by Shaun Bradley, The Anti Media:
Government campaigns of intimidation — like the wars on drugs, terror, and poverty — have been used to extort the public for decades. Despite the previous failures of institutional “wars,” a new war on cash is being waged that threatens freedom in a more subversive way than ever before.
Banks and governments around the world are cracking down on the use of paper money, and in turn, eliminating any anonymity left in the current system. Through strict rules on cash transactions and civil asset forfeiture laws, for example, the system has already instituted penalties for using cash. But as payments evolve into a purely digital network, the consequences of this new paradigm are being brought into the spotlight.
The ability to track, record, and mediate transactions of all individuals is a power dictators throughout history could have only dreamed of. Those who value privacy are turning to alternatives like cash, cryptocurrencies, and precious metals, but these directly threaten central bank dominance. This ongoing tug-of-war in financial innovation will determine whether we enter an age of individual empowerment or centralized enslavement.
As mundane as it may seem, the main reason for this push to go cashless is directly tied to what world central banks are doing to prop up their economies. The manipulation of interests rates to zero or even negative has left central banks no ammunition to fight off the next recession. Without the ability to cut interest rates even further, stimulating economic growth is nearly impossible.
The decisions made in response to the 2008 crisis have led to a perverted environment in which customers could be charged just for holding money in their accounts. As long as individuals have the ability to move their funds into paper currency and escape the losses, banks are still limited to how far they can push the envelope. Regardless, the federal government continues to pressure banks into issuing “Suspicious Activity Reports” for withdrawals of even as little as $5,000. That amount will undoubtedly decrease if and when more people resort to stuffing cash under their mattresses.
Kenneth Rogoff, the former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, noted in a recent paper how a cashless world would expand banks’ options:
In principle, cutting interest rates below zero ought to stimulate consumption and investment in the same way as normal monetary policy, by encouraging borrowing. Unfortunately, the existence of cash gums up the works. If you are a saver, you will simply withdraw your funds, turning them into cash, rather than watch them shrink too rapidly. Enormous sums might be withdrawn to avoid these losses, which could make it difficult for banks to make loans.”
Conditioning the public to believe privacy and mere possession of cash are criminal acts is key to the establishment’s push into this new digital model. The media’s focus on cash and Bitcoin being used to fund cartels, terrorism, and gang activity is just a smokescreen for the real agenda of complete control — especially considering the big banks have already been caught laundering money for cartels and terrorist groups. The disruptive role cryptocurrencies and precious metals will play in this grand scheme is yet to be seen, but for now, they’re the best competition to the fiat dollar hegemony.
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