The news I’m talking about was reported by media in May. Not a big thing at first glance, certainly not a thing to hit radar screen. But the devil is in the details. Some interesting events took place in Scandinavia. The Danish government proposed exempting certain shops from the obligation to accept cash payments in a move seen as pushing the country a step closer to a «cash-free» economy. Businesses such as clothing retailers, gas stations and restaurants will no longer be required to accept cash next year, the government of Denmark said on May 6. The move comes as part of a pre-election package of economic growth measures aimed at reducing costs and increasing productivity for businesses. Many stores in Sweden do not accept cash but only debit or credit cards. Now a buyer with full pockets of cash will leave a Swedish and Danish shop empty handed.
It’s no secret that in many countries cash is losing its role as means of payments. Cash accounts for only 10% of transactions in advanced countries, and 15% of deals in the states of developing world (1).
Banks and governments promote the process. In some states social activists advocate for the idea to cancel cash payments at all.
Those who want cash to become a thing of the past put forward the following arguments. They say the transfer to cashless payments will do away with many ills of society, for instance: drug trafficking, terrorism, slavery, corruption etc. Indeed, cash payments, or dirty money, allow criminals to hide their identity. That’s what «grey economy», or tax evasion, is based on. Cash is cumbersome to issue, make circulate and liquidate. It takes 1% of GDP to do all these things. Ecology suffers – toxic dioxin is produced while cash is burned. The absence of cash payments will benefit people. Their hands don’t touch bills infected by microbes, there is no risk of theft or robbery, people spend less time in shops – the list can go on…
Many countries of the West adopt laws to directly or indirectly squeeze cash out of circulation. They impose limits on cash payments. For instance, the sum one pays at a time in Spain and France cannot exceed 3000 euros. The French government says it plans to bring it down to 1000 euros like in Italy. All cash payments are government regulated. A citizen of France can spend no more than 3000 euros in cash during a week. One cannot take more than 10 thousand euros from bank account without attracting special attention of law enforcement agencies. A sum exceeding one thousand euros cannot be converted into a foreign currency. Such transactions are strictly regulated by government. This is the example of «monetary democracy» in the country that declared freedom a sacred value in 1789.
Banks make their contribution into the process. Some just refuse to take cash. Others establish high commission fees for money transfers. For instance, in April Chase, the largest bank in the U.S. and a subsidiary of JP Morgan Chase and Co., joined the war on cash. The new policy restricts borrowers from using cash to make payments on credit cards, mortgages, equity lines, and auto loans. Chase even goes as far as to prohibit the storage of cash in its safe deposit boxes. In a letter to its customers dated April 1, 2015 pertaining to its «Updated Safe Deposit Box Lease Agreement», one of the highlighted items reads: «You agree not to store any cash or coins other than those found to have a collectible value». Chase will store your gun, but no cash, please!
The process has encompassed public transport. A person willing to pay in cash for a bus ticket cannot do it anymore. The choice is purchasing a season ticket or sending an sms message to pay for a one way trip.
In Germany Peter Bofinger, a well-known economist, campaigns for abolition of cash. If cashless society becomes a reality, the markets for undeclared work and drugs could be dried out. In addition, central banks would find it easier to enforce their monetary policies. The idea of cashless society is very popular in Sweden. The cash abolition is believed to be a contribution into the success of fight against drug trafficking, crime, terrorism etc. Bjorn Ulvaeus, the leader of ABBA - the band that was a pop music legend in the 1970-1980s - is an ardent advocate of the idea. The author of the hit called Money, Money, Money announced two years ago that he started a fight against cash. Back then it was announced that there would be no cash tickets sold by ABBA museum in Stockholm. «Electronic cards and smartphones today, and, perhaps, they’ll invent something else tomorrow».
Lots of things are invented nowadays. Sweden is not lagging behind. This is the home country to the system of making payments by simply scanning one’s palm. An engineering student at Lund University in Sweden has made it happen - making his the first known company - Quixter - in the world to install the vein scanning technique in stores and coffee shops. He did not want to waste time standing in line.
The cash payments are becoming a rare thing in practically all countries. 80% of transactions in the United States are cash free and the market continues to get rid of paper money and coins. The UK Payments Council has recently stated that the number of cashless transactions will exceed the number of payments in cash. Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland lead the process. Plastic cards are not the cutting edge means of payments anymore. In Denmark every third Danish citizen uses a mobile payment system. The MobilePay app allows you to send and receive money via iPhone, Android and Windows Phone. The service is open for Danske Bank and non-Danske Bank customers. The user transfers the money by selecting the mobile number of the person who is to receive the money. In Sweden cash is used for only 3% of transactions (2). For comparison, this index is three times higher in Europe. Cash accounts for 7% of transactions in the United States. The champion is South Korea with 2% of cash transactions, according to World Payments Report. Swedes like to remember that their country invented bills. In 1661, the Sweden’s Stockholm Bank issued the first bank note to compensate for a shortage of silver coins. Now Sweden strives to be a European pioneer to ultimately abolish cash.
