When someone mentions the word “War”, one generally thinks of the Vietnam War or the Iraq War or the Afghanistan War or whatever war in which the military-industrial complex of your generation decided to engage.
The senseless loss of blood and treasure of boots-on-the-ground battlefield war only seems to become apparent after the war is over. Then, cries of “never again” fade from the public consciousness when the next enemy is conjured up.
And then there are the metaphorical wars. Here again, the public seems to be blind to the abject failure and waste of the government’s attempts to fight these “wars” decade after decade with no workable solutions and no end in sight.
The solutions exist. The challenge is getting government sane enough to implement them. But that’s another story and I digress.
Take the War on Poverty. It was launched more than 50 years ago. Adjusted for inflation, we have spent $22 trillion dollars on the War on Poverty. But 50 years and $22 trillion has moved the poverty level to a microscopic 1% – it was 14.5% of the population in 1967, it is 13.5% today. (Read more: http://www.heritage.org/marriage-and-family/commentary/the-war-poverty-50-years-failure, https://talkpoverty.org/basics/)
Then, there is everybody’s favorite, the War on Drugs.
After 45 years, more than $1 trillion wasted and with the creation of the world’s largest prison system, America still lacks the politicalwill to change its failed drug policy. http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/why-america-cant- quit-the-drug-war-20160505
But there is one metaphorical war that is now being waged by governments and central bankers, that has met with growing success. This war is being fought in the financial press, with opinion leading economists, central bankers and throughout the global banking system.
It is The War on Cash.
Wait! A War on Cash?
A war on drugs, on poverty, on illiteracy – sure. Unsuccessful though they may be, they target areas of society that are ruinous in some way.
And what does a War on Cash mean?
It means that there is a growing effort to remove paper currency from national banking systems and replace it with digital currency. Your bank account would contain zeros and ones.
Benjamin, George Abe and Andy – would all be burned at stake (or in the ovens of the U.S. Treasury).
Euros, Yen, Pounds and Francs would go as well.
The control of a country’s citizens is part of a government’s DNA. Technology has now made this possible. What better way to track (and control) a citizen than through his or her bank account.
If there were no money outside of the banking system – no transactions or commerce of any kind in cash – then everything you spend money on, everything you bought and sold would be traceable by the bank and government computers tied to the banking system.
Not only traceable, but potentially controlled by the government.
You go to the vitamin store, get some supplements and are checking out. You give your debit card to the clerk, a timid, petal-cheeked young woman. She runs your card and then looks up at you. She’s embarrassed.
“Your card was rejected,” she says.
“There’s plenty of money in the account,” you say with just an edge of antagonism in your voice – antagonism at the bank, not petal cheeks.
“It’s not the amount,” she says. She turns her computer monitor around so you can see the screen.
It reads, “This customer is not permitted to buy 800 mg tablets of vitamin E. Under FDA guidelines, a person of his size is permitted to purchase tablets of 100 mg of vitamin E or less. Purchase denied.”
You and your wife are going to attend your oldest grandchild’s graduation from high school in Portland. You decide it would be nice to drive up from Los Angeles, so you can stop on the way to admire the magnificent California Redwoods. You pull into a gas station on the way home to fill up. Your purchase is rejected. You have exceeded your carbon allotment for the month. You have enough gas to drive to the Motel 6 down the highway, check in and spend a fitful night trying to figure out how to get home before the end of the month.
And then there is the matter of taxes. In its insatiable thirst for more income to maintain its power and privilege, governments are in a never-ending search for new tax revenue. It pays for the wars and welfare programs that keep them in power.
With access to everyone’s bank account governments can vote in tax increases and collect taxes with the click of a mouse – a large, unseen mouse.
There are other reasons behind the War on Cash, which I’ll cover below, but in case you think this is just some bizarre theory bouncing around the Internet – a conspiracy looking for an audience – take another look.
The attack on cash made its beachhead and fastest advance across the pond.
If there is a leading financial publication on the planet, it is London’s Financial Times.
Infowars.com summarizes a surprisingly frank, but anonymous article in the Times in 2015. The oft – quoted paper called for the elimination of cash as a “barbaric relic” and should be removed in order to give more power to governments and central banks.
Complaining that cash cannot be tracked and traced, the writer argues that its abolition would, “make life easier for a government, set on squeezing the informal economy out of existence.”
Abolishing cash would also give governments more power to lift taxes directly from people’s bank accounts, the author argues, noting how “Value added tax, for example, could be automatically levied — and reimbursed — in real time on transactions between liable bank accounts.”
