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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Forever blowing bubbles, but bubbles always burst.

One by one the stock markets were crashing all over the world yesterday. What have I been telling you? The ‘economic recovery’ was never anything of the kind. Since before the 2008 crash, but at a more intense rate, the central banks, governments and commercial banks have been inflating bubbles within bubbles in an effort to maintain the illusion that they were in control. The truth is the recession that became a crash has turned into a depression as deep as the great depression of the twentieth century. Which is not what you wanted to hear before Christmas.

Unfortunately the monster the establishment created could not be controlled, it has to be fed or it will die of course and their monster grew so big it devoured everything. Printing money (Q E) has failed because it devalued everything, inflating asset values has failed because few in the developed nations can now afford to buy homes as increasing prices outstripped increases in earnings, bolting down interest rates to stupidly low levels failed because maxed out consumers could not take on more debt even at 3,4, or 5 per cent.

Yesterday saw world energy prices plunge, stock markets record massive sell-offs, credit begging to become an issue, record private, corporate and sovereign debt threaten the global financial system and rating agencies suddenly start downgrading everything from mining companies and extractive companies, via entire countries to the shirt on your back.

It was inevitable really, the case is that the west has pumped trillions of dollars into a system that was bloated with debt in the first place. As a result of enormous QE programmes that have almost universally rewarded only a few bankers and billionaires* while enormously increasing the burden on taxpayers. Almost every asset has had its value blown up so it can serve as collateral on more loans, the whole system has been so bloated it looked likely to burst for a long time.

Now there is no more money to throw on the bonfire, the Ponzi scheme is imploding. Control freak politicians and business leaders thought they could beat market forces by manipulating markets, in the end we have all ended up in hock to Uncle Rothschild.

Is this the big one or will “The Controllers” once more manage to stretch sticking plasters over the jagged stumps of severed limbs? Will We The People be fool enough to keep on consuming or are we about to enter a period of self imposed austerity which will snowball into a deflationary avalanche?

Things could appear to unravel much more quickly than in previous bust cycles. This is because they are already unravelling but corporate control of the media has presented bad news as good. The energy bust began 4 months ago and already prices have fallen 40%. We could see $50 a barrel soon. And, already we are seeing stock prices falling and rating agencies throwing downgrades around like confetti. Is that good? Only in the short term, we poor punters are never going to see a 40% reduction in our bills or the cost of filling the car and looking further ahead it means profits will drop, jobs will be lost and demand will dry up.

Housing markets will be hit too. Even the insane market in London, where a broom cupboard can sell for £250,000, property prices in some areas are starting to stutter. Property prices have for a long time underpinned the value of the currency but a correction is overdue.

Looking at the carnage around the world yesterday, all the major asset classes look likely to take more hits; energy, property, stocks, tech and bonds, and it is long overdue. A measure of how insane the global economy has become is that Uber, a taxi booking software service with no assets is valued at $40billion for its Stock Market launch. We are seeing a repeat of what happened just prior to the dot.com bust just 15 years ago.

Even commodities took a small hit yesterday so there really is nowhere to hide. Good thing I bought some acreage and have been practicing aiming a shotgun and saying “Get orf moi laaaaaaaaand.” We could be on the way back to feudalism.  Keynesians may now with to retire to their chamber with a bottle of Single Malt of Vintage brandy and a loaded revolver before I say ………………………..

I Told You So

Quantitative Easing involves insolvent governments issuing bonds and central banks buying them in, effectively the taxpayers are buying government debt. This is bad enough, but with base interest rates (the rates at which governments lend to banks) at zero or close to zero and bonds carrying a 3.1% (USA), 3.5% (UK) and up to 10% for basket case economies like Greece, all that happens is banks borrow from the government at 0.5% and lend the money straight back at 3%+. Nice work if you can get it.

Rumplestilskin needed by Federal Exchange

Last Week in The Daily Stirrer I wrote of Germany’ missing gold, that is the three hundred tons of gold Germany had on deposit in the vaults of the Federal Exchange in New York. Last year German asked for it’s gold to be returned. The Americans refused.

