This omnibus page is about documenting the global elite’s “War On Cash” (yes that is a bit over dramatic and click – baity, but we have to compete for attention,) which is not about making life better for the masses as we are told it is, but about enabling government agencies to increase their ability to extend surveillance of all our activities. One of the topic we have previously looked at several times is the rapid rise of Sweden’s cashless society, where a natuarally conformist mindset among the people has made them all too ready to accept that cashless was the progressive, liberal way forward and cooperate with the authoritarian left wing government’s demands for ever greater control over people’s money and private lives. The myth that digital is safer. combined with the ‘ease-of-use’ narrative has left many stores no longer accepting cash at all and even sparked anxiety among Swedish authorities that:
“If this development with cash disappearing happens too fast, it can be difficult to maintain the infrastructure” for handling cash.“
Last year, the amount of cash in circulation in Sweden dropped to the lowest level since 1990 and is more than 40 percent below its 2007 peak. The declines in 2016 and 2017 were the biggest on record.
But the pace at which cash is vanishing has authorities worried.
“One may get into a negative spiral which can threaten the cash infrastructure,” Mats Dillen, the head of the parliamentary review, said.
“It’s those types of issues we are looking more closely at.”
Riksbank Governor Stefan Ingves has said Sweden should consider forcing banks to provide cash to customers. It seems that a few people at least are waking up to how easy it is for tech – savvy crooks to steal or scam money form inexpert users of online systems. Surprisingly it is the left that are showing most convern, The Guardian reports, a small but growing number of Swedes anxious about their country’s rush to embrace a cash-free society.
While many large western nations have that nagging doubt in the back of their mind that government may not be all-virtuous, naive, gullible, brainwashed Swedes – until now – have not…
“The Swedish government is a rather nice one, we have been lucky enough to have mostly nice ones for the past 100 years,” says Christian Engström, a former MEP for the Pirate Party and an early opponent of the cashless economy.
“In other countries there is much more awareness that you cannot trust the government all the time. In Sweden it is hard to get people mobilised.”
…but there are signs this might be changing. Following discussions by the country’s central bank, concerns about a cash-free society have emerged into the mainstream, says Björn Eriksson, 72, a former national police commissioner and the leader of a group called the Cash Rebellion, or Kontantupproret.
The Guardian report continues, “until now, Kontantupproret has been dismissed as the voice of the elderly and the technologically backward, Eriksson says.”
“When you have a fully digital system you have no weapon to defend yourself if someone turns it off,” he says.
“If Putin invades Gotland [Sweden’s largest island] it will be enough for him to turn off the payments system. No other country would even think about taking these sorts of risks, they would demand some sort of analogue system.”
In this sense, Sweden is far from its famous concept of lagom – “just the right amount” – but instead is “100% extreme”, Eriksson says, by investing so much faith in the banks.
“This is a political question. We are leaving these decisions to four major banks who form a monopoly in Sweden.”
The best case scenario is that we are not as secure as we think, Mattias Skarec, 29, a digital security consultant, says – the worst is that IT infrastructure is systemically vulnerable.
“We are lucky that the people who know how to hack into them are on the good side, for now,” he says. “But we don’t know how things will progress. It’s not that easy to attack devices today, but maybe it will become easier to do so in the future.”
The Pirate Party – which made its name in Sweden for its opposition to state and private sector surveillance – welcomes a higher political profile for these issues, according to The Guardian. Look at Ireland, Christian Engström says, where abortion is illegal. It is much easier for authorities to identify Irish women who have had an abortion if the state can track all digital financial transactions, he says. And while Sweden’s government might be relatively benign, a quick look at Europe suggests there is no guarantee how things might develop in the future.
“If you have control of the servers belonging to Visa or MasterCard, you have control of Sweden,” Engström says.
“In the meantime, we will have to keep giving our money to the banks, and hope they don’t go bankrupt – or bananas.”
Bananas indeed. And there you have our reasons for having always opposed the idea that cashless is the way forward. Like most ‘progressive’ ideas the policy is politically motivated and has the aim of curtailing individual freedom and extending government control. Consider this: a few years ago, with Quantitative Easing (QE) having failed to lift the western economies out of the doldrums following the 2008 crisis, bankers, politicians and economists seriously discussed the idea of levying a charge on savings and deposits held by banks for individuals.
The result, in those nations most at risk, was a rush to withdraw savings. It was after that exercise the push to go cashless intensified. Why? Simples: if the banks hold all your wealth in digital form, you can’t withdraw it and stash it under the floorboards, in the mattress or buy jewellery and valuables to protect your wealth.