 2017 • 50 Comments   

To protect citizens from threats as defined by apparatchiks in Brussels.
By Don Quijones, Spain & Mexico, editor at WOLF STREET.

The central authorities in Europe just launched their most important offensive to date in their multiyear War on Cash. The new move comes directly from the European Union’s executive branch, the European Commission, which just announced its intention to “explore the relevance of potential upper limits to cash payments,” with a view to implementing cross-regional measures in 2018.

Maximum limits on cash transactions already exist in most European countries, and the general trend is downward. Last year, Spain joined France in placing a €1,000 maximum on cash payments. Greece went one better, dropping its cap for cash transactions from €1,500 to €500. In simple terms, any legal purchase of a good or service over €500 will need to be done with plastic or mobile money.

In some countries, the maximum cash limit is significantly higher. For example, in Europe’s biggest economy, Germany, recent attempts by the government to set a threshold of €5,000 triggered a fierce public backlash. The German tabloid Bild published a scathing open letter titled “Hands Off Our Cash,” while a broad spectrum of political parties condemned the proposed measures as an attack on data protection and privacy.

“Cash allows us to remain anonymous during day-to-day transactions. In a constitutional democracy, that is a freedom that has to be defended,” tweeted the Green MP Konstantin von Notz. Even Bunderbank President Jens Weidmann criticized the government’s proposals, telling Bild (emphasis added): “It would be fatal if citizens got the impression that cash is being gradually taken away from them.”

Germany’s neighbor to the south, Austria, has similar reservations about the EU’s plans to suppress cash. The Deputy Economy Minister Harald Mahrer said that Austrians should have the constitutional right to protect their privacy. “We don’t want someone to be able to track digitally what we buy, eat and drink, what books we read and what movies we watch,” Mahrer said on Austrian public radio station Oe1. “We will fight everywhere against rules” including caps on cash purchases, he said.

In other words, any attempt by the European Commission to set a mandatory continent-wide limit is likely to be met with fierce resistance — at least from some countries. Others are already so far down the path toward a cashless society that they’ll barely notice the difference.




The financial consultancy AT Kearney predicts that by 2022 there will be more cashless transactions in Europe than those using cash. According to a report by Fung Global Retail & Technology, nine of the top 15 “most digital-ready” countries are in Europe. Sweden is hotly tipped to become the world’s first completely cashless economy. It could happen as soon as 2030.

Yet even Sweden has seen an enthusiasm gap emerge, mostly along demographic lines, as the Guardian reports:

    Older people in the rural north, tending to be the least tech-savvy, resent the economic power of Stockholm and Gothenburg, now almost entirely cash-free urban zones. The National Pensioners Organisation is a key player in the “Cash Uprising” coalition now campaigning to make sure older Swedes can still deposit and remove cash from banks.

Some experts fear the emergence of a dystopic “two-tier urban realm” in which the poorest become cut off from mainstream commercial life by their continued dependence on traditional forms of currency and are only able to trade among themselves. As financial writer Dominic Frisby explains, “the beauty of cash is that it’s a direct and simple transaction between all kinds of different people, no matter how rich or poor.”

What’s more, there’s no middleman involved. One party pays the other party in mutually accepted currency and not a single middleman gets to wet his beak. And to all intents and purposes, it’s untraceable. Is it any wonder that banks, fin tech firms, credit card companies, central banks, national and regional governments and UN agencies want to pull the plug on physical currency?

They already have vital technological and generational trends firmly on their side, as a result of which cash’s days as a commonly used payment method may well be numbered anyway. They also have the added bonus of widespread public ignorance, apathy, and disinterest. But they still want to hurry the process along, primarily by introducing incremental legislation that makes it harder and harder for law-abiding citizens to pay with cash.

For now, the pretext most often wheeled out for this escalating assault on physical currency is the War on Terror, but there are also the familiar bugbears like organized crime, tax evasion and the informal economy.

These justifications merely serve to obscure the real ultimate goal: the complete — or near-complete — technocratic control over the money supply. In a world where every transaction must be electronic (i.e. traceable) and where biometric authentication systems have become the norm, the influence of big banks, corporations, tech firms and governments over our lives will be virtually unlimited.

Another important perk of cash is that it limits central banks’ ability to continue conducting arguably the greatest financial heist of the modern age, i.e., negative interest rate policy (NIRP). As long as cash exists, there’s no way of preventing depositors from doing the logical thing – i.e. taking their money out of the bank and parking it where the erosive effects of NIRP can’t reach it.

But perhaps the greatest beauty of cash is that it is one of the last remaining things that gives people a small semblance of privacy, anonymity, and personal freedom in their increasingly controlled and surveyed lives. However, according to the European Commission, privacy and anonymity do not constitute “fundamental” human rights:

    …prevent(ing) the anonymity that cash payments allow might be viewed as an infringement of the right to privacy enshrined in Article 7 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. However, as complemented by article 52 of the Charter, limitations may be made subject to the principle of proportionality if they are necessary and genuinely meet objectives of general interest recognized by the Union or the need to protect the rights and freedoms of others.

In other words, to protect European citizens from any threats to general interest identified by the apparatchiks in Brussels, the European Commission can quite simply override the non-fundamental rights of over 500 million people to privacy, anonymity and personal freedom. And it’s all set to begin in the next year. By Don Quijones, Raging Bull-Shit.