“OK then, at least let us see our gold,” the Germans said, not unresonably.

gold bullion
Gold: source australianmetals.gov.au

The Americans again refused and feigned outrage at Germany’s lack of trust. Rumours quickly spread that the American’s had used all Germany’s gold to pay interest on its debts to China (the Chinese stopped accepting American paper money a while ago)

The story of Germany’s missing gold now seems to be going global. The Financial Times writes today (see the story at Zero Hedge to avoid paywall):

QUOTE:
A year ago the Bundesbank announced that it intended to repatriate 700 tons of Germany’s gold from Paris and New York. Although a couple of jumbo jets could have managed the transatlantic removal, it made security sense to ship the load in smaller consignments. Just how small, and over how long, has only just become apparent.

Last month Jens Weidmann, Bundesbank president, admitted that just 37 tons had arrived in Frankfurt. The original timescale, to complete the transfer by 2020, was leisurely enough, but at this rate it would take 20 years for a simple operation. Well, perhaps not so simple. While he awaits delivery, Herr Weidmann is welcome to come and look through the bars in the Federal Reserve’s vaults, but the question is: whose bars are they?

In the “armchair farmer” fraud you are told: “Look, this is your pig, in the sty.” It works until everyone wants physical delivery of their pig, which is why Buba’s move last year caused such a stir. After all nobody knows whether there are really 260m ounces of gold in Fort Knox, because the US government won’t let auditors inside.

The delivery problem for the Fed is a different breed of pig. The gold market is far more than exchanging paper money for precious metal. Indeed the metal seems something of a sideshow. In June last year the average volume of gold cleared in London hit 29m ounces per day. The world’s mines are producing 90m ounces per year. The traded volume was many times the cleared volume.

The paper gold in the London Bullion Market takes the familiar forms that bankers have turned into profit machines: futures, options, leveraged trades, collateralised obligations, ETFs . . . a storm of exotic instruments, each of which is carefully logged, cross-checked and audited.

Or perhaps not. High-flying traders find such backroom work tedious, and prefer to let some drone do it, just as they did with those money-market instruments that fuelled the banking crisis. The drones will have full control of the paper trail, won’t they? There’s surely no chance that the Fed’s little delivery difficulty has anything to do with the cat’s-cradle of pledges based on the gold in its vaults?

John Hathaway suspects there is. He worries about all the paper (and pixels) linked to gold. He runs the Tocqueville gold fund (the clue is in the name) and doesn’t share the near-universal gloom of London’s gold analysts, who a year ago forecast an average $1700 for 2013. It is currently $1,260.

As has been remarked here before, forecasting the price is for mugs and bugs. But one day the ties that bind this pixelated gold may break, with potentially catastrophic results. So if you fancy gold at today’s depressed price, learn from Buba and demand delivery.

END QUOTE

Obviously The Fed needs a visit from the fairy tale character Rumplestiltskin who gold spin gold from straw. because they obviously ain’t go no gold in the vaults and with the debt ceiling about to be hit again, there’s no money to buy any.

It’s par for the course that those of us who reported this startling story on our blogs were dismissed as “Conspiracy Theorists” by the advocates of global government. They reasoned as always that governments, especially governments of the left, are as incapable of malfeasance as they are of financial mismanagement and that if the story had not been reported by the propaganda ministry mainstream media then there could be no substance in it.

Fools if you believe them.The fact is that with China and India hoarding gold, the shiny yellow stuff is on its way to once again becoming the de facto reserve currency. Hold on to your wedding rings, if the government get their hands on your gold all you are likely to get when you ask for it back is a bit of paper with the words “I promise to pay bearer on demand one bit of gold” printed on it.

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The Bonnie Banks O’ Scotland Can Be Found Elsewhere

Not so much having a break today as a change of scenery. I have stated before that one of my favourite poets is William Topaz McGonagall, reputedly the worst poet ever published in the English language.

