Governments want to take your cash away!
This became clear when I was made aware of certain events - described herein - two years ago. I am sure that the agenda has only intensified since, so consider this a last warning. Last because soon it will be too late to change anything!
As you know, most of the world's money only exists as an accounting position in a bank's computer system. This fact makes bank-runs (bank panics) like the one of 1929 a lot more likely, not less. Thankfully we haven't witnessed one in our lifetimes, but we came awfully close during the financial crisis of 2008. If you thought the crisis was bad, you haven't seen anything. Several very knowledgeable people have stated publicly, that they did withdraw as much cash as possible, at one point or another during the crisis. The problem is that, if everyone wants $100 from the bank, there simply isn't enough paper to dispense. The much touted "stress tests", supposed to ascertain the liquidity of banks, was little more than window dressing. Warren Buffett once said, that he (generally) doesn't invest in banks because their regulatory filings are so opaque, and so easily manipulated, that they are essentially not worth the paper they're printed on. I won't bore you with all the shenanigans that banks pull (perhaps another time), but it is scary to realize that our entire economic system - at least as far as "common mortals" are concerned - is in the hands of a few, and can be taken away at any moment. The EU's monetary union just made it a lot easier to do so: one currency, one central bank! If you've ever wondered, why monetary union was pushed through at all costs (still being paid by millions), and fiscal union was never seriously considered, you just stumbled upon a crucial factor.
While the convenience of cashless transactions is undeniable, cash has its virtues too. For once, the movies got it right: the greatest virtue of cash being it's almost complete anonymity. While not impossible, tracing cash transactions is, or at least can be, incredibly hard. Of course, that means the same for taxation. In a hypothetical economy, where everyone uses cash, and never deposits more money than he or she is willing to pay taxes on, we'd effectively decide ourselves how much to pay "Big Brother" in taxes (something the founding fathers of the USA were quite fond of). However you will need a place to store all that cash, and mattresses are the last place you should put it. Fear not, as the infamous safe deposit box comes to your rescue. Nobody, except yourself knows what's inside it, e.g. stacks of Swiss 1000.- Franc bills (worth slightly more than the US Dollar). It goes without saying, that governments around the world, are well aware of the situation, and haven't been sleeping too well lately. This is precisely why most central banks stopped printing high denomination bills, more or less recently. People had been instilled with a pervasive fear of forgeries, believing that anything higher than a 50 Euro bill was "risky" (when exactly the opposite is true, as forgers aren't idiots). As a result, the 500 Euro bill was rendered, in effect, useless, as you couldn't buy a single thing with it! Of course forgeries were just a pretext, but they sure as hell did put an end to the "problem".
Politicians, and powerful figures in finance, are trying to take away your right to anonymous cash transactions - inch by inch. Instead of focus groups, they have turned to experimenting on small nations, to see how far, and how quickly, they can advance their plans.
You need to be aware of the fact that, without warning, ATM's could "magically" dry up, making money withdrawals will be impossible. The only way to complete a commercial transaction will be through a credit card. In the near to medium term this will happen in countries or communities small - or otherwise considered such - enough not to be of (inter)national significance. Sadly, nowadays that is the state of affairs as far as the fourth estate is concerned.
As we speak, new laws against terrorism and money-laundering are being enacted. Regardless of where we stand on the issues, the resulting legislation will affect us all! Who knows, your area might be next in this series of experiments...
It doesn't take a genius to see a pattern here, governments want to know what happens when a community is stripped of cash. And apparently, there's no such thing as "too far". Last time, it may only have been a "few hundred thousand people", but what about the next time? You can bet the number of people affected will be in the millions!
More "exercises" like these are bound to come, bundled with lots and lots of legislation (secretly) intended to undermine the value and sanctity of your cash. That was the good news. The bad news is that they'll hide it in the small-print of some "innocuous" legislative package, leaving you as the proverbial bag-holder. As time passes, more and more such attacks on our freedoms will become apparent (because you can keep it hidden only so long). Be vigilant!