The UK, whose people have voted to escape this Union, has other ideas. “What they sell is escape: from the laws, rules, and taxes of jurisdictions elsewhere, with secrecy as their prime offering.” World’s Worst Tax Haven Threatens to Expand its Operations
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Offline RE

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War on Cash Puts ECB, EU on Collision Course with Germany
« Reply #19 on: April 07, 2017, 03:25:10 PM »
http://wolfstreet.com/2017/04/07/war-on-cash-puts-ecb-eu-on-collision-course-with-germany/

War on Cash Puts ECB, EU on Collision Course with Germany
by Don Quijones • Apr 7, 2017 • 5 Comments   


Bundesbank: It’s a war on personal freedom and choice.
By Don Quijones, Spain & Mexico, editor at WOLF STREET.

Relations between Germany, and the ECB have curdled in recent times over a key issue: the role of cash. Germans have a soft spot for physical lucre while the ECB and Europe’s executive branch, the European Commission, have openly expressed their desire to suppress, or even punish, its use.

For Germany’s central bank, the Bundesbank, the war on cash is a war on personal freedom and choice, in the name of saving a financial system and its absurd negative interest rates. Last year Bundesbank president Jens Weidmann warned that it would be “disastrous” if people started to believe cash would be abolished — an oblique reference to the risk of negative interest rates and the escalating war on cash triggering a run on cash.

In Germany, trust in Europe’s financial institutions is already at a historic low, with only one in three Germans saying they have confidence in the ECB. That was before ECB president Mario Draghi gave an infamous speech in May last year laying much of the blame for the Eurozone’s weak economy on Germans’ proclivity to save, rather than splash out on foreign imports or invest in the stock market.

Now, it’s the turn of the scientific advisory board of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology to have its say. In a new report, the board, which includes former ECB Chief Economist Otmar Issing, cautions that any attempt by government or central banks to enforce mandatory controls or withdraw larger denomination bills, as the ECB has pledged to do next year starting with the €500, could have very negative repercussions, in particular for the general public.

“Upper cash limits will hurt ordinary citizens, while the shadow economy and organized crime are likely to escape monitoring and alternative methods of payment,” it warns. The report highlights a number of potential negative consequences of suppressing or outlawing cash:

    The potential for abuse or misuse of personal data: “The anonymity of payments (offered by cash) protects against misuse of… information.”
    Less control over personal finance: “Whoever makes a payment in cash can see immediately how many coins and notes they have left in their purse or wallet.” This is much harder in a purely digital economy.
    A threat to personal freedom and anonymity: The report also describes the potential “interference” in the freedom of ordinary citizens as “disproportionate.”

The European Commission would beg to disagree. It recently stated its intention to “explore the relevance of potential upper limits to cash payments”, with a view to implementing cross-regional measures in 2018. In the small-print accompanying the draft legislation, it breezily points out that privacy and anonymity do not constitute “fundamental” human rights:

    …prevent(ing) the anonymity that cash payments allow might be viewed as an infringement of the right to privacy enshrined in Article 7 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. However, as complemented by article 52 of the Charter, limitations may be made subject to the principle of proportionality if they are necessary and genuinely meet objectives of general interest recognized by the Union or the need to protect the rights and freedoms of others.

Any attempt by the European Commission to set a mandatory continent-wide limit was bound to meet fierce resistance, in particular from countries that don’t have cash payment limits like Germany and Austria. The Bundesbank is also one of the world’s biggest manufacturers of physical cash. In total, €592 billion of the €1.1 trillion of banknotes in circulation at the end of 2016 started life at the Bundesbank.

Judging by its recent statements, the Bundesbank is determined to preserve this arrangement. Last year Carl-Ludwig Thiele, Bundesbank board member in charge of cash issues, delivered a barnstorming speech on the folly of suppressing cash in order to prevent people from escaping negative interest rates by fleeing into cash:

“This would, in my view, be the wrong response to the monetary policy challenges at the zero lower bound. Instead of financial repression it would make much more sense to discuss how economies could achieve stronger growth again through higher interest rates.”

The ECB hit back last month by threatening to make Germans pay for their love of physical money. If a national central bank such as the Bundesbank uses more than its allocation of physical cash, it should be made to pay interest on the overuse, at the ECB’s main refinancing rate, sources at the ECB said. For the moment, the issue is moot since the ECB rate is 0%.

But should the ECB, over time, raise benchmark interest rates to, say, 2%, it would result in an annual cost of €6.5 billion on the Bundesbank which would be paid to the national central banks of countries such as Spain and Portugal, who are underusing their cash allocation. In other words, the more physical cash a country’s citizens use, the higher the price for their respective central bank (and vice versa).

This could be a major problem in a country where almost 80% of all retail transactions are paid with cash. Even among millennials, two-thirds prefer paying in cash to electronic means of payment. Overall, the value of cash money used in Germany in 2016 rose by more than 7%.

It is not yet clear who will gain the upper hand in this conflict between Europe’s most powerful institution and Europe’s strongest economy and most powerful nation. But whatever the outcome, it’s likely to have major repercussions far beyond Germany’s borders. By Don Quijones.

The ECB is hatching a new plan, but at its own peril. Read…  Are Germans About to Be Made to Pay for Their Love of Cash?
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Offline azozeo

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WAR ON CASH - U.S. is No Longer the World’s Largest Bitcoin Market
« Reply #20 on: September 18, 2017, 01:37:14 PM »
https://futurism.com/the-u-s-is-no-longer-the-worlds-largest-bitcoin-market/



Futurism
IN BRIEF

Japan now accounts for roughly half of the global bitcoin exchange market. The country’s share surged over the weekend in response to new Chinese legislation that forces the nation’s crypto exchanges to halt operations over the next several weeks.

