from The Sleuth Journal:
Since its invention in Babylon around 4,000 years ago, money has changed from gold coins, to coins of lesser value; to paper notes/cheques, plastic cards, and finally, silicon chips. Within the next few decades, it is looking more and more likely that there will be no more hard cash (coins/notes) left. By this point, the notion of using physical money will be for many people a distant memory tinged with disbelief. “How did we ever manage something so clumsy and backward?” many will say.
We know people will say this because an increasing number of people are already saying similar things.
In January, 2016, John Cryan, Chief Executive of one of Europe’s biggest banks, Deutsche Bank, predicted that: “Cash, I think, in ten years time probably won’t (exist). There is no need for it, it is terribly inefficient and expensive.”
Most of the arguments for a cashless society sound sensible and logical, especially on first glance. People who argue against the ‘progress’ and ‘sense’ of this development have been accused of being backward, suspicious, or worse. In light of this, it is going to take considerable courage and character to refuse to conform to the inevitable process unfolding before our eyes. It is also going to take wisdom and discernment in order to disentangle the issues.
This article explores five ways in which people are being heavily conditioned to accept the cashless society, and it concludes with what we need to do in order to take a stand against this.
The use of violent and aggressive language consistently gives the impression that Cash is something we need to treat as an enemy, and thus kill or make war against.
The headline to one article reads: “One Swede Will Kill Cash Forever—Unless His Foe Saves It From Extinction.” The article features the story of Abba front man, Bjorn Ulvaeus, who became a key spokesperson for the cashless society after his son was robbed. Ulvaeus postulated that the chance of this happening would have been greatly reduced if paper money (exchanged for stolen items) did not exist.
It follows that if we argue against the cashless society we become a “foe” of the status quo, having aligned ourselves with criminals; or worse still, terrorists. This is not an exaggeration, as the following headline from The Guardian reveals: “Crime, terrorism and tax evasion – why banks are waging war on cash.”
Rhetoric used to drum up support for the cashless society also echoes the scaremongering and propaganda used to galvanise public support for military action. Another newspaper headline about Sweden, the global forerunner of the cashless society, exclaims: “Sweden wants to kill cash within 5 years, and it’s getting really close.”
Back in 2007, in an El Pais article titled “The Great Advantage of a Cashless World”, Guillermo de la Dehesa, a Spanish economist, former senior civil servant and international advisor to Banco Santander and Goldman Sachs, condemned cash as the source of all crime and wrong-doing. He stated: “Without cash, we would live in a much safer, less violent world with enhanced social cohesion, since the major incentive fuelling all illegal activity… would disappear.”
Can the public really be convinced that changing the “form” that money takes will bring an end to greed? Obviously illegal activity will continue, even if much of it has to do with devising ways to work around a cashless society. But a bigger threat looms in the form of criminal use of the power that banks and governments will receive if they gain a total monopoly on all of our transactions. The world will be forced to accept whatever terms, charges or exchange rates the system wishes to implement, since there will be no way to withdraw our wealth and hide it in a mattress like we used to be able to do in the “good old days”.
The strategy being used by cashless proponents (like Guillermo de la Dehesa) is to allow no room for middle ground. We are being instructed to make a clear decision about whose side we are on. According to their terms, if we continue to use paper money we are probably doing something bad: if we choose to go cashless, only then will we have a chance of being accepted as one of the “good guys.”
While cash is repeatedly accused of being the Enemy, its replacements are continually romanticised. Jack Dorsey, founder of mobile payments provider, Square, shared the following 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.”
Once again, we are given a picture which assumes the lack of cash inside a birthday card will make a payment into your bank account seem more romantic by default. The impersonal nature of cash is certainly not resolved by using an even more impersonal electronic transfer. And Dorsey raises another issue, which, in fact, robs cash of quite a nice characteristic, and that is the ability for us to donate something anonymously.
For many months, Barclays bank in the UK romanticised cashless alternatives by bombarding customers with the slogan: “Learn to love your PIN”. Another major bank, HSBC, lined the walls of airport corridors with posters featuring a picture of someone’s finger with a QR code tattoo on it. The accompanying (creepy) slogan decreed: “Your data will be your DNA… the future is full of opportunity.”
