While it is true that recent technological advances and changes in generational priorities mean that cash’s days are probably numbered anyway, there is a whole world of difference between a natural death and euthanasia. It is increasingly clear that a loose, albeit extremely powerful alliance of governments, central banks, big banks, credit card companies, and large corporations wants to pull the plug on cash, for their own distinct motives.
Central banks want to make NIRP an eternal reality and the only way of doing that is to stop depositors from cashing out. For credit card companies, cash is the ultimate rival. As such, it’s no surprise that the likes of Visa and MasterCard are among those pushing the hardest for a cashless economy. As for banks, the obvious attraction is the virtual elimination of the threat of bank runs. As Ellen Brown warns, the ultimate premise of Dodd-Frank was that there would be “no more taxpayer bailouts”:
Instead, insolvent systemically-risky banks were supposed to “bail in” (confiscate) the money of their creditors, including their depositors (the largest class of creditor of any bank). That could explain the push to go cashless. By quietly eliminating the possibility of cash withdrawals, the central bank can make sure the deposits are there to be grabbed when disaster strikes.
In most of the cashless schemes government is playing a key or even leading role. Besides being able to tax people and businesses with much greater efficiency, its two primary motives are power and control. What better way of controlling the people than by controlling their access to the money they need to survive? It would amount to what Martin Armstrong calls “totalitarian control over the economy.”
Naturally, none of these projects are being sold to the general public in such a dystopian light. Instead they are being framed as people-friendly initiatives aimed at making life easier, more convenient, safer and more efficient, while of course stopping drug pushers, terrorists (real or presumed), and all other bogeymen (excluding of course those in government or the financial sector) in their tracks. It’s as if all the world needs to become a better, healthier, nicer, less crime-infested place is the complete abolition of paper and metal forms of money. …
What conveniently gets lost in all the hype are the potential downsides of a cashless economy, which are legion. They include the complete loss of personal anonymity and control over your own finances; the very serious risk of identity fraud, especially when biometric measurements are introduced; the ease with which government authorities will be able to confiscate (and probably never return) our hard-earned money; the likelihood of new or increased fees as financial intermediaries proliferate; and perhaps most grievous of all, the danger that your government or financial institutions can cut you off altogether from the money you own and need to survive, just as happened with Wikileaks when it published the biggest leaks in journalistic history, in October 2010.
Just over a week ago, Apple CEO Tim Cook predicted the death of cash, while out promoting Apple Pay, when he told students at Trinity College, Dublin, that their children “will not know what cash is.” …
While Sweden and Denmark may be the two nations that are closest to banning cash outright, the most important testing ground for cashless economics is half a world away, in sub-Saharan Africa.
In many African countries, going cashless is not merely a matter of basic convenience (as it is in Scandinavia); it is a matter of basic survival. Less than 30% of the population have bank accounts, and even fewer have credit cards. But almost everyone has a mobile phone. Now, thanks to the massive surge in uptake of mobile communications as well as the huge numbers of unbanked citizens, Africa has become the perfect place for the world’s biggest social experiment with cashless living.
Western NGOs and GOs (Government Organizations) are working hand-in-hand with banks, telecom companies and local authorities to replace cash with mobile money alternatives. The organizations involved include Citi Group, Mastercard, VISA, Vodafone, USAID, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. …