Japan has risen above the U.S. in the worldwide rankings for the largest bitcoin exchange market. The country now accounts for roughly 48 percent of the global market share, reaching a high of 51 percent over the weekend.

This is thanks in no small part to the Chinese government’s recent rulings on the cryptocurrency. The nation first issued a ban on initial coin offerings (ICOs) and then requested that exchanges and trading platforms cease operations by the end of September, granting an extension until October 30 for OKCoin and Huobi.

    CryptoCompare shows that Japan accounts for over 50% of all #bitcoin trades. Chinese traders have already moved to Japan. China less than 7% pic.twitter.com/t7YRaL5jv3

    — Joseph Young (@iamjosephyoung) September 17, 2017

Those deadlines are still weeks away, but traders aren’t waiting around. Many that were previously operating in China have taking their activity to Japan, causing the spike in the nation’s market share — and reducing China’s from 15 percent to less than seven percent in just three days.

It remains to be seen whether Japan’s current position will hold or is a fleeting surge. One Chinese official has claimed that the country’s ban on ICOs is a temporary measure, but the country’s position in the cryptocurrency market might be forever changed if the current situation drags on too long.

Disclosure: Several members of the Futurism team, including the editors of this piece, are personal investors in a number of cryptocurrency markets. Their personal investment perspectives have no impact on editorial content.
I know exactly what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world.
You don’t know what it is but its there, like a splinter in your mind

Offline Eddie

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Re: WAR ON CASH - U.S. is No Longer the World’s Largest Bitcoin Market
« Reply #21 on: September 18, 2017, 04:28:21 PM »
https://futurism.com/the-u-s-is-no-longer-the-worlds-largest-bitcoin-market/



Futurism
IN BRIEF

Japan now accounts for roughly half of the global bitcoin exchange market. The country’s share surged over the weekend in response to new Chinese legislation that forces the nation’s crypto exchanges to halt operations over the next several weeks.

Japan has risen above the U.S. in the worldwide rankings for the largest bitcoin exchange market. The country now accounts for roughly 48 percent of the global market share, reaching a high of 51 percent over the weekend.

This is thanks in no small part to the Chinese government’s recent rulings on the cryptocurrency. The nation first issued a ban on initial coin offerings (ICOs) and then requested that exchanges and trading platforms cease operations by the end of September, granting an extension until October 30 for OKCoin and Huobi.

    CryptoCompare shows that Japan accounts for over 50% of all #bitcoin trades. Chinese traders have already moved to Japan. China less than 7% pic.twitter.com/t7YRaL5jv3

    — Joseph Young (@iamjosephyoung) September 17, 2017

Those deadlines are still weeks away, but traders aren’t waiting around. Many that were previously operating in China have taking their activity to Japan, causing the spike in the nation’s market share — and reducing China’s from 15 percent to less than seven percent in just three days.

It remains to be seen whether Japan’s current position will hold or is a fleeting surge. One Chinese official has claimed that the country’s ban on ICOs is a temporary measure, but the country’s position in the cryptocurrency market might be forever changed if the current situation drags on too long.

Disclosure: Several members of the Futurism team, including the editors of this piece, are personal investors in a number of cryptocurrency markets. Their personal investment perspectives have no impact on editorial content.

The crackdown on cryptocurrencies in China drove the market to Japan. However, it now looks suspiciously like the bitcoin bubble of the past year might have popped. I never bought any, even though I was tempted.



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Offline RE

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Runaway Train Towards Full Digitization of Money and Labor
« Reply #22 on: December 28, 2017, 12:19:57 AM »
I can see how the Swissies could go all digital and pull paper Francs out of circulation pretty easily.  It's a small country and not that many Swissie paper notes circulate outside the country.

I am harder pressed to see how this could be pulled off with the Dollar.  The Paper Dollar is THE Go-To currency for all Black trades of all kinds around the globe, from drug deals to oil deals to political bribery.  There are huge numbers of these notes floating around all around the world.  Many of the people who hold large quantites of these notes have a lot of power, and many are not nice people.  Unlike impoverished Indians, I don't think they would just roll over and starve if the TBTF Banks declared all Ben Franklins to be worthless.  :o

Personally, I have been 99% Digital for years, using my debit card rather than carrying gobs of cash around.  It's only since the financial crisis in 2008 I started taking to the practice of always having some CASH around in the event of a Bank Holiday or just a local failure of the point of sale terminals.

When the system goes down, it's not going to make too much difference if there is paper money around or not.  It will become valueless pretty rapidly.  Gold and Silver coins will not do much better.

About the best you can do is to have multiple accounts in different banks and credit unions and in your PayPal Balance.  Keep everything under federally insured limits.  Keep your nose clean and pay your taxes so you don't get targeted for a Hit from the IRS.  Keep your expenses and overhead low so you don't need to make big withdrawals.

Also go long Potatoes and Vodka.

RE

http://www.greanvillepost.com/2017/12/27/runaway-train-towards-full-digitization-of-money-and-labor/

Runaway Train Towards Full Digitization of Money and Labor
December 27, 2017 processing mats

HELP ENLIGHTEN YOUR FELLOWS. BE SURE TO PASS THIS ON. SURVIVAL DEPENDS ON IT.


The other day I was in a shopping mall looking for an ATM to get some cash. There was no ATM. A week ago, there was still a branch office of a local bank – no more, gone. A Starbucks will replace the space left empty by the bank. I asked around – there will be no more cash automats in this mall – and this pattern is repeated over and over throughout Switzerland and throughout western Europe. Cash machines gradually but ever so faster disappear, not only from shopping malls, also from street corners. Will Switzerland become the first country fully running on digital money?

