Full Newspaper, Newspaper InDesign Template and Newspaper PDF Download
What was the last thing you bought? A stick of gum at the convenience store? A meal out at your favourite steakhouse? A new vacuum cleaner from the department store? A new car?
And how did you pay for that purchase? If you're like the majority of people, chances are you paid for it with a card or some form of electronic payment. Consumer card transactions surpassed cash payments for the first time in 2016 and—now that Apple Pay, Venmo and other forms of electronic payment are being used in more and more places—electronic payments are only becoming more and more common.
It's not hard to understand why. Cards and electronic payments are convenient, easy to use, relatively quick, and—according to a concerted propaganda campaign that's been underway for years now—a lot cleaner than that filthy, grubby, virus-laden cash.
If cash seems outdated and unnecessary to you, then you're in luck! The governments in country after country around the world agrees with you, and they're gradually removing cash from circulation and even outlawing certain types of cash transactions.
In 2016, Indian authorities demonetized all the 500 and 1,000 rupee notes in the country in an effort to get citizens to hand over their "black money," the term for undeclared cash that the Indian version of Uncle Sam (Uncle Samiti?) can't get his tax-seeking mitts on. The move was a smashing success for the likes of Bill Gates, who seeks to promote electronic payments in the "world's most cash-strapped nation." After the demonetization, mobile payment firms took off as Indians plugged in to the conventional banking system.
In 2019, the Australian government proposed a Currency Bill that would have banned cash transactions of over $10,000 and imposed a two-year jail sentence on anyone daring to engage in such a transaction. This crackdown, too, was proposed in the name of cracking down on tax evaders. It was only dropped after widespread public backlash . . . though at the time Aussies were warned: "don't be surprised if it's revived."
The European Union has been looking to clamp down on cash for years, with prominent EU politicians arguing for the end of the 500 euro banknote since at least 2016. They got their wish in 2019 when production of new 500 notes ended. But that's not enough for the EUreaucrats who are now seeking to criminalize all cash transactions over 5000 euros throughout the union.
Even the good ol' US of A (land of the free and home of the brave) has gotten in on the act. Did you know that back in 2011 Louisiana banned the use of cash in the sale of second-hand goods? The broken children's toy and the old 8-track cassette you picked up at the garage sale for a couple of quarters last weekend? That was a criminal transaction under House bill 195! Thankfully, though, the bill was amended in 2012 to stipulate that the law now applies only to second-hand copper. Despite that minor victory, the war on cash is just getting started in earnest in America.
It isn't by accident that anti-cash laws are sweeping the world of late. There is a concerted, coordinated effort underway to eliminate cash payments all around the globe. But why? Yes, tax authorities don't like cash because they leave the possibility for under-the-table transactions, but that isn't the whole story.
We get some more insight into this trend from the International Monetary Fund, which in 2019 revealed another reason for the push to end cash. In a blog post entitled "Cashing In: How to Make Negative Interest Rates Work," the IMF's explained that the central bankers' usual recipe for stimulating the economy during a downturn is to cut interest rates. But interest rates all around the world have already dropped to zero. Conventional wisdom holds that interest rates can't be cut below zero. Such a negative interest rate, as it's called, would be like your bank charging you for having money in your account. If it ever came to that, you'd just take your cash out of the bank and stuff those bills under the mattress, right?
As the IMF points out, however, people couldn't hoard cash if there's no cash to hoard:
“In a cashless world, there would be no lower bound on interest rates. A central bank could reduce the policy rate from, say, 2 percent to minus 4 percent to counter a severe recession. The interest rate cut would transmit to bank deposits, loans, and bonds. Without cash, depositors would have to pay the negative interest rate to keep their money with the bank, making consumption and investment more attractive. This would jolt lending, boost demand, and stimulate the economy.”
So now we start to see what the cashless agenda is really about. Its purpose is to give the central banks (and various other would-be "authorities") more control over the economy. And, if the central bankers get their way, they will soon have even more influence—namely, the power to determine what, where and how we can buy and sell anything at all.
At this very moment, central bank after central banks around the globe are engaged in studies of (or even trial runs of) "central bank digital currencies," or CBDCs. This new form of "money" will be issued not by the private banks (as the digital money in your bank account is under the current system), but by the central banks themselves. And, as Agustin Carstens—the executive director of the shadowy Bank for International Settlements—recently admitted, CBDCs will give central bankers unprecedented insight into and control over every single transaction in the economy:
“We don’t know who’s using a $100 bill today and we don’t know who’s using a 1,000 peso bill today. The key difference with the CBDC is the central bank will have absolute control on the rules and regulations that will determine the use of that expression of central bank liability, and also we will have the technology to enforce that.”
This is the new world that is coming into view. A world where every transaction is monitored, catalogued and databased in real time. If that prospect doesn't send shivers down your spine, it should. For such a world brings with it the potential for banks to track, monitor, and control our every financial move. If you have a hard time conceiving what such a world would look like, here's a handy video that the ACLU created way back in 2006 for you to start to understand the Big Brother implications of a cashless society:
By this point, we can see how such a vast surveillance system threatens our freedom to make our own financial decisions. But the problem seems overwhelming. How can the average person fight back in the war on cash? After all, when was the last time you sat down for an IMF roundtable or deliberated with the central bankers at a BIS meeting?
The good news is that we don't need some elaborate plan or high-level access to thwart this cashless agenda. The tools we need to preserve our economic independence are already in our wallets: it's cash. This isn't difficult to understand. If the bankers don't want us using cash, then cash is our weapon against their agenda of control.
The desire to push back is the impetus behind Cash Friday, a new campaign that is being spearheaded by Catherine Austin Fitts of Solari Investment Advisory Services. Use cash whenever you can, but make a special point of doing only cash transactions on Fridays. By simply committing to using cash every Friday, you not only find out what products and services in your area can be paid for in cash, but you also support and foster a local economy based on preserving cash transactions.
The same pushback motive is the impetus for Black Market Fridays, a campaign spearheaded by Ernest Hancock of FreedomsPhoenix.com. Again, the idea is simple: each Friday, commit to making purchases from freedom-oriented businesses in the genuinely free market. Barter, trade, use cryptocurrency, use cash, anything that keeps your transaction between you and the person you're transacting with. Why does Uncle Sam need to know about that 8-track cassette at the garage sale, anyway.
These ideas are remarkably simple. Admittedly, they won't change the world overnight. Still, they're a start. If we don't build out the economic infrastructure for an underground cash economy now, we might not have the luxury of doing so later. And, in the long run, a world where we can buy a stick of gum without the threat of Big Brother snooping on (or stopping) our purchase is a better world for everyone.
An award-winning investigative journalist, James Corbett has lectured on geopolitics at the University of Groningen's Studium Generale, and delivered presentations on open source journalism at The French Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation's fOSSa conference, at TedXGroningen and at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto.
He started The Corbett Report website in 2007 as an outlet for independent critical analysis of politics, society, history, and economics. Since then he has written, recorded and edited thousands of hours of audio and video media for the website, including a podcast and several regular online video series.