Who’s Powering the War on Cash?

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The Alliance is in place.

By Don Quijones, Spain & Mexico, editor at WOLF STREET.

On Monday in Japan, Apple CEO Tim Cook vented his spleen once more against physical currency, telling the Nikkei that “we don’t think the consumer particularly likes cash.”

It’s a bizarre conclusion to reach, especially in Japan where cash is still the undisputed king. At ¥90 trillion ($885 billion), or about a fifth of gross domestic product, the value of banknotes in circulation is the highest in the world as a proportion of the economy. Many small businesses, including many restaurants, don’t even take plastic. Yet, the country was also the first to popularize mobile wallets and smartphones.

“We would like to be a catalyst for taking cash out of the system,” Cook said, his mind fixed on Apple Pay, which takes a cut on every transaction it processes.

Yet Apple Pay isn’t generating substantial revenue for the company, as Fortune points out. The service — as with just about everything Apple ever produced — is only compatible with Apple’s own products, leaving the more than a billion people worldwide who use Android-based smartphones out of the loop. Not to mention the billions more who don’t use a smart phone at all.

But cash’s days are numbered, as technological advances and changes in generational priorities dampen its allure. The world is brimming with individuals and institutions determined to put it out of its misery.

The Usual Suspects

Top of the list are the world’s central banks, which have the perfect motive for whacking cash: i.e. to make negative interest rates an eternal — or at least, more enduring — reality. And the only way to do that is to stop depositors from cashing out, as the Bank of England chief economist Andrew Hadlaine all but admitted in 2014.

Japan and Europe are already deep into negative territory, and Fed Chair Janet Yellen has already said that the U.S. should be prepared for the same outcome. But as long as cash exists, there’s no way of preventing depositors from doing the logical thing – i.e. taking their money out of the bank and parking it where the erosive effects of NIRP can’t reach it.



Central banks are not the only ones who dream of a cash-free world. For credit card companies, cash is the ultimate rival. As such, it’s no surprise that the likes of Visa and MasterCard are among those pushing the hardest for a cashless economy. For banks, the benefits are no less obvious, including cost cuts, greater control over the flow of customer funds, and larger fees.

As for politicians, Eurocrats and global plutocrats, including the senior servants of the IMF, World Bank and United Nations, they will enjoy even greater access to and dominion over the people’s funds. What better way of controlling the people than by controlling their access to the money they need to survive? It would amount to what Martin Armstrong calls “totalitarian control over the economy.”

The Alliance

These powerful agents have already created a perfect platform for achieving their dream: The Better Than Cash Alliance (BTCA), a UN-hosted partnership of governments, companies and international organizations. Its purpose, in its own words, is “to accelerate the transition from cash to digital payments globally through excellence in advocacy, knowledge and services to members.”

The Better Than Cash Alliance’s membership list reads like a who’s who of some of the world’s most influential corporations and institutions. They include Coca Coca, Visa and Mastercard. Apple is, for now, conspicuously absent from the list, but in its place representing the tech industry is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Also on the list are the Citi Foundation, the US Agency for International Development (USAID), and the World Saving Banks Institute, which represents 7,000 retail and savings banks worldwide.

Member institutions range from powerful private foundations — including the Ford Foundation and the Clinton Development Initiative — to a bewildering alphabet soup of UN organizations, including WFP (the World Food Programme), UNFPA (the UN Population Fund), UNPD (the UN Development Program), IFAD (the International Fund for Agricultural Development) and UNCDF (the UN Capital Development Fund).

But it’s BTCA’s member governments that matter the most, for it is they who will ultimately be (and in some places already are) bending the laws and traditional practices of their lands to “accelerate the transition from cash to digital payments.” So far, 18 governments have joined the Alliance, all representing developing or emerging economies, including Uruguay, Colombia, Peru, Mexico, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Papua New Guineau, and Moldova.

The remaining seven — Liberia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Ghana, Benin and Malawi — are all in Africa, a region that is on the front line of the global war on cash. Thanks to the surge of mobile communications as well as the huge numbers of unbanked citizens, Africa has become the perfect place for the world’s biggest social experiment with cashless living. As Bill Gates himself wrote, once the system is well established, some of it will “trickle up” to developed countries.