A second salvo was fired by a former economist of the Bank of England, Jim Leaviss, who wrote an article for the London Telegraph in May of 2015 in which he promoted the idea of forcing everyone to have access only to electronic money so “authorities” could better manage recessions and economic booms.
We love you, Jimbo.
DNB, Norway’s biggest bank, issued a statement last year calling on the country to stop using cash. In fact, several Norwegian banks are not offering cash in their branch offices.
The oldest central bank in the world, Sweden’s Riksbank has launched a program exploring how to become the first entirely cashless country by 2020. They intend to replace the existing currency with the ekrona.
Riksbank. Sweden’s central bank
“The evolution should take around 24 months. After which, Swedes would have to phase out paper money becoming the first country in the world using exclusively electronic currency.” http://www.valuewalk.com/2016/12/war-cash-gains-fresh- impetus/
After the World Economic Forum in Davos last year, the CEO of Deutsche Bank, Germany’s largest and a leading voice in the global financial system called for the elimination of cash.
One of the key tactics of this war is for governments to eliminate the larger denomination banknotes or reduce the amount of cash anyone can use at any one time. This is a gradient approach to eliminating all currency.
To wit: the European Central Bank has recently announced that it would no longer issue the 500 Euro note, while French residents are now prohibited from making payments in cash of more than 1,000 Euros. The same is true for Italians, while Spain has prohibited cash transactions of more than 2,500 Euros.
ASIA AND THE SOUTH PACIFIC
South Korea, apparently in a race with Sweden to be the first cashless country on the planet, has announced that it intends to become cashless by 2020.
Singapore has eliminated its largest bank note.
Even the redoubtable Citibank has stopped accepting cash at some branches in Australia. And banking giant UBS (United Bank of Switzerland) called for the elimination of Australia’s $100 and $50 bills, saying that it would be good for the Australian economy and the country’s banks.
With the PR flanking of these mammoth banks, in December, the Australian government advanced the idea of eliminating their $100 bill.
But then, talk is cheap. In the most audacious assault on currency yet, on November 8th when all eyes were on the biggest upset in American political history, Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India was pulling off an upset of his own. He threw the entire India economy into chaos with the stroke of a pen.
The PM demonetized the 500 and 1,000 Rupee notes. Demonetized means that these bank notes – which just happen to represent 86% of all the Indian currency – were no longer money – they were no longer recognized as official Indian currency and had to be turned in for smaller bills. The 500 and 1,000 Rupee notes (worth about $7.50 and $15.00 respectively) became worthless overnight.
Dig it – overnight 86% of the currency was no longer legal money.
An instant deflation materialized (deflation occurs when the amount of money in circulation is less than the goods and services available to be purchased – prices naturally drop). Prices of consumer goods in India crashed, a barter trade sprang up and gold which was trading at $1281 an ounce elsewhere, soared to $2,000 an ounce in India.
“India was a testing ground. Such a dramatic change in a country on its way to catch up to already developed world tossed [the] Asian state into chaos. ATMs were cleaned off all cash in just 3 days since the decision; people still tried to get any money creating huge queues before banks’ entrances.”
The state of Louisiana’s Department of Motor Vehicles stuck its toe in the cashless waters when it banned payments in cash on November 1, 2016. Legislators and others screamed so loudly that they reversed the policy for most transactions in December, but the Department still refuses to accept cash for some services.
But at this point, the War on Cash in the U.S. is PR war. It is being led by big name economists spewing their economic psycho-babble across the pages of the financial press.
The chief hit man of the Benjamin is none other than Lawrence (Larry) Summers. Summers has the dubious credibility of being a Harvard Professor, having worked for the World Bank, and, as a protégé of the Darth Vaderish Robert Rubin, becoming the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, where, among other things, he helped kill that Glass Steagall Act. (Glass Steagall protected depositors in commercial banks from the predatory actions of investment banks). He also testified before Congress, helping to ensure that the derivatives market was left unregulated, thus creating the largest financial bubble in the history of the universe.
Summers is a Capo (short for caporegime) in the Global Financial
Summers wrote an article in the heralded CIA mouthpiece, the Washington Post, the title of which says it all:
“It’s time to kill the $100 bill”
There are other voices as well. Another member of the Global Financial Mafia, Kenneth Rogoff, like Summers, is a Harvard Professor. He was also the Chief Economist for the International Monetary Fund and on the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.
Willem Buiter is another one of the usual suspects. Buiter is currently the Chief Economist at Citibank having been on the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England and an advisor to Goldman Sachs International.
Both Rogoff and Buiter have independently called for abolishing cash entirely. But it is their joint appearance at a secret conference that is interesting.
