If The Banker’s Cartel And Silicon Valley Are Pushing Cashless Stores We Should Avoid Them

This story is part of CNET’s ongoing Follow the Money series, which looks at how digital cash is changing the way we save, shop and work.

When Philadelphia City Councilman Bill Greenlee heard that a coffee shop and a salad restaurant right near City Hall didn’t accept cash, he thought it sounded unfair.

“I can get my coffee and muffin, but the person behind me who has the monetary unit of the United States of America, that’s been accepted here in Philadelphia since Ben Franklin, can’t?” he said in an interview. “It just seemed wrong.”

So last October, Greenlee (who uses both card and cash) co-sponsored a bill requiring businesses to accept cash. In March, Mayor Jim Kenney signed it into law.

Cashless stores and events are just starting to crop up in the retail landscape with much hoopla — consider the splashy launches of Amazon Go stores —  but they’re already running into hurdles from legislators in cities and states around the country. These governments are concerned that what some see as technological innovation could actually widen societal gaps between those who have access to financial services and those who don’t.

This work could ensure we don’t end up with a future in which there are stores that lower-income people just can’t use. But this legislation may also prevent new cashless experiments from ever taking hold and help cash stay king for a long time.

 

Cash’s demise at the hands of cards, e-commerce and mobile payments has been heralded for decades as a faster and more secure way to pay for stuff. After all, you can’t lose a digital wallet the same way you can lose a real one. Yet cash is still the most frequently used form of payments (representing 30% of all transactions), particularly for smaller transactions (where it’s 55%), according to the Federal Reserve.

While you might opt to pay for a bottle of water with card instead of cash, there’s still a swath of the population that doesn’t have that choice. Roughly 8.4 million households in the US were considered “unbanked” in 2017, according to the FDIC. That means no one in those households had access to a checking or savings account.

Check out Boggart Blog and The Daily Stirrer’s omnibus page on the Cashless Society

Elites Losing The War On Cash? Sweden U-Turns On ‘Cashless Society’ Agenda

image: https://gsiexchange.com/

Sweden was until now proudly leading the advance in the War On Cash, the neo – Maoist ruling elite had pushed the idea that a cashless society, with all financial activity moved to electronic media would protect citizens from crime and be more convenient. There was no mention when the idea was pitched by politicians and bankers that in a cashless society we would completely surrender control of our money to banks, and our privacy in financial matters to government security agencies. Yes, every electronic financial transaction is recorded, your spending habits are tracked, and while disreputable organisations like Google, Facebook and Twitter will sell that information to anybody who can afford to pay, governments can use it against you in many other ways.

In a surprise turnaround Sweden’s Riksbank this weekend has  become the first central bank in the 21st century to take concrete measures to ensure that cash does not disappear as a means of payment from the financial system, in opposition to corporate efforts to force retail customers away from cash. To achieve that the Riksbank proposes, in a document published on its website, to mandate that all banks and financial institutions continue to offer cash services.

The policy initiative comes in response to a recent proposal suggestion by the Riksbank Committee that only the country’s six major banks should be obligated to continue offering cash services.

That prompted a reaction from Sweden’s competition watchdog, which argued that the plan would distort competition as it would affect only a few of the nation’s banks. In response, the Riksbank has opted to apply the rule to “all banks and other credit institutions that offer payment accounts.”

There was also a disagreement between the RiksbankCommittee (a political overseer,) and the central bank’s senior management over what deposit facilities should be offered. While the Committee recommended that banks should only be obliged to provide deposit facilities to businesses, the Riksbank believes it is important for banks to also offer deposit services to private citizens:

“This is a service that consumers can reasonably expect of credit institutions. There must also be symmetry between withdrawal and deposit facilities. In the Riksbank’s view, there is otherwise a risk that the possibilities for individuals to make deposits will decrease even further in the future. For most consumers, it would also be difficult to understand why they can withdraw cash from an account but not make deposits.”

For yearsnow, both the ultra progressive Swedish the government and the Riksbank management have been pushing for a “cashless society.” The Riksbank has over 1,000 articles posted on its website on the “cashless society“. The emphasis worked: between 2013 and 2017, the amount of cash in circulation dropped by 35%, earning Sweden a reputation as the world’s “most cashless nation”.

Many of Sweden’s bank branches had stopped handling cash altogether, but now will have to begin doing so again. Many of them are not happy about it arguing that access to cash should be the sole responsibility of the state and not private banks.

“To secure access to cash is a collective good that the state should reasonably be responsible for,” the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority said. It’s an opinion that’s shared by ATM provider Bankomat, which argued that it should be the state’s responsibility to ensure that citizens have access to cash since the handing of notes and coins is such an important — and expensive — part of a country’s infrastructure.

Shops and restaurants, could also be affected by a suggestion that retail operations which provide public services, such as pharmacies, transport services, food shops and petrol stations, should also “be included in an obligation to accept cash.”