Under Construction

The system of which Gates speaks is already under construction. In Africa’s most populous nation, Nigeria, the government has launched a Mastercard-branded biometric national ID card, which also doubles up as a payment card. The “service” provides Mastercard with direct access to over 170 million potential customers – and all their personal and biometric data.

For countries that are lagging behind, BTCA has just published a report mapping out the top ten ways governments and companies can create digital economies, including “developing a unique identification program”, “digitizing government payments and receipts”, and “implementing policies that incentivize and improve the convenience of digital payments.”

The transition to a 100% cashless society will not only enormously benefit BTCA’s members, it will also “drive inclusive growth, helping people lift themselves out of poverty,” says BTCA’s managing director, Ruth Goodwin-Groen. According to a new report by Mckinsley, digital finance could lead to a $3.7 trillion GDP boost by 2025, create 95 million new jobs across all sectors, and save $110 billion annually in “leakages” in emerging countries.

All of which sounds incredibly impressive, if it were actually true. In the BTCA’s version of the future, all that’s needed to transform developing economies into developed economies is to provide their poorest people with more banks and greater access to banks, while ridding them of the grey economy on which they depend. Once the downtrodden have unbridled access to digital transactions (and the iris, fingerprint and vein scans that will accompany them), empty bellies will automatically be filled.

The reality is a whole lot darker. The war on cash is being waged for the exclusive benefit of those who already wield an inordinate amount of power and control over the economy and the people that are struggling in it. And they want more. By slowly, quietly killing cash, they seek to seize the last remaining thing that offers people a small semblance of privacy, anonymity, and personal freedom in their increasingly controlled and surveyed lives. And the way things are going, they’ll get it. By Don Quijones, Raging Bull-Shit.

With only €4.8 billion in window-dressing to cover a growing €360 billion hole, Italy’s bank fiasco takes on new dimensions. Read…  Why Italy’s Banking Crisis is Spiraling to Heck.



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  96 comments for “Who’s Powering the War on Cash?

  1. NotSoSure
    October 19, 2016 at 10:45 pm

    Don’t worry, our criminal brethrens will eventually destroy the system such that people will again demand cash. Fight poison with poison.

    Of course there’s the transition period …

  2. Maximus Minimus
    October 19, 2016 at 10:53 pm

    I believe, the advent of the cashless society will be followed by a giant computer glitch after which you will find your bank account empty. It is faster than bleed your account through inflation. Who does not like efficiency?

    • Sadasivan
      October 20, 2016 at 10:45 am

      And the data relating to the accounts deleted or wiped out too!Thanks to wolfstreet,regarding BTCA.Good info.

  3. October 19, 2016 at 11:23 pm

    World Cash Days – where an increasing number of people around the world pledge to withdraw a nominal amount of cash from the system on each occasion.

    As cash is threatened so will the popularity of World Cash Days (about once each month) spread and grow.

    If they try to implement this cashless society they will find themselves losing control of everything.

    http://www.worldcashday.com

  4. October 19, 2016 at 11:33 pm

    The other thing about a cashless society is that an inevitable consequence of a so-called cashless society is that the concept of “bartering” will make a rapid return as people trade good for other goods as stores of value.

    Inevitable.

    • Maximus Minimus
      October 19, 2016 at 11:58 pm

      It reminds me that we had close brush with a cashless society in 2009. I keep my bets open that won’t have another one – an all barter society.

  5. Bookdoc
    October 19, 2016 at 11:36 pm

    I have a concern over the cashless society (puts on tinfoil hat). It’s the same as with self driving cars. It gives the government knowledge of and eventually control of your movement and spending as well as what you have. Just concerns me a bit. (takes off hat.)

  6. Tom Kauser
    October 19, 2016 at 11:49 pm

    Picking up pennies in front of a steamroller!
    The opportunities to enjoy the freedom of having money in your pocket will last infinity longer than the places you used to go to spend it?
    The only way any of us makes it out is to refuse to use money and not fight to keep money?
    NO CREDIT – deflation
    Superman would have to make a million trips back in time to slowly undo the damage being down by phony arguments about the need for more credit?