This new cashless money model is progressively but brutally introduced to the Swiss and Europeans at large – as they are not told what’s really happening behind the scene. If anything, the populace is being told that paying will become much easier. You just swipe your card – and bingo. No more signatures, no more looking for cash machines – your bank account is directly charged for whatever small or large amount you are spending. And naturally and gradually a ‘small fee’ will be introduced by the banks. And you are powerless, as a cash alternative will have been wiped out.

The upwards limit of how much you may charge onto your bank account is mainly set by yourself, as long as it doesn’t exceed the banks tolerance. But the banks’ tolerance is generous. If you exceed your credit, the balance on your account quietly slides into the red and at the end of the month you pay a hefty interest; or interest on unpaid interest – and so on. And that even though interbank interest rates are at a historic low. The Swiss Central Bank’s interest to banks, for example, is even negative; one of the few central banks in the world with negative interest, others include Japan and Denmark.

When I talked recently to the manager of a Geneva bank, he said, it’s getting much worse. ‘We are already closing all bank tellers, and so are most of the other banks’. Which means staff layoffs – which of course makes it only selectively to the news. Bank employees and managers must pass an exam with the Swiss banking commission, for which they must study hundreds of extra hours within a few months to pass a test – usually planned for weekends, so as not to infringe on the banks’ business hours. You got two chances to pass. If you fail you are out, joining the ranks of the unemployed. The trend is similar throughout Europe. The manager didn’t reveal the topic and reason behind the ‘retraining’ – but it became obvious from the ensuing conversation that it had to do with the ‘cashless overtake’ of people by the banks. These are my words, but he, an insider, was as concerned as I, if not more.

Surveillance is everywhere. Now, not only our phone calls and e-mails are spied on, but our bank accounts are too. And what’s worse, with a cashless economy, our accounts are vulnerable to be invaded and robbed by the state, by thieves, by the police, by the tax authority, by any kind of authority – and, of course, by the very banks that have had your trust for all your life. Remember the ‘bail-in’, the infamous “hair-cut”, first tested in early 2013 in Cyprus? – Bail-ins will become common practice for any bank that has abused its greed for profit and would go belly-up, if there wouldn’t be all those deposits from customers. Even shareholders are not safe. This has been quietly decided some two years ago, both in the US and also by the non-elected white-collar mafia, the European Commission – EC.
If Switzerland accepts the change to digital money, a country where until relatively recently most people went to pay their monthly bills in cash to the nearest post office – then we, in the western world, are on a fast track to total enslavement by the financial institutions. It goes, of course, hand-in-hand with the rest of systematic and ever faster advancing oppression and robotization of the 99.9% by the 0.1%.

The point is, ‘banks über alles’ (“banks above everything”, following Hitler-Nazis’ battle cry “Deutschland Über Alles”). And which country would be better suited to introduce ‘cashless living’ than Switzerland, the epicenter – along with Wall Street – of international Zion-banking. Banks will call the shots in the future, on your personal economy and that of the state. They are globalized, following the same principles of deregulation worldwide. They are in collusion with globalized corporations. They will decide whether you eat or become enslaved. They are one of the tree major weapons of the 0.1 % to beat the 99.9% into submission. The other two at the service of the master hegemon’s Full Spectrum Dominance drive, are the war- and security industry and the ever more brazen propaganda lie-machine. Banking deregulation has become another little-propagated rule of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Countries who want to join WTO, must deregulate their banking sector, prying it open for the globalized money-sharks, the Zion-controlled banking conglomerates.

Retrenchment of personnel in the banking employment market is increasing. The news only selectively reports on it, when there are large amounts of jobs being eliminated. Statistics lie everywhere, in the EU as well as in Washington. – Why scare people? They will be scared enough, when they are offered jobs at salaries on which they can barely survive. That’s happening already. It used to be a tactic applied for developing countries: Keep them enslaved by debt and low pay, so they don’t have time and energy to take to the streets to protest – they have to look for food and work, whatever menial jobs they can get, to feed their families. It’s now hitting Europe, the West in general. Some countries way more than Switzerland.

Cashless trials are going on elsewhere, especially in Nordic countries, where selected department stores and supermarkets do no longer take cash. Another monstrous trial has been carried out in India a year ago, in the last quarter of 2016, where from one day to another 80% of the most popular money bills were eliminated, and could only be exchanged for new bills by banks and through bank accounts. And this in an almost pure cash country, where half the population has no bank account, and where remote rural areas have no banks. People were lied to so that the sudden introduction had maximum effect.

It caused massive famine and thousands of people died, as they had suddenly no acceptable cash to buy food – all instigated by the USAID Project ‘Catalyst’, in connivance with the Indian rulers and central bank. It was a trial. It was a disaster. If it works in India with 1.3 billion people, two thirds of whom live in rural areas and most of them have no bank account, the scam could be applied in any developing country – see also India – India, Death by Demonetization: “Financial Genocide”, The Crime of The Century http://www.globalresearch.ca/india-death-by-demonetization-financial-genocide-the-crime-of-the-century/5569859

What is going on in Switzerland is a trial with the high end of populations. How is the upper crust taking to such radical changes in our daily monetary routine? – So far not many protests have been noticed. There is a weak referendum being launched by a group of people who want the Swiss Central Bank be the only institution that can make money, like in the ‘olden days’. Though a very respectable idea, the referendum has no chance in today’s banking and debt-finance environment, where youth is being indoctrinated with the idea that swiping your card in front of an electronic eye is cool. Today, most money is debt-money, made by private banks, like elsewhere in Europe and the US. Worldwide banking deregulation, initiated by the Clinton Administration in the 1990s – today a rule for any member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) – has made this all possible.