According to economist, Martin Armstrong, would-be cash assassins Buiter and Rogoff attended and made presentations at a secret meeting in London on May 18, 2015, that included members of the Federal Bank, the European Central Bank as well as representatives of the Swiss and Danish Central Banks.
An interesting time sequence is that the article by the former Bank of England economist, Jim Leaviss referenced above, appeared just a few days before the “secret” meeting in London and the anti-cash activity detailed above occurred following that meeting.
Where is Wikileaks when you need them?
You don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to understand why governments want to digitize money – to control your spending, monitor your activities and have the ability to tax you at will. This is the path governments have taken in the digital age.
But what’s up with the boys in blue pinstripes and big bonuses? The bankers.
Why are the central banks (the U.S. Federal Reserve, the European Central, Bank of England, etc.) and several of the biggest business banks on the planet (Citibank, Deutsche Bank, UBS, NDB,) pushing the cashless agenda?
And herein lies the second piece of the puzzle.
Banks are slavering for negative interest rates. That means, you pay the bank to hold your money. (This is referred to as NIRP – Negative Interest Rate Policy).
Negative interest rates have hit the bond market in a major way in last year or so. (Investors pay the government to lend them money. That’s right. A person buys a $50,000 government bond, is paid no interest and is given $49,500 when the bond matures. There are currently in excess of $13 trillion in negative interest rate bonds globally.)
But NIRP (negative interest rate policy) has yet to take root in the banking system. Central banks are promoting the concept using the banker’s logic that if the banks charge depositors a fee for holding their money, the depositors will take the money out of the bank and spend it. And in this way, the banks will stimulate the economy.
These guys have the IQ of roadkill.
They pretend not to know that if you charge depositors for holding their money, they will take their money out of the bank and store it in a safe at home.
As negative interest rates in the Japanese bond market and deposit rates went to zero, the only increased spending that occurred was the skyrocketing sale of home safes.
In other words, if banks seek to charge depositors for holding their money, depositors will take the money out and store it at home.
What is a poor banker to do?
Ah… if money is digital, depositors will not be able to remove their cash and store it at home. Banks not only avoid having to pay interest on deposits, they will actually charge their customers for the privilege of holding their digits.
An added benefit is that digital money eliminates the banker’s never ending nightmare of a possible bank run.
“The advantages to banks are also clear. Not only can all transactions be charged a fee, but bank runs are eliminated. There can be no repeat of the queues outside Northern Rock nor of the Greek fiasco last summer, because there will be no ATMs, only a computer spreadsheet moving digital money around. The advantages to governments are also clear: all transactions can be taxed. Capital controls are implicit within the system.”
THE WAR ON CASH–FAKE NEWS
The PR message as to why cash should be eliminated is a well coordinated campaign.
It is repeated by governments and bankers planet wide again and again as if it is an accepted truth – something “Everybody knows.” It is the criminals who use large denomination bills. By eliminating large denominations or cash altogether, criminal activity will be compromised if not defeated entirely.
If you are walking around with any Benjamins in your pocket, you better keep them hidden as, according to this litany, it is only drug dealers, money launderers, extortionists, human traffickers and the 21st century’s all-time favorite pejorative, terrorists, who utilize the large notes.
“The conclave of the high priests of monetary policy almost invariably sings the same chorus: only criminals and terrorists use high denominations of cash.
Harvard Professor, and IMF and Federal Reserve home boy, Ken Rogoff, who we covered above, wrote a book entitled The Curse of Cash. “Rogoff, like most of his colleagues, contends that large bills like the $100 or 500 Euro are only used in ‘drug trade, extortion, bribes, human trafficking…’”
The following is a statement of India’s justification for severing the two largest notes of currency from the Indian monetary system. But virtually every bank and government pushing the cashless monetary agenda has pushed this same or a similar PR line.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8 had announced demonetization of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes making them invalid in a major assault on black money, fake currency and corruption.
But Simon Black of Sovereigman.com conducted some research that found the opposite to be true.
What a shock.
“It turns out that countries with higher denominations of cash actually have much lower crime rates, including rates of organized crime.” http://www.dnaindia.com/money/report-demonetization-modi-s-war-on-cash-pushes-indian-economy-into-contraction-2289241
His article goes on to document the countries with large denomination bank notes and their corresponding low crime rates (Quoted in U.S. dollars):
Switzerland has a $1,000 bank note and among lowest levels of organized crime in the world.
Japan has a $88 bank note and an extremely low crime rates.
United Arab Emirates, $272 bank note. Very low crime rate.
Singapore, $700 bank note and among lowest organized crime on the planet.
But those with low denomination notes have high crime rates and high organized crime activity.