  7. Ptb
    October 20, 2016 at 12:25 am

    Cash is a form of freedom. Freedom of choice. The flow of digits can be much more easily controlled and thus be charged. The temptation to go after a taste of every transaction is just too much for them to resist. Both gov and corporate.
    I would think that forms of barter would become more common as that is the roll of money. The economic concept that bad money drives out good money would probably go into play.

    • Green Rock
      October 21, 2016 at 4:12 pm

      Any freedom for the people is a BAD thing!
      But, they really are just stealing from us….and they use any opportunity to rip off the working people. I don’t think they’ll succeed in ending cash. The real economy might disappear…which, despite their lust for control of all, will not work.
      Bring on the change….it’s over for them. The Federal Reserve is going to be history.

  8. d
    October 20, 2016 at 12:45 am

    This cashless thing, is as bad as the debt jubilee BS. Wont work and needs a global government to make any real attempt at making it work.

    The grasping dictatorial Eu ECB, and others will try undoubtedly.

    Then watch their own revenue department fold and take cash when people say sorry no electronic credit, card broken cant pay you. You will have to put me in jail.

    There will always be the small mints, producing guaranteed silver weights, in the shape of coins, with only the weight not the value on them.

    These things can be brought for electronic value, and the mints will buy silver from the miners who will need the electronic value to pay their electronic expenses.

    Then of course especially outside the citys there will be a lot more untaxed barter.

  9. MC
    October 20, 2016 at 2:03 am

    I find especially telling the Indian government is part of that sinister alliance.
    The Indian people have long been extremely wary if not downright suspicious of traditional banks, perhaps because of pervasive corruption, and have long preferred keeping at least part of their savings outside the system: for the wealthy this may mean buying stakes in foreign companies while for the poor this may mean having a few banknotes hidden behind a brick.
    The present Indian government, headed by Narendra Modi, has shown itself to be a huge friend of India’s banking system.
    Besides the well publicized initiatives against precious metals, in 2014 the government launched the PMJDY, a campaign aimed at having each household in India, no matter how poor, having at least one bank account.
    Several sweeteners were added, for example a free accident insurance for up to one lakh (about €1300), but the scheme wasn’t a complete success, as only 15 million bank accounts were opened out of the 75 (!!!) originally planned and, due to the possibility of having a zero balance without paying any expenses, several millions of these new bank accounts are empty and only used to have access to the aforementioned sweeteners.

    While the Modi government swears to anyone caring to listen all of this is done to “modernize” the country and to curb “tax evasion”, one has to wonder why PMJDY and similar initiatives were mostly aimed at the lower middle class and the rural masses and little is done about the so-called “Black Money”, which is really the preserve of large conglomerates.
    Which leads us back to the point of banning cash and waging a relentless war on savers.

    All these measures, such as making opening a bank account abroad economically unfeasible for the “small guy” or banning €500 bills, are clearly aimed at ordinary people. Large corporations and the extraordinarily wealthy can well afford to hire the people who know to exploit the loopholes inbuilt in the system to stash the bulk of their wealth abroad, defer tax payments etc. The rest of us cannot afford it and hence we are caught in what Lenin called “the twin millstones” of taxation and inflation.
    As it has been since money as we know it was invented, we try defending our wealth. This self-defense is criminalized and publicly condemned, while little is said and even less is done about the loopholes “left” in tax codes or the fact the “massive fines” slapped on large companies rarely, if ever, affect their operations and surely nobody ever goes to jail. As I like saying, if a small company had tried doing a fraction of what Deutsche Bank has done in the past five years alone, it would have been torn to ribbons in court.

    • d
      October 20, 2016 at 2:33 am

      The computer andteh internet were supposed to help the people improve their lives .

      what tehy are doing is helping the state with the aid of the financial industry, is enslave the people, and intrude into every facet of their lives.

