As noted by Simon Black at Sovereign Man, the push for a cashless society is not just growing, it’s disturbing, and for a number of reasons. First, the obvious reason is the control it would give central banks and governments over their citizens; the second is that, in the event of a societal collapse or acyber attack on global finances, a person’s wealth would be wiped out with a few computer keystrokes.
Black noted in his Feb. 17 column:
The momentum to “ban cash”, and in particular high denomination notes like the 500 euro and $100 bills, is seriously picking up steam.
On Monday the European Central Bank President emphatically disclosed that he is strongly considering phasing out the 500 euro note.
Yesterday, former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers published an op-ed in the Washington Post about getting rid of the $100 bill.
Prominent economists and banks have joined the refrain and called for an end to cash in recent months.
The reasoning is almost always the same: cash is something that only criminals, terrorists, and tax cheats use.
‘Comical’Summers, in his op-ed, cites recent research from a Harvard University paper entitled,Making it Harder for the Bad Guys: The Case for Eliminating High Denomination Notes, which Black says generally sums up conventional central bank thinking these days. Among other things the paper recommends abolishing the 500 euro bill and the $100 bill.
The study’s authors say that “without being able to use high denomination notes, those engaged in illicit activities – the ‘bad guys’ of our title – would face higher costs and greater risks of detection.
“Eliminating high denomination notes would disrupt their ‘business models,'” the paper continued.
Black says he finds those conclusions “comical.”
“I can just imagine a bunch of bureaucrats and policy wonks sitting in a room pretending to know anything about criminal activity,” he wrote – which is very true; it does sound a bit incredulous that academics would presume to know much about the adaptive nature of criminal enterprises.
The fact is, as Black points out, there has been criminal activity since man first walked on earth. Indeed, crime began occurring long before humans devised and exchanged moneyfor goods and services. And if a monetary ban ever really takes place, crime will continue.
“Perhaps even more hilarious is that many of these bankrupt governments have become so desperate for economic growth that they now count illegal drug activity and prostitutionin their GDP calculations, both of which are typically transacted in cash,” Black wrote. “So, ironically, by banning cash these governments will end up reducing their own GDP figures.”
It’s all about controlBut isn’t something else really behind this push to eliminate cash? What’s the rush to ban something that is used for criminal purposes by a very tiny minority of people on the planet?
Cash, it seems, “is the Achilles’ Heel of the financial system,” says Black, whose company helps guide people into a life free from normal societal constraints, like poverty and an inability to be mobile.
Black notes that central banks around the world have managed to keep interest rates at zero or near zero for almost eight years now – which is unprecedented. All that has happened is that such policies have created massive financial bubbles as well as extraordinary amounts of debt. But the worst has yet to materialize.
Read Black’s entire column here.