McGonagall had not appreciation of rhytm or meter, no understanding of metaphor and little feeling for language. But he loved poetry and he loved Scotland. So as the financial crisis juggernaut rumbles on it was a good time to open up my little used comic verse blog and post:

The Bonnie Bonny Banks O’ Scotland in the style of William McGonagall.

Enjoy.

:Euro Laugh In As deal Falls Apart.

Every time I hear a news bulletin today or see a headline on the net that bloody irritating laughing song comes into my head…

HAHA HAHA HAHA HAHA HAHA HAHA HAA
HAHA HAHA HAHA HAHA HAHA HAHA HAA

New figures out today show the bigger bail out slush fund set at the summit will not be anywhere near enough to cover Italy’s debt …

HAHA HAHA HAHA HAHA HAHA HAHA HAA
HAHA HAHA HAHA HAHA HAHA HAHA HAA

The Chinese responded very coolly to suggestions that they should stump up money to save the Euro

HAHA HAHA HAHA HAHA HAHA HAHA HAA
HAHA HAHA HAHA HAHA HAHA HAHA HAA

The European Central Bank says Portugal has entered a Greek style debt vortex

HAHA HAHA HAHA HAHA HAHA HAHA HAA
HAHA HAHA HAHA HAHA HAHA HAHA HAA

Political tensions caused by the debt crisis are likely to wreck the Euro

HAHA HAHA HAHA HAHA HAHA HAHA HAA
HAHA HAHA HAHA HAHA HAHA HAHA HAA

I don’t know what I’m laughing at, my savings will be eaten up by inflation too …

HAHA HAHA HAHA HAHA HAHA HAHA HAA
HAHA HAHA HAHA HAHA HAHA HAHA HAA
HAHA HAHA HAHA HAHA HAHA HAHA HAA
HAHA HAHA HAHA HAHA HAHA HAHA HAA
HAHA HAHA HAHA HAHA HAHA HAHA HAA
HAHA HAHA HAHA HAHA HAHA HAHA HAA

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Interest Rate Cut Will Only Benefit Bankers

One morning over the weekend I expect Gordon Brown woke up to be hit in the face by a Tsunami of shock and horror that left him feeling nauseous and dizzy. The Prime Minister must have realised at some point that his interest rate cut, intended to boost the economy by encouraging banks to lend money they haven’t got to people who can’t repay their current debts, had no strings attached.

There is nothing to stop the bank borrowing money at 2% interest to repay the money they borrowed at 4% interest. Furthermore, the banks are not obliged to pass on the cut in rates, so while reducing their interest payments to 2% they can carry on charging between 11% and 150% or more to people who owe them money. The bankers simply trouser the inflated profits in the form of obscene bonuses.

The worry for Gordon is how can his spinners and slimers (Am I thinking of someone called Mandy? That’s for me to know) keep the punter from realising they have been stitched up. If they only had Cameron’s dimwits to worry about it would be a cinch, but there’s not much gets past Vince Cable.

While Gordon frets then it’s great news for the bankers who seldom look ahead beyond next month’s interim bonus. No Cava for them this week, the Dom Perignon will be flowing in the city again by the end of the week.

As far as you and me are concerned, if we don’t fancy washing down our Christmas dinner with Rola Cola, that famous supermarket drain cleaner Mum’s always claim is “the same stuff but half the price” we can always sip tap water, which in some areas had been recycled several times but at least has been passed by public health officers* before being piped to your home.

The other downside of the interest rate cut is that those of you who were thrifty and saved your spare pennies can no longer gloat that people who chose more speculative investments are cleaned out. With inflation past 4% and rising and interest likely to go below 1% the safest savings account holder is being cleaned out too, but more slowly and painfully.

The real winners are the silly buggers (I’m mentioning no names here) who enjoyed their money in the good times and now have lots of great memories help cope as they work out if it will break them to buy some own brand vodka and zap up the Rola Cola.

*Thanks to the Greenteeth Multi Media tired old jokes department for that one.

More humour every day at Boggart Blog