    • Petunia
      October 20, 2016 at 10:36 am

      Regardless of the official policy of the Indian govt, India will not go cashless and the dowry system is the reason. Even though the payment of extravagant dowries is illegal, it goes on anyway, everywhere at every income level. Families start saving for a girl’s dowry at birth hoping to buy her the best husband money can buy. Because this is an illegal practice, the money cannot be maintained solely in the banking system. Often the money is invested in gold jewelry over time. But with consumerism being big in India, as well as elsewhere, cash is king too.

  10. Wizzy
    October 20, 2016 at 4:31 am

    To think that cash can’t be reached by NIRP is fallacy. History knows examples when negative rates _were_ applied towards cash. And it’s easy to do technically.
    For example, notes, issued in 2016 and prior, shall be accepted by banks at their face value throughout 2016. In 2017 they are only accepted if bearing special stamp on them. Stamp reduces face value of a note by, say, 5%. You can get your cash stamped at your local bank, partner of government sponsored Stamp Inc.
    Next year – another stamp, another 5% of loss. Of course, unstamped bills will remain in circulation, but guess what – they are gonna be accepted with discount. Problem solved.
    Cash under the mattresses won’t stay in the way of NIRP. For those determined to take additional control over citizenry it’s a minor inconvenience, not a major obstacle.

    • d
      October 20, 2016 at 10:53 pm

      When they do that.

      if they dont get huge public unrest.

      People will buy metal’s, Green Stone/Jade,Aber, or whatever is the medium, in their zone.

      Interestingly enough.

      The chinese demand for: Green Stone/Jade, and high grade Kauri Gum/Amber, has increased massively of late.

      Which tells me I am not out field as they have always highly valued both of those substances.

      Another indicator that those in china, who can diversify, are.

  11. Frederick
    October 20, 2016 at 5:58 am

    The answer is simple Gold and Silver

    • d
      October 24, 2016 at 4:25 am

      Gold and “The war on Cash (AKA Worthless Fiat Toilet Paper)”

      Since America left the gold standard. The selling price (Note I say selling price) of gold has been artificially inflated, to level’s that make it untenable for the smaller people to buy it, and use it as money. Before you even consider how wildly the selling price fluctuates. And the little peoples low tolerance, for such fluctuation’s.

      What physical gold I do have, was brought by forefathers, before and as Nixon went off the standard.

      The gold selling price, has been financially untenable for me to add to that Physical cache since then.

      All this talk (FUD Sowing) of a cashless society, again pushes the selling price of gold up, and again the numbers for holdings by various states, Bank’s, and Central Bank’s, are adjusted upward accordingly.

      They call gold, at this inflated selling price, an asset, with that selling price, its value. PAH.

      That’s like saying the value of the $3 m apartment you brought in Vancouver today. Is $3 m, and will not only hold, but also fully return its $3 m value to you, as a seller. Tomorrow.

      To get your $3 m back tomorrow, you would need to sell it for over $3.5 m, to come close.

      Question.

      Is this FUD being sown by many of the “Player’s” in the cashless society debate, not only about raising the selling price of gold, also about keeping the gold selling price, out of reach of the little people.

      So they have no choice but “Worthless Fiat Toilet Paper”, electronic system’s, or time consuming barter with those who will barter.

      Most people selling in “Barter”, are hard to get a good deal from.

      Safe assets, in difficult times?

      Would investment in private silver mints, producing guaranteed bars and round’s, be a good/safe capital haven?

      Would a local outlet for one of them be a good business investment.

      A lot of people do not like having that stuff shipped Nationally, let alone Internationally, or paying the expensive freight for it.

      But they will walk into an outlet, and buy it in smaller quantity’s, as the mood/purse takes them.

      .

  12. Marcia
    October 20, 2016 at 7:45 am

    I’m curious about how electronic transactions will occur in massive power outages. Having been caught up in one that lasted several days, only cash was taken in exchange for food and gas.

    • October 20, 2016 at 7:50 am

      Yes, I’m curious too….