Digitization and robotization is just beginning. Staffed check-out counters in supermarkets are disappearing; most of them are converted into automatic check-outs – and that happened within the last year. – Where have the employees gone? – I asked an attendant who helped the customers through the self-checkout. ‘They joined the ranks of unemployed’, she said with a sad face, having lost several of her colleagues. ‘It will hit me too, as soon as they don’t need me anymore to show the customers on how to auto-pay.’

Bitcoins

Digitization also includes the cryptocurrencies, the blockchain moneys floating around – of which the most famous one is Bitcoin. It brings digitization of money to an apex. The system is complex and seems to lend itself only to ‘experts’. Cryptocurrencies are fiat money, based on nothing, not even on gold. Cryptos are electronic, invisible and highly, but highly speculative, an invitation for gangsters and fraudsters. It looks as if cryptocurrencies were designed for crooks and speculators.

Bitcoin was allegedly invented by Satoshi Nakamoto which could be a pseudonym of a man or a group of people, suspected to live in the US. “Nakamoto’s” identity is believed to be commonwealth origin, due to the vocabulary used in his writings. One of his close associates is purportedly a Swiss coder, who is also an active member of the cryptocurrency community. He is said to have graphed the time stamp of each of Nakamoto’s more than 500 bitcoin forum posts. Such ‘forum posts’ exist in the thousands, worldwide. They form an elaborate network based on algorithms.

Bitcoin was formally created in January 2009 with a fix amount of 21 million ‘coins’, of which more than half are already in circulation, or ‘mined’ as the jargon goes, and 1 million, or about 4.75% (of the total) can be traced to Nakamoto. This, based on the current market value corresponds to close to US$15 billion. Today’s overall Bitcoin market cap is more than US$ 315 billion. The market is highly volatile. Drastic daily fluctuations are common, especially within the last 12 months. If one of the major Bitcoin holders, like Nakamoto, would capitalize his profit by selling a big portion of his holdings, the Bitcoin price would be in free fall, functioning pretty similar to the regular stock exchange.

On 24 August 2010, when Bitcoin was first traded, its value was US$ 0.06. On 26 December 2017, the coin was worth US$ 15,770, an increase of more than 250,000%. In the last twelve months, its value increased from about US$ 800 in December 2016 to a peak of close to US$ 20,000 in mid-December 2017, an increase of nearly 2,500 %. However, in the last 7 days, after several ups and downs, the price has dropped by about US$ 680, i.e. by more about 4%, and the trend – is uncertain. Perhaps a sign of quick profit-taking? This all shows how unstable this cryptocurrency is, apparently much more so than trading corporate shares on the stock market. And certainly not apt as a every-day currency base.

The number of cryptocurrencies available over the internet as of 27 November 2017 is above 1300 and growing. A new cryptocurrency can be created at any time and by anybody. By market capitalization, Bitcoin is presently the largest blockchain network (database network, storing data in different publicly verifiable places), followed by Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Ripple and Litecoin.

Bitcoin may be the next bubble, bringing down a parallel economy which has already its fingers clawing into our regular western economy. Cryptocurrencies are officially forbidden in Russia and China, though stopping cryptocurrency dealings by individuals is hardly possible. They do not touch the traditional banking system. That’s why major banks hate them. They circumvent the banking suckers, prevent them from making ever higher profits from horrendous commissions, against which the people at large are powerless.

Here is Bitcoin’s positive side. It escapes bank and state controls. If countries’ economies were run on Bitcoins or another cryptocurrency, they would escape US sanctions which function only because western currencies are foster-children of the US-dollar, hence, subject to the dollar hegemony; meaning all international transactions have to pass through a US bank. A typical case is ‘banking blockades’, when Washington decides to stop all international transactions of a country until it submits to the wishes of the empire. It is blackmail; totally illegal, but unless there is a monetary alternative, the (western) world is subject to this system.

Argentina is a case in point. Buenos Aires was forced by a New York judge in June 2014 to pay a New York based Vulture Fund US$1.6 billion, an illegal ruling according to a UN Resolution. Argentina refused to pay, so the judge, interfering in a sovereign nation, blocked more than US$500 million of Argentina’s debt payment to creditors, bringing the country to the brink of a second bankruptcy in 13 years. Eventually, neoliberal Macri negotiated a deal with the Vultures and made a payment in excess of US$ 400 million.

This US blackmail would not have been possible had Argentina been able to make its foreign transactions in Bitcoins or another cryptocurrency. Venezuela has created the “petro”, a hydrocarbon and gold based national cryptocurrency to escape dollar-caused inflation and for some of its foreign transactions, thereby also escaping the sanctions stranglehold of Washington. Had Greek and Cyprus citizens had a cryptocurrency alternative to the euro, they would not have been subject to the cash control imposed by the European Central Bank.

On the other hand, funding of terror organizations, like ISIS, cannot be disrupted, if the terror group deals in cryptocurrencies. – This shows, for good or for bad, Bitcoins, or cryptocurrencies are for now unique in resisting censure and blackmail, or any kind of authoritarian outside interference in electronic money transactions.

Cashless Living

If Switzerland accepts the change to digital money, a country where until relatively recently most people went to pay their monthly bills in cash to the nearest post office – then we, in the western world, are on a fast track to total enslavement by the financial institutions. It goes, of course, hand-in-hand with the rest of systematic and ever faster advancing oppression and robotization of the 99.9% by the 0.1%.