One likely result of this is that many people who struggle to navigate the digital system, or who don’t have credit cards, in particular the elderly, no longer have to fear finding themselves locked out of the country’s payment system.’ There is also that section of society known as ‘the underclass – and yes Sweden does have them despite government efforts to present the nation as a socialist utopia in which things like poverty, crime, prostitution and begging are unknown. Sweden’s parliament has also launched a review on the impact of going cashless too quickly as it excludes the financial needs of the elderly, children and tourists who rely on cash.

It is a dramatic u-turn for a country that not so long ago was further along the path toward eliminating cash than just about any other advanced economy. Sweden enlisted its citizens as largely willing guinea pigs in an economic experiment that was doomed from the start — negative interest rates. People quick on the uptake will have worked out in such a system we, the punters pay the bank to gamble with our hard earned. But a negative interest rate policy (NIRP) has its limits with consumers as long as cash remains an alternative because while you have to pay for the privilege of having money in the bank, stuffing it in a matress or under the floorboards is free. And that is the true explanation of the eagerness to eliminate cash. It was not for our protection or our convenience, but to make stealing from us easier for banks, financial services companies and governments.

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The War On Cash Intensifies In Response To Trump and Brexit

Having discontinued its production of EUR500 banknotes, it appears Europe is charging towards the utopian dream of a cashless society. Just days after Davos’ elites discussed why the world needs to “get rid of currency,” the European Commission has introduced a proposal enforcing “restrictions on payments in cash.”

With Rogoff, Stiglitz, Summers et al. all calling for the end of cash – because only terrorists and drug-dealers need cash (nothing at all to do with totalitarian control over a nation’s wealth) – we are not surprised that this proposal from the European Commission (sanctuary of statism) would appear…

The Commission published on 2 February 2016 a Communication to the Council and the Parliament on an Action Plan to further step up the fight against the financing of terrorism (COM (2016) 50). The Action Plan builds on existing EU rules to adapt to new threats and aims at updating EU policies in line with international standards. In the context of the Commission’s action to extent the scope of the Regulation on the controls of cash entering or leaving the Community, reference is made to the appropriateness to explore the relevance of potential upper limits to cash payments.

The Action Plan states that “Payments in cash are widely used in the financing of terrorist activities… 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.”

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.

 

 

Potential restrictions to cash payments would be a mean to fight criminal activities entailing large payment transactions in cash by organised criminal networks. 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. 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.

 

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.

 

 

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. Any such proposal would also aim at harmonising restrictions across the Union, thus creating a level playing field for businesses and removing distortions of competition in the internal market. It would additionally foster the fight against money laundering, tax fraud and organised crime.

And then right at the end, they mention “fundamental rights”…

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. 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 recognised by the Union or the need to protect the rights and freedoms of others. The objectives of potential restrictions to cash payments could fit such description. It should also be observed that national restrictions to cash payments were never successfully challenged based on an infringement to fundamental rights.

To refer to the full proposal scroll to the bottom of this frame and click the VIEW ON SCRIBD link.

https://www.scribd.com/embeds/337702404/content?start_page=1&view_mode=scroll&access_key=key-iPD195p5mFmr8y9Q19qH&show_recommendations=true

* * *

It was inevitable of course that with the rise of anti – establishment feeling, the War On Cash, like the various assaults of free speech going on throughout the developed world would become more urgent. The UK vote to leave the EU and the election of Donald Trump in the USA have also made this moved this restriction on personal freedom higher up the elitist control freaks agenda. Below are a few points raised by SovereignMan’s Simon Black, who detailed previously that the war on cash is happening faster than we could have ever imagined, and predictably, is based on lies.

Every time we turn around, it seems, there’s another major assault in the War on Cash. India is the most notable recent example– the embarrassing debacle a few weeks ago in which the government, overnight, “demonetized” its two largest denominations of cash, leaving an entire nation in chaos. But there have been so many smaller examples.

 

In the US city of New Orleans, the local government decided earlier this month to stop accepting cash payments from drivers at the Office of Motor Vehicles. As I wrote to you recently, several branches of Citibank in Australia have stopped dealing in cash altogether. And former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers published an article last week stating that “nothing in the Indian experience gives us pause in recommending that no more large notes be created in the United States, Europe, and around the world.” In other words, despite the India chaos, Summers thinks we should still curtail the $100 bill.

 

The conclave of the high priests of monetary policy almost invariably sings the same chorus: only criminals and terrorists use high denominations of cash.  Ken Rogoff, Harvard professor and former official at the International Monetary Fund and Federal Reserve, recently published a book blatantly entitled The Curse of Cash. Ben Bernanke’s called it a “fascinating and important book”.

 

And, shockingly, a number of reviews on Amazon.com praise “brilliant” Rogoff’s “visionary concepts” in his “excellent book”. Rogoff, like most of his colleagues, contends that large bills like the $100 or 500 euro note are only used in “drug trade, extortion, bribes, human trafficking. . .” In fact they jokingly refer to the 500-euro note as the “Bin Laden” since it’s apparently only used by terrorists.