      • unit472
        October 20, 2016 at 9:17 am

        That power outages are localized and not global ( so far) this actually seems to work in favor of ‘cashless’ transactions via smart phone. One can now send money to anyone with a facebook account. No charge for the service so good-bye Western Union. The only hickup is being able to subdivide the transfer to make payment at a grocery store or gas station. That is, I send you $100 via facebook and then you would have to send $25 of that to the gas station facebook account to buy gas.

        I’m not in favor of banning cash but if a hurricane or earthquake knocks out power to YOUR bank being able to get ‘money’ via your phone might be a lifesaver.

        • Petunia
          October 20, 2016 at 9:38 am

          In the Baton Rouge flood a couple of months ago, the power went out in most of the city, and AT&T was out as well. You couldn’t use an AT&T phone or get cash if your bank atms were in the flooded blacked out areas. It took three days to start getting the power back and longer to get the AT&T service back. Verizon was not affected in the area and stayed up.

          The local Cosco was the only place not blacked out where you could get food and supplies. Cosco was gracious enough to allow anybody to shop there during the crisis, not just members. You can expect the Cosco stock to reflect that because the entire city of Baton Rouge was shopping there for at least a week.

          Everywhere else, and there weren’t many places you needed cash. BTW, all the pawn shops and gold dealers were also closed for days and longer.

        • October 20, 2016 at 9:43 am

          If there’s a blackout (larger than just your neighborhood), the wireless phone system and all wifi hotspots will go down too because none of the equipment will work. Your phone might still light up, but you might not be able to connect.

        • d
          October 20, 2016 at 11:07 pm

          Do the US Phone Towers/Relay’s not have solar and battery backups that will keep them up at least in daylight an early evening till the battery’s go flat.

          Most of our do that’s how we operate them in regions with no grid supply.

      • d
        October 20, 2016 at 10:56 pm

        I am not Curious.

        I am more than a little Apprehensive.

        As I have seen it.

        It involves sharp and Pointy things, in the possession of nasty aggressive people, demanding the weaker ones.

        GIVE, NOW.

    • Intosh
      October 21, 2016 at 12:21 pm

      What a coincidence. Talking about a massive outage, one just occured today, taking down some of the major services, such as Twitter, Shopify and Paypal. It was caused by a DDoS apparently.

  13. Kevin Beck
    October 20, 2016 at 8:07 am

    There is only one condition that would make me consider going against physical cash, and that is that there is no connection whatever to any government intervention. Which would be a complete repudiation of government-sponsored banks. In other words: Go back to when money was actually an asset of the depositor, instead of a liability of the bank. But that would require something physical backing the currency units, instead of just a government promise. But since I know that will never happen, I know that the smallest possible amount of my funds will be connected to a bank account.

    But that’s just me. I know that the gold and silver I hold is something that no government can debase.

    • Robert
      October 20, 2016 at 1:00 pm

      Things will not change until people summon the courage to demand their rights. The central bank gold reserves, which people, purely through lack of being informed, think are their nation’s when in fact they belong to the private central banks, could demand that all central bank gold be liquidated and made into the laser-etched security strip in currency- a real security as opposed to Mylar. Talk about simplicity. But weaving unbelievably tangled webs (and, as Wolf so aptly points out, taking a little nip out of every single G-d transaction) is the M.O. of the all-seeing, and not just a little sadistic powers that be.

    • Pow
      October 21, 2016 at 11:32 am

      Metals are based and debased daily.

  14. Islander
    October 20, 2016 at 8:15 am

    A cash less society would be a nightmare. For example, here’s one black swan scenario I haven’t heard anyone mention yet: let’s assume we get a big solar storm. Yes, cell phones etc are likely resistant, but let’s just assume our legacy infrastructure takes the other systems down too. With no cash or assurances that our money safe, and no medium of exchange during the crises, we would face grave difficulties to keep things running, on top of having to respond to the natural disaster.

    Preparing for unlikely events is always wise; it’s why we have insurance in our private lives and redundancies in our public systems. Going all digital, all centralized is foolish for that reason alone.

    • Petunia
      October 20, 2016 at 9:42 am

      During any conflict the govt has the power to shut down the entire banking system, like FDR did in the 30’s (Bank Holiday). Just because they haven’t done it recently doesn’t mean they can’t or won’t.