We are currently at cross-roads, where we still can either decide to follow the discourse of a new electronic monetary era, with ever less to say by “We, the People” about the product of our work, our money; or whether, We, the People, will resist a banking / finance system that has full control over our financial resources, and which can literally starve us into submission or death, if we don’t behave. In order to resist we need an alternative monetary system or monetary network, away from the dollar-euro hegemony – and cryptocurrencies, as structured today, are no alternative.

All the more important is the ascent of another economy, another payment and transfer scheme which already exists in the East, the Chinese International Payment System (CIPS), effectively a replacement of SWIFT, totally privately run and linked to the US-dollar and US banks. The world needs a multipolar currency system, based on the real economic output of a country or society, as is the case in China and Russia, not one based on fiat money as is the current western economy.

Will Switzerland, the stronghold of world finance, along with New York, London and Hong Kong, resist the temptation of increased profit, power and control, offered by digital money? – We, the People, have still the chance to decide either for continuing rotting in a fraud economy, based on wars and greed – for which digital money, exacerbated by cryptocurrencies, is a new tool for a new maximizing profit bonanza on the back of the common people; or do we opt for an honest future and for a life that leaves us free to take sovereign political and monetary decisions in a full cash society. For the latter we must wake up to see the propaganda fraud going on before our eyes, and to resist the robot and electronic money onslaught being unleashed on us.

About the Author

 Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a former World Bank staff and worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for Global Research, ICH, RT, Sputnik, PressTV, The 4th Media (China), TeleSUR, The Vineyard of The Saker Blog, and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe. He is also a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! – Essays from the Resistance.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2017, 12:43:11 AM by RE »
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Washington is behind India’s brutal experiment of abolishing most cash
« Reply #23 on: January 29, 2018, 01:36:34 AM »
http://norberthaering.de/en/home/27-german/news/745-washington-s-role-in-india#weiterlesen

A well-kept open secret: Washington is behind India’s brutal experiment of abolishing most cash
01 January 2017 |


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 reigned 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 at , which many people and businesses did not manage to do, due to long lines in front of banks. The amount of cash that banks were allowed to pay out to individual customers was severely restricted. Almost half the 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 catalytic effects, the published Beyond-Cash report 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 become clear that the whole of India should be the guinea pig  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 ominously named website http://cashlesscatalyst.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 and 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 (UNCDF) 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 MasterCard 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's 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 warriors 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 highly 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 Minister for Commerce and Law, 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 drive for "financial-inclusion”. 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 German 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 dollar 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 fine 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.

About this blog: This is the English-language section of a weblog, which is mostly in German. If I deem a subject particularly important for an international audience, I either write in English outright, or provide an English translation. There is an E-mail-newsletter that will inform you only of new English language entries. If you would like to subscribe, just click on "keep me informed" on the left. You can unsubscribe easily any time.

About the author: Dr. Norbert Haering is a German business journalist and blogger. His best-selling book on “Abolishing cash and the consequences” was published in 2016 by Bastei-Luebbe (in German).
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https://wolfstreet.com/2018/03/27/even-the-worlds-most-cashless-nation-doesnt-want-to-go-fully-cashless/

Even the World’s Most Cashless Nation Doesn’t Want to Go Fully Cashless
by Don Quijones • Mar 27, 2018 • 32 Comments   


It’s too risky and systematically excludes the most vulnerable people.
By Don Quijones, Spain, UK, & Mexico, editor at WOLF STREET.

There are small but growing signs that Europe’s “War on Cash” is not going exactly according to plan. First, a number of central bankers began voicing concerns about its potential ramifications. Now, even in Sweden, the first European country to enlist its own citizens as largely willing guinea pigs in an economic experiment — negative interest rates in a cashless society — public support is beginning to waver.

Initially, the plan was so successful that by 2017 the amount of cash in circulation had dropped to the lowest level since 1990 and was more than 40% below its 2007 peak, earning Sweden a reputation as the world’s “most cashless nation.” The declines in 2016 and 2017 were the biggest on record. An annual survey by Insight Intelligence found that in 2017, only 25% of Swedes paid in cash at least once a week, down from 63% just four years before; and 36% never used cash at all, or just pay with it once or twice a year.

But that doesn’t mean everyone is on board. In a recent survey, an overwhelming 68% of the respondents stated that they would not like to live in a fully cashless society. The survey, commissioned by Bankomat AB, an ATM chain company representing an alliance of Swedish banks that admittedly has a vested interest in preserving cash’s role as a means of payment, polled over 2,000 people aged 18-65.

Opinions differed markedly between age groups but in no single demographic was there a majority in favor of abolishing physical currency. Among the 18-29 year old respondents 56% declared that they still want to keep cash while 38% said they would welcome a cashless society. Among the survey’s oldest demographic, the 65-year-olds, 85% wanted to keep cash.
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Only one in four Swedish people support a fully cashless nation. The views on cash expressed in the survey varied sharply between inhabitants of small towns and those in large cities. The proportion of cash advocates was lowest in the country’s capital Stockholm, and highest in more rural areas such as Västmanland, Värmland and Kalmar counties.

The survey’s findings were published as the pace at which cash is vanishing in Sweden is even beginning to worry the same authorities that wanted to get rid of it. If physical money disappears too quickly, it could be difficult to maintain the infrastructure for handling cash, one Swedish official recently warned. And that may be enough to spark a crisis.

Most of the country’s bank branches have stopped handling cash altogether and many shops and restaurants now only accept plastic or mobile payments. As a result, many people who struggle to navigate the digital system, or who don’t have credit cards, in particular the elderly, are finding themselves increasingly locked out of the country’s payment system.