Venezuela, Nigeria, Brazil, South Africa are all countries with active and prevalent organized crime, but each has a currency system wherein the largest bank note has a value of $30.
Looking strictly at corruption: the country of Georgia has extremely low levels of corruption. Their highest denomination note is worth $200. Whereas Malaysia is rife with corruption and has as its highest denomination an $11 note.
In short, there is an orchestrated campaign to position large denomination bills with crime and corruption. This is not only false, the reverse is true.
SOME SUGGESTED SOLUTIONS
The effort to turn the planet cashless is in full swing. It will happen. The only real question is the speed of conversion and specifically when it will get to the U.S.
Two governments have announced intentions to be cashless by 2020 and several others are either limiting the amount of cash that can be used at any one time and/or have eliminated their largest denomination bank notes or are attempting to do so.
As the cashless strategy provides governments with exquisite control of citizen behavior and banks with more income, I believe that this is a train that will not be derailed.
In considering things that should be done, I turn yet again to precious metals as one important action. I have long recommended precious metals for other reasons, but when money converts to government monitored zeros and ones, the value – and price – of precious metals will soar. Look at what happened in India when just the larger currency denominations were “demonetized” – gold soared.
Precious metals are currently on an uptrend. In my opinion, that trend will continue. Never straight up, mind you. There are always “shake outs” – temporary price declines to scare investors out – but the trend will continue upwards.
Precious metals, then are one anecdote to a cashless society, but are a sound investment as well.
Another action that I have recommended previously is to store some cash at home as a point of insurance in the case of a banking collapse or temporary “bank holiday.”
If banking turns cashless, there will not only be a certain cache to having cash; a “green market” will develop among a certain public that will trade in cash.
This presumes that the government simply demonetizes cash – removing its status as legal tender. If they actually outlaw cash making it a crime to have cash (a possibility), one is then violating the law to do so.
There may be, probably will be, some countries that resist the cashless parade. One could keep an eye on this. In addition, I will be following and commenting on this agenda here in The Hard Truth and on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin).
As just one example, the China, which is the second largest economy in the world, may not participate in the early years of cashlessness (is that a word?). In such a case, holding some Yuan might prove valuable. This isn’t a recommendation, just an example.
Beat them at their own game.
The market for Bitcoin continues to grow. If you aren’t familiar with BitCoin, we published a whole issue on it a few months ago. You can read it here, https://www.thehardtruthmag.com/all-issues/issue-no-14-2016/
Bitcoin is also a digital currency, but there is a critical difference between bitcoin and the Orwellian cashless world envisioned by the planet’s banks and governments — it is encrypted and there is no government or bank involved. Any transaction is simply between you and another person.
Bitcoin can be sent to, or received from, anywhere in the world instantly with the click of a mouse. It is accepted by 100,000 vendors planet-wide and the list is growing rapidly.
Bitcoin also has investment potential. I purchased some Bitcoin a few months ago when bitcoin was trading at $700. It is trading at $1277 as I write this – an 82% increase. That said, be aware that this is a volatile investment medium. Bitcoin is a commodity like gold and silver and the price fluctuates like any commodity.
But bitcoin (and other digital currencies – there are others, but bitcoin is the leading brand) offer one the opportunity to conduct trade and commerce privately – no banks involved, no big brother – just you and your zeros and ones to spend as you please.
In the final analysis, money represents production – products, goods, things that have some value.
Barter economies flourish when cash is debased. If one really wanted to diversify – to be well prepared and had the resources – buying productive farmland is a great step. Needless to say, this would take some serious due diligence if you are not familiar with farmland, but having an almond farm, apple orchard, orange grove, etc. that is operating viably can be a huge resource.
A farm – cattle, chickens, turkeys, pigs – offers similar advantages. Again, it would have to be viable and competent; responsible management would be critical.
If you can’t afford a farm of one kind or another on your own, consider getting together with a group of friends and buying one that is professionally managed.
In this category, I would include items that have traditionally held and in many cases increased their value in uncertain times. And, they have been items of exchange over many the years – centuries actually.
In each case, unless you deeply understood the market like a pro, one would have to have the advice of a trusted expert – one who knew the market inside out.
With such an expert at your side, Art, Stamps and Diamonds and other precious stones can not only prove to be magnificent investments, but can serve as items of exchange in lieu of money.
These are all potential solutions to a cashless society. And, truth be told, they are also good potential investments, cash or no cash and are things to consider to diversify your assets in any case.
A cashless society is coming. And to sound like a cliché, the only question is how fast.
Getting yourself diversified now, as above, if even on a gradient, will put you in a much stronger position when the banksters grab the greenbacks.
Keep Your Powder Dry.
John Truman Wolfe
March 6, 2017