There is ground to believe that «the money holders» (bankers) provide incentives to expedite the process (while doing their best to conceal their activities). What do they need it for? Well, perhaps they pursue a number of goals.
First, since the 1970s active (credits) and passive (deposits) interest rates have been gradually going down. Minus interest rates appeared after the 2007-2009 crisis. The trend leaves people with no stimulus to keep money in banks. Cash becomes preferable. With 100% cashless transactions clients will never leave banks.
Second, cashless money comes out of thin air. The means of payments is the money issued by central banks. Clients use real money for deposits with bankers issuing a few units of currency (for every dollar, pound etc.), as credits. This is a large scale counterfeiting that has been taking place ever since the XIX century. It comes to surface only at the time of financial crises when clients rush in droves to demand their money back and banks happen to be in a bind. Text books on economy call it incomplete bank guarantees. The less cash is in circulation, the more wide opportunities exist for making profits out of thin air.
Third, the money holders (the world leading banks, first of all the shareholders of the US Federal Reserve System) believe that their prime goal is achieving absolute world power. The transfer to cashless transactions means the construction of global «concentration camp» supervised by bankers. All transactions will be monitored by electronic means. Cashless account holders will have their behavior and even thoughts under control. In case of «deviations» accounts will be blocked. In practice it will be a death sentence. The 100% cashless world will turn into a concentration camp with prisoners sent to the otherworld without gas chambers and executions.
The road to hell is paved with good intentions, they say. Let’s remember the 9/11. It was a well-prepared action staged by money holders to declare a total war against terrorists. Today even a blind man can see that the war against terror is used to justify the Washington’s efforts to destabilize the situation in different parts of the world, or, in other words, to implement the policy of managed chaos. The campaign for switching to cashless transactions is part of the game.
What I call the concept of banks’ concentration camp is not something new, there is no sensation. Rudolf Hilferding wrote about it a century ago. He was an Austrian-born Marxist economist, a politician and chief theoretician for the Social Democratic Party of Germany. Hilferding was the first to put forward the theory of organized capitalism, or «finance capital», or concentrated banking system. He welcomed this system of totalitarianism. Rudolf Hilferding believed that it would evolve the traditional capitalism into a system that would eliminate wars, crises and revolutions. The commercial banks will become institutions to carry out the functions of record keeping and accounting. This function is an imperative for running concentration camps.
John Coleman, former special services operative, continued to discuss the issue in his Committee 300 (first published in 1991). It tells about an all-powerful group answerable to no one but its members that knows no national boundaries, is above the laws of all countries. It actually controls every aspect of politics, religion, commerce and industry, banking, insurance, mining, the drug trade, the petroleum industry. Coleman is less optimistic than the Austrian socialist of the 20th century. According to Coleman, the elimination of «extra people» on the planet is a prime goal of money holders. The banks-run concentration camp may be a perfect instrument for accomplishing the mission.
That’s what came to my mind as I was reading the news about the recent «innovations» in Denmark and Sweden.
P.S. More news was reported as I had finished the article. Martin Armstrong reported on preparations of a secret meeting to get together the representatives of European Central Bank, the US Federal Reserve System and the central banks of Switzerland and Denmark is reporting on a secret meeting in London with the aim of getting rid of any economic privacy that remains by ending cash. Armstrong is known in the world of experts on economy and finances as a master of forecasts (he has predicted many crises, including the default in Russia of 1998). He is well informed about the trends in banking business.(3) World news agencies turn a blind eye and a deaf ear on the planned event being commented only by bloggers. (4)
The abolition of cash and switching to electronic transactions will top the agenda. It’s not the use of electronic technologies that is important, but rather the fact that there will be no anonymous deals. Armstrong even offers some details on the would-be event. As he put it, «I find it extremely perplexing that I have been the only one to report that there is a secret meeting in London where Kenneth Rogoff of Harvard University and Willem Butler the chief economist at Citigroup will address the central banks and advocate the elimination of all cash to bring to fruition the day when you cannot buy or sell anything without government approval». Armstrong called the meeting another step on the way to elimination of remaining freedoms and establishment of economic totalitarianism.