In addition to military and romantic rhetoric, competitive jargon has been used to give the impression that the end of cash is a goal toward which we are all striving. Headlines commonly refer to “the race to become the first cashless society.” By making it a “race” to be the first person, business, or country to achieve the various steps toward a cashless society, the public is being conditioned to think that “winning” this race is necessarily a good thing, in every way. No thought is given to whether or not the race is what everyone wants, or indeed whether the course may end at the top of a cliff.
Clearly, the trumpet has sounded for all nations to jump aboard the transition to a cashless economy as quickly as possible – like a black hole sucking everyone into alignment and submission. Between the lines of each type of rhetoric being formulated to usher in the cashless society is a clear warning: if you wish to keep your wealth, lifestyle and reputation you must conform.
The media tends to ignore arguments and concerns that people have about the impending cashless society until or unless they can come up with a strong argument to challenge the concern. The benefits are touted in an effort to convince us that there is no reason at all to be concerned about un-named dangers. The dangers themselves – in particular Christians teaching about the Mark of the Beast – are generally ignored altogether. In this way, the public is being steered to make a choice that appears to have no basis for any concern. Here is a line from one Fox News report: “There is no credible cause for concern about implanting these tiny microchips under your skin.”
The number of reasons being given in favour of a cashless society feel weighty. Arguments have included such things as simplifying banking, with no more need to mess around counting or looking for loose change; wiping out the drug trade and crippling terrorism; improving the efficiency of immigration and law enforcement; ending bribes; hindering tax evasion; and creating a safer, more “transparent society”, where everything is accounted for and “above board.”
Secondary reasons include such things as the environmental benefit of not using paper money, and increased hygiene in cases where paying for goods (like meat) with cash could potentially spread bacteria.
In developing countries, cashless payment systems, like M-Pesa, have opened up banking services to people who would not otherwise have access to them; enabling individuals to wire money back to family members in rural Africa, for example. Who would not wish to see poorer, less fortunate individuals benefit from opportunities like this?!
The younger generation – future voters and bread-winners – are being heavily primed. An increasing number of schools have incorporated biometric fingerprint scanners in daily lunch lines for kids, which reduce the need for personal identification numbers or cash. There is never a shortage of children agreeing to be interviewed saying this makes queuing up for lunch that much easier. One 14-year old stated: “As long as there is money in my account, I won’t have to worry about anything.” But is this true? Do children have nothing to worry about as they are being conditioned to accept a cashless society, on the basis of unthinking convenience?
Recent articles have even included arguments that buskers and homeless people will be aided by the creation of cashless “apps” enabling them to exchange electronic donations for items like food, thereby eradicating the problem of physical cash gifts being used for drugs or other illegal activities.
Clearly a lot of thought is being put into convincing us that every aspect of the cashless society is being considered, and that all the necessary “solutions” are being found. Arguments are, of course, consistently chosen for the express purpose of pushing through the cashless society. We are being conditioned to believe that this is in our best interests – the dawning of a “brave new world” of convenience, efficiency and transparency.
While there are benefits to going cashless, the pay-off is definitely not a ‘profitable’ one. We are being encouraged to sign away our freedoms and to exercise blind faith in policy-makers and institutions that will bail out banks at the drop of a hat, while watching people’s pensions disappear down the plug hole.
As Ellen Brown wrote in her article “The War on Savings: The Panama Papers, Bail-Ins, and the Push to Go Cashless”: “It’s all about knowing where the money is and who owns it, in order to tax it, regulate it, “sanction” it, or confiscate it.”
Understanding this deeper motivation, has led to several articles being written by people zeroing in on the issue of Negative Interest Rates and their relation to this push to go cashless at all costs. A negative interest rate allows the bank to charge interest on money kept in the bank. This naturally encourages people to withdraw their money. Without cash, people will be forced to keep their money in a bank and to pay the banks whatever they require. This separates people from their money while enabling the banks to reap enormous revenue streams.
Contrary to what the public is being led to believe, the real “winners” of the war on cash are not the vast majority of the public. The winners are those individuals who stand to significantly profit from it – mainly the banking cartels and those who support their policies.
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