This trend underscores one of the oft-ignored benefits of physical cash: its universality. “The easy accessibility to cash, especially for the elderly, the socially vulnerable or minors, allows people to participate in society and, for example, allows children to learn how to handle money,” Yves Mersch, a member of the ECB’s executive board, said in a speech last month. “In particular, when socially vulnerable people use cash, they face none of the barriers involved in applying for a credit card or, despite all their efforts, opening a current account.”

Sweden’s parliament has launched a review on the impact of going cashless too quickly after fears that it dramatically excludes the financial needs of the elderly, children and tourists who rely on cash. A committee of Sweden’s central bank, the Riksbank, hopes to publish a report on the expected outcomes of a cashless Sweden by summer 2018.

The Riksbank is the world’s oldest central bank but it could become the first to issue its currency in electronic format, the e-kronor. “Three hundred and fifty years ago we replaced large copper coins with notes. Notes could now be replaced with electronic notes and coins,” the Riksbank governor, Stefan Ingves, told Sydsvenskan. The Riksbank could in principle release an electronic hundred kronor note, he said, but digital currency would not need to be divided the same way as physical notes:

    “We’re thinking about it. But if you’re releasing electronic money it can be divided in a different way than notes. We wouldn’t use an electronic 100 kronor note if we’re buying something for 98 kronor. Nor would we use two kronor in electronic change. It would work just as well with a 98 kronor note.”

But Ingves insisted that Sweden’s national electronic currency would not replace physical cash altogether as that would create a problem in times of crisis, adding: “If the power supply is cut it’s no longer possible to make electronic payments. For reasons based purely in preparedness we need notes and coins that work without electricity.”

In Puerto Rico electronic payment systems were down for weeks following Hurricane Maria last September, essentially turning the island into a cash-only economy. Corporate clients of the New York Federal Reserve made urgent requests for large amounts of dollars in cash to meet payrolls, and ultimately the Fed dispatched a jet loaded with an undisclosed amount of cash to the stricken island.

Perhaps having drawn a lesson from this experience, the governor of Sweden’s Riksbank is now considering forcing all of Sweden’s banks to continue providing cash to customers. “It’s reasonable for banks to be expected to handle money,” he said. “You should be able to deposit money in the form of notes. You should be able to take out money. A ban on cash goes against the public perception of what money is and what banks do.”

It’s yet another sign that perhaps Europe’s war on cash has reached the limits of its practicability — at least for now! Apparently, even the people of the world’s “most cashless nation” don’t want to go fully cashless. And most incredibly, the leader of its central bank appears to agree with them. By Don Quijones.

The War-on-Cash Backlash. Read…  Cash Refuses to Die, But the €500-Note Is a Goner
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💳 Visa Goes Down in the UK, Chaos Ensues, Cash is Suddenly King
« Reply #25 on: June 03, 2018, 02:47:16 AM »
https://wolfstreet.com/2018/06/02/visa-goes-down-in-the-uk-chaos-ensues-cash-is-suddenly-king/

Visa Goes Down in the UK, Chaos Ensues, Cash is Suddenly King


by Don Quijones • Jun 2, 2018 • 30 Comments   
War on Cash Suffers Setback.
By Don Quijones, Spain, UK, & Mexico, editor at WOLF STREET.

For over 12 hours on Friday, shopping centers in the UK and other parts of Europe were plunged into chaos as millions of consumers were unable to use their Visa debit or credit cards at points of sale. The credit card company, which was finally able to restore normal service early Saturday morning, said it had no reason to believe the hardware failure was due to “any unauthorized access or malicious event”.

While the mayhem caused by the outage may have been short lived, it served as a stark reminder of the risks, both for consumers and retailers, of depending purely on cashless payments. In the UK, the chaos unleashed was particularly acute since it is one of the world’s most cashless economies, pipped to the post only by Canada and Sweden, as a recent study by industry analysts reported.

In 2017, cards overtook cash for retail payments in UK for the first time ever, according to figures from the British Retail Consortium. According to Visa, payment processing through its systems accounts for a staggering £1 in every £3 of all retail spending in the UK. Which is why, when those systems stopped working yesterday, the chaos was greater in the UK than almost anywhere else as cashless customers missed trains, were unable to fill up their cars, pay for their groceries, or even clear their bar tab — this was Friday, after all!

“There is never a good time for the payments system to go down but a Friday afternoon, when there is a flood of people leaving work, must be among the worst,” one banking industry source said. The only way for people to pay for stuff was with co-branded Mastercard cards, or hard cold cash. Luckily, Visa cards were still working at ATMs, although the queues were considerably longer than normal.
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In a beautiful irony, Visa, a company whose stated mission is to “put cash out of business” as quickly as possible, had little choice but to urge its customers to withdraw and use physical bank notes for transactions until the technical issue was resolved. Without access to cash, the chaos caused by yesterday’s outage would have been immeasurably worse.

While the UK has happily embraced cashless living, with a resultant explosion in personal debt levels, in many other countries Visa has been dogged by the stubborn survival of cash and checks, despite widespread government and corporate efforts to kill them off. Globally, check and cash transactions totaled $17 trillion in 2016 — up 2% from a year earlier. To try to counter that trend, Visa rolled out a new US initiative in the summer of 2017 that offered to award 50 eligible retail businesses (online businesses are excluded) up to $10,000 each if they committed to refusing cash payments.