 

Give me a break. My team and I did some of research on this and found some rather interesting data.It turns out that countries with higher denominations of cash actually have much lower crime rates, including rates of organized crime.

 

The research was simple; we looked at the World Economic Forum’s competitive rankings that assesses countries’ levels of organized crime, as well as the direct business costs of dealing with crime and violence.

 

Switzerland, with its 1,000 Swiss franc note (roughly $1,000 USD) has among the lowest levels of organized crime in the world according to the WEF. Ditto for Singapore, which has a 1,000 Singapore dollar note (about $700 USD). Japan’s highest denomination of currency is 10,000 yen, worth $88 today. Yet Japan also has extremely low crime rates.  Same for the United Arab Emirates, whose highest denomination is the 1,000 dirham ($272). 

 

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.

 

Yesterday we wrote to you about Georgia, a small country on the Black Sea whose flat tax prompted tax compliance (and tax revenue) to soar. It’s considered one of the most efficient places to do business with very low levels of corruption. And yet the highest denomination note in Georgia is the 500 lari bill, worth about $200. That’s a lot of money in a country where the average wage is a few hundred dollars per month. Compare that to Malaysia or Uzbekistan, two countries where corruption abounds. Malaysia’s top cash note is 50 ringgit, worth about $11. And Uzbekistan’s 5,000 som is worth a paltry $1.57.

 

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

 

And they’re pumping out all sorts of propaganda to do it, trying to get people to equate crime and corruption with high denominations of 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.

Defend your personal liberty, insist on using cash whenever it is convenient for small transactions.

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Cashless Society Equals Cashless People

cashless society

The push towards a totally cashless society gathered pace in 2013. A cashless society in which there is a digital audit trail of every transaction is of course a fascist government’s wet dream (spot the fascists amongst us by making a not of those who brand anyone opposed to snooper – friendly technology as “technophobic and opposed to progress.”

What is technologically advanced or progressive about a cashless society? Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia and Maoist China all kept the mass of their populations short of cash, and were only prevented from going totall cashless because the technology was not available. Slave economies operate a kind of cashless system, i.e. “You want what? Wages? You’ll get a kick up the arse if you don’t get back to work.”

Medieval serfdom was almost a cashless society. So it is clearly demonstrated that the cashless society will only benefit the elitists. No wonder they tell us money is bourgeois and capitalist.

The modern cashless society, we are told, will be based on electronic money and the internet. Oh great, security is so tight and so reliable on the internet, our bank accounts will be easy pickings for thieves. And that’s even without Microsoft selling the secrets of the back door in Windows to the Mafia.

At this stage some science head will usually skip to the comments column to tell me about the wonders of encryption, the https secure socket and them rant on for ten thousand words about prime numbers. Wonderful – except the http socket is the last place anyone with a brain would try to hack. Haven’t these nerds read The Girl With A Dragon Tattoo? No, of course not, it’s too entertaining for them.

Anyway, if I wanted to grab random people’s bank details I would use a widget on a web page to install a key logger on their computer. This would log every keystroke and things like bank account numbers, passwords, security keys could easily be identified and stolen.

A lot of this kind of thing has been going on in the run up to the Christmas period it seems.

A spokesperson for a computer security consultancy reported:

“Computer systems have been compromised either at stores or in the companies handling the processing of card transactions. In other words, a company involved in the flow of payments has been hacked. It could be more than one company. The computer hacking has exposed everyone whose cards are going through those systems. The thieves are using the ATM card information in a way that does not require the PINs.

The way this kind of crime works is once the thieves have stolen a bunch of numbers from a company they print cards with their name on them and your billing information on the magnetic stripe. He said they rarely bother with printing up credit cards anymore. It is fairly small scale stuff, more of a cottage industry than a Dr. Evil type world domination scam, but organisers of the network reap big bucks by selling the gift cards at something like £2 per £10 face value. They clearly understand the old business question, “Is it better to have a penny a billion times or £1 million once.”

There has been a spate of cash machine hacking over the last 6 months focused mostly in the Midlands. According to police reports 3 separate professional gangs have been identified all of which originate from Romania (is there a political agenda behind the allegation? I don’t know).

The authorities warn us to be on guard against this kind of fraud but do nothing to prevent it and continue to push people towards electronic transactions and online banking. No more cash, no more below the radar deals and no more privacy. We all know this has been on the agenda for some point in the future.

It is not just the crooks we have to fear though, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, all the big players in online technology are known to have been playing fast and loose with our privacy and selling personal data they collect to anyone who can afford the price. They probably do credit checks but you can bet there are no ethics checks.

There will be plenty of cashless people in the cashless society as they find their electronic cash has been siphoned out of their electronic bank account because electronic technology has more holes than a colander.

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