Sadly, Switzerland has joined this "movement" by reprinting bank bills long before anything (forged bills or breakage) makes it necessary. This forces their owner to exchange them for new bills, hence reporting his, previously unknown, wealth. If, given the above, you still think this is something of concern only to the super-rich, think again. These anecdotes are testament to a mentality: a world-wide mentality that gives new meaning to the term "Uncle Sam" and which fits right into the mentality described so well by George Orwell (in "1984" and other places). Although what I've described isn't the end of the world - and almost no one has noticed yet - it is a clear indication that this isn't going away unless we, the people, do something about it.
This policy is intended to eliminate anonymous transactions, and - more importantly - make it impossible to hide money: from the taxman or to avoid money, to avoid money laundering and to strip you of whatever's left of your privacy! None of this is a conspiracy theory: it is happening right under our noses, you just have to know where to look.
Unless you think all of this is a great idea - and are willing to endure the consequences, which include bank runs - we have to do whatever we can to stop this. Electronic money is a fact of life and won't go away, but the right to use cash will! Unless we act now, these policies will become so entrenched that fighting them will be pointless. They did a trial run to observe how people would react to a sudden disappearance of cash (fortunately, not well), in a country small enough to go unnoticed. Considering that outside of certain financial circles, no one ever hear of this gives you an idea of how formidable this challenge to our liberties is. We should use cash a lot more often than we have become used to doing, since it will make it much harder to eliminate it in the short to medium term (in the long term we will all be dead anyway).
But. at best, that will cause a stalemate. If we really want to win this war on freedom we have to embrace, and adopt, cryptocurrencies in one form or another. Bitcoin and the like are the future anyway (although we're still in the process of sorting out the chaff from the wheat). Well-designed cryptocurrencies completely take away control over our money from governments and their political bias. A cashless society is an encroachment on fundamental liberties and must be stopped independently of whatever justification is offered. The absence of cash doesn't only affect criminal activities like money laundering, but pretty much everything we do in society (the more you think about it, the more nightmare scenarios will come your way). I predict that this encroachment will be gradual, so that it can happen right under our complacent noses. But make no mistake: it is coming!
You won't find this fact on Wikipedia but, for a while, every U.S. state issued it's own currency, arguably, to fix the mess the Federal government had created. Although that exercise didn't go so well - but well enough to be omitted from most textbooks - today, technology has given us cryptocurrencies which are an elegant, and working (as in tried and tested) solution to the problems met by early currencies not backed by bullion! (If you were wondering, as far as elfetica is concerned, we will adopt cryptocurrencies as soon as we have an actual product to sell.)
As a former journalist, I should add that actual journalism - the way it was taught to me - is dead, so no one will report about this unless they get a press release from AP or Reuters (which we all know isn't going to happen). Newspapers deserve to be in crisis as they consist solely of said press releases - adapted to fit the local tone - and some, mostly self-serving, opinion pieces designed to suit whichever political party the paper is indebted to. But let's not forget the crossword puzzle, arguably the best part of today's newspapers. Yes, it is that bad.
Another whimsical anecdote: nowadays you can't even scan or print a banknote due to security features recognized by every brand of printer, scanner or image editing software (think Photoshop) on the market. Does anyone really think that this will deter those who have the ability to produce high quality fakes? Personally, I have a very hard time seeing a flood of inkjet forgeries crashing the monetary system of a country! While, supposedly, this measure is to deter fakes - which, for the record, are manufactured by organized crime, and will fool even experienced investigators - at least according to Interpol - what it really does, is to take away our ability to do whatever we want with our money. The image that accompanies this post was scanned by circumventing these measures (wanting to see how difficult it was) and I can assure you that it was no fun at all. More like a looping, never-ending nightmare. The people who are affected by this are those who would like to scan bank notes for their collection, not not nefarious criminals.
The point of this example is both fundamental - in that we've already lost control over what we can do with our property (don't let anyone fool you into thinking that cash isn't) and practical. This law has been on the books for a long time and yet, nobody even noticed. The intelligentsia deemed it Orwellian then and as now, but when people heard about it they either laughed in disbelief or expressed their strongly worded opinions. But now, it has become a fact of life. The single most important takeaway from all of this: it happened right under our noses, and people don't even know about it! This is the essence of Orwellian. This law was written long before inkjet printers had sufficiently high quality to be even a theoretical danger... do you hear the castle crashing down? Because that's how they sold it to the ignorant public. Even so, the subtext is that printers (which, by the way, are also "branded" by the government, lest we write something offensive) are too good to be given to untrustworthy individuals like us, the people. I consider that a grave offense against the dignity, and integrity of mankind, but since no one cares, it is confirmation that they can move forward with their plan to take away cash as we know it.