Visa is thinking of extending the initiative to its UK market, although it is roundly criticized by consumer groups, who say cash is still vital for many people. Serious questions have also been raised about the oft-touted financial benefits of going 100% cashless. According to a “study” that Visa recently “conducted,” if businesses in 100 U.S. cities “transitioned from cash to digital, those cities would stand to experience net benefits of $312 billion per year.”

It’s not hard to guess who would be the biggest beneficiary. Card fees, which are paid by merchants and usually passed on to customers via higher prices, normally range between 1% and 3%. Among the entities that get to divvy this moolah up are the bank that issued the visa card and the credit card network – such as Visa, MasterCard, Amex and the like. Visa gets just a small piece of the action, but if it is on every transaction, it adds up. In 2016 Visa extracted $15 billion from processing transactions globally without even carrying any credit risk (the banks have to deal with that).

Going completely cashless with risks, as consumers in Europe were just reminded: system outage. If the payment system goes down and all you have to pay with are cards or your mobile phone, you could suddenly find yourself quite literally cashless, as happened to many Puerto Ricans after the power outages in 2017, caused by Hurricane Maria, knocked out electronic transactions and ATMs for days or weeks on end.

It was a stark reminder of just how fragile and vulnerable a 100% cashless society would be — at least until a cashless system can be created that is 100% safe from the threats posed by natural disasters, accidents, cybercriminals, and basic human incompetence. And it’s why cash retains its crucial role in the payment universe, whatever Visa, driven by its desire for more profits and a larger market share, might want people to believe. Even some of Europe’s senior central bankers are now willing to publicly concede, printed banknotes should retain their place and their role in society as legal tender for a long time to come. By Don Quijones.

For a country to go cashless is too risky and systematically excludes the most vulnerable people. Read… Even the World’s Most Cashless Nation Doesn’t Want to Go Fully Cashless
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Offline azozeo

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WAR ON CASH THREAD - Oz Kills da' hundred
« Reply #26 on: June 15, 2018, 09:51:01 AM »
https://www.news.com.au/finance/economy/australian-economy/government-floats-100-note-removal/news-story/042220701a8310c39a1a87da4e20de35

I know exactly what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world.
You don’t know what it is but its there, like a splinter in your mind

Offline azozeo

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WAR ON CASH - No Shirt, No Swipe, No Service
« Reply #27 on: July 25, 2018, 11:30:05 AM »
Cash is a miracle. So why are more businesses refusing it?



For years, small businesses have asked customers to pay cash, set credit card minimums, or added a surcharge onto card transactions, in an effort to defray the premiums imposed by companies like Mastercard and Visa. Now, an increasing number of businesses are doing the opposite. Head out of Slate’s offices for lunch and you might wind up at Dos Toros, a local burrito minichain; for coffee you might pick Devoción, a Colombian-born coffeehouse with an airy storefront. In either case, you’d be confronted with the same demand: Pay with plastic.


https://slate.com/business/2018/07/cashless-stores-and-restaurants-are-on-the-rise-to-the-delight-of-credit-card-companies.html
I know exactly what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world.
You don’t know what it is but its there, like a splinter in your mind

Offline Eddie

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Re: WAR ON CASH - No Shirt, No Swipe, No Service
« Reply #28 on: July 25, 2018, 11:57:16 AM »
Cash is a miracle. So why are more businesses refusing it?



For years, small businesses have asked customers to pay cash, set credit card minimums, or added a surcharge onto card transactions, in an effort to defray the premiums imposed by companies like Mastercard and Visa. Now, an increasing number of businesses are doing the opposite. Head out of Slate’s offices for lunch and you might wind up at Dos Toros, a local burrito minichain; for coffee you might pick Devoción, a Colombian-born coffeehouse with an airy storefront. In either case, you’d be confronted with the same demand: Pay with plastic.


https://slate.com/business/2018/07/cashless-stores-and-restaurants-are-on-the-rise-to-the-delight-of-credit-card-companies.html

There are risks to using cash, IF you happen to be the business owner. Like in a bar, for instance. What  happens if there is one employee (the bartender) and his shift is 4pm to 12am.......

And......he decides to close his register at 10pm and pocket all the cash he collects between 10pm  and 12 midnight? That's why modern cash registers have a time and date recorded on the tape.

You can videotape employees who handle cash maybe. If you want to take the trouble.  Otherwise, you're depending on him/her to be honest and not steal, if you don't have a time stamp on each transaction.

Employees, sometimes even good ones, will steal if they're in a jam of some kind. Once they get away with it once, they're ruined. They'll do it again. Unless they get caught (and usually fired) it will always be a temptation.

If you have a retail business or a service business, and some clients pay their tab with large sums of cash....it's easy for the person handling the money to claim it was mis-counted. You have to make rules. Most cashiers get their pay docked if they're short.

But if they overcharge cash customers and pocket the difference, nobody knows, unless they're sloppy and/or some customer busts them for you. When that does happen, it's usually something that's been going on a LONG time.

You pay the credit card companies when your customers use plastic. Maybe as much as 3-4%. A lot. But it keeps your employees honest. If you're a big outfit, say Starbucks, you just raise your prices enough to cover the charges. If you're a mom & pop operation, you might not be able to.


And if you go cashless, the owner can't slide cash payments under the counter either, to avoid income tax.
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

Offline azozeo

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Re: WAR ON CASH THREAD
« Reply #29 on: July 25, 2018, 12:21:34 PM »
This whole system is about protection money.
Like I pointed out to Surly yesterday, "the shit's in everything" with Ben & Jerry's laced with monsanto puke.

You just can't get away from it unless you have the ability to walk out the back door & never ever look back. Few can do this !
I know exactly what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world.
You don’t know what it is but its there, like a splinter in your mind

 

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