If you still don't believe that our money is in the hands of a few, who pursue the same goals - which does indeed sound a lot like a conspiracy - just think of the coordinated move away from the gold standard. It happened remarkably fast, for a time when governments weren't nearly as connected, or unified in their goals as they are now. After all, why would you give, us, the people people something valuable when you can get away with worthless paper? Bankers were literally laughing to the bank. If that wasn't bad enough, almost every government sold (most of) their gold bullion reserves to raise cash to cover up their deficits (and they are worse off for it today - just look at Britain).
There are many more examples like these, but I believe you get the gist of the matter. Details are relatively unimportant, the fact is that we, and our currency, are extremely vulnerable to political interests without oversight and if we, the people, don't even take notice. When or where will it ever stop?
Bitcoin (BTC) is one possible solution to this situation. Although there is a lot of - partly justified - skepticism surrounding bitcoin, cryptocurrencies are the best way to decouple financial policy from political interests once and forever. Governments may not like the idea, but they'll have to accept it sooner or later. If I were a betting man I'd say it'll be sooner rather than later. Cryptocurrencies have the same virtues as cash but none of the pitfalls: cybersecurity is their only weak spot which, unsurprisingly, has been blown out of proportion by mainstream media. What irks the powers that are, isn't Bitcoin's (non-existent, at least in its current form) anonymity but the fact that it is completely outside their control. No government, no central bank, or other (unelected) council can influence Bitcoin (and its peers) in any way. Even complete bans, as we've seen in some reactionary countries, can - at very best - diminish the commercial mining of bitcoin. Day to day transactions are unstoppable!
Whether it will be Bitcoin (BTC) or one of its many successors remains to be seen, and this isn't the place to discuss the topic. Suffice to say that it is very hard to imagine a future where Bitcoin (BTC) suddenly disappears from the scene, and personally, the day I have some liquid money, I'll be moving it into a Bitcoin (BTC) denominated wallet - stored locally on my computer. Worst case, Bitcoin (BTC) will become equivalent to gold, in the sense that it's impractical to trade it for actual goods, but everyone recognizes its value. Regardless of what happens to all the other cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin (BTC) has asserted its value! You know it, I know it, and governments sure as hell know it! A lot of people don't understand that its value is dictated by its (relative) scarcity, as well as the energy required to "mine" it - not pure fancy (the same goes for many other, but not all, cryptocurrencies).
The bottom line is that, unless we vehemently oppose ourselves to this new regime, a terrible future awaits us! If you've read my articles, you'll know that I'm usually not a "prophet of doom", but in this case only a "blind man" - or those without an eye for things financial - would fail to see the writing on the wall!
Take my advice, and use cash as much as you can, because you still can! After all, what do you have to lose? The more of us use cash, the harder it will be to take it away. And keep an eye out for any sort of political maneuvers, intended to undermine your right to do so. Make it known that you disagree with a cashless society, as it goes against the core of our freedoms (from the freedom of movement, to the freedom of assembly - an entire site should be dedicated to these matters). I hope the day never comes when I'll have to write an article about predicting this, or about which freedoms are being undermined - and how - by new laws suppressing the use of cash. Here, I'm giving everyone advance warning so that won't happen! If you're a little more adventurous, you should consider placing some of your cash into a cryptocurrency of your choice (the usual investment principles apply when doing so). Doing that, will go a long way toward undermining the totalitarian plans of Western governments to take away our cash! It goes without saying, that nothing and no one would be left untouched by such measures.
Please help us raise the awareness about this, very real, plan. Tell your friends that their freedom to use cash is being undermined at the highest levels, and that they think we won't notice. At least in the short to medium term, all we need to do is to spread the word and remain aware! As long as this agenda becomes a fact of public debate, their plans will evaporate as the sun shines on them. Stay sharp: they most definitely will try to slip such measures by you in any way they can! Recognize them as such, and react accordingly. Remember: sunlight is the best disinfectant!
Please - for all of us - use cash and cherish your right to do so. Oppose, and expose, any measures intended to curtail said right! (You are welcome to contact me
if you hear anything in your neck of the woods.)