      • d
        October 20, 2016 at 11:03 pm

        NOT ONLY CONFLICT.

        In reality any time they want to, Cyprus and Greece recent examples.

        This cashless thing is noise, until they legislate like FDR did with gold.

        This time it will be gold silver and platinum.

        Then a SHTF even could occur.

    • Phillip
      October 20, 2016 at 10:16 am

      Hey Islander, it is tin foil hat time. It goes beyond this. There are many countries in the world with the capability or could easily get the capability to use EMP (electromagnetic pulse ) devices to down the electrical system over large areas for months at a time. How would a cashless society work then? Can you imagine an easier way to cripple an enemy? There would be anarchy even without going cashless, imagine what it would look like in a society without non-electronic currency!

  15. Uncle Frank
    October 20, 2016 at 8:43 am

    Of course Tim Cook wants to move forward with a cashless society for his own greedy reasons. The public would revolt in this country if cash was removed from the system. At a minimum, the politicians in power at the time would promptly lose their positions in the next elections.

    • Petunia
      October 20, 2016 at 10:04 am

      Apple Pay already has competition from Samsung Pay and others will also enter the digital money space. Apple’s biggest problem is the cost of entry, phone prices, are too high for a larger user base. Samsung has a cheaper android phone base to compete with them.

      Just like Apple is losing itune users to Spotify and other services, they will get increasing competition on all fronts.

    • polecat
      October 20, 2016 at 3:30 pm

      Uhhh … the politicians might just lose more than their ‘positions’ should they condone such an idea !!

    • Marty
      October 20, 2016 at 4:26 pm

      I beg to differ. The millennials NEVER use cash. Most of the money in the US is already electronic. This is no different than gun confiscation “resistance” in that there’s a lot of tough talk, but ‘Merikans are compliant and will do what tptb demand, especially if they still have their miller lite and nfl.

      • falconflight
        October 21, 2016 at 11:54 am

        Couldn’t agree more. There is no line in the sand.

      • Pow
        October 21, 2016 at 12:02 pm

        Wow. I was beginning to wonder if any replies containing common sense would be posted here.

        The two candidates selected by the Sheeple to compete for the most powerful position in the world is proof that America is a sinking ship of fools.

        Bread and circuses for the dumbed down masses.

        Do you Sheeple actually believe your grocery, dept stores, pharmacies and petro stations will accept your barter items. Will their suppliers accept them too!

        It’s to late to wake up now.

  16. Mike B
    October 20, 2016 at 8:55 am

    I honestly don’t see how this would ever fly because even as stupid as the typical American is they still would instinctively understand the implications on privacy and personal freedom a cash-less economy would entail. It would also have to make illegal the informal economy of Craigslist, local farmers markets, help wanted / offered ads etc or just completely drive it underground which is the more likely outcome.

    The “Little People” ™ already hate and distrust the banks and credit card companies. Taking away their cash would probably drive them over the edge.

    • kitten lopez
      October 20, 2016 at 9:50 am

      ‘The “Little People” ™ already hate and distrust the banks and credit card companies. Taking away their cash would probably drive them over the edge.’

      nah… look at how quickly people carry around smart phones–locator devices–and give away their personal information for free on facebook and will trade their word for a 10% off coupon.

      tim cook may be gay but most of the interesting, trailblazing gays died in the 80s and he isn’t smart enough to realize all he’d have to do is make cashless devices electronic devices pretty anodized aluminum candy colors.

      part of my horror that keeps me up late at night is how easily americans, no, HUMANS–are duped into giving up so much for so little. i have NO idea how these tech companies have convinced these young folks to give up their youth for coding crap.

      i feel like i just landed on earth.

    • Saylor
      October 20, 2016 at 11:39 am

      Uh…I know of a lot of people that even now prefer using a debit card rather than paying cash. And now with the little ‘pay’ dongle you can attached to your cell phone for credit/debit swipes, we as a population are pretty much ‘there’.

      • polecat
        October 20, 2016 at 3:34 pm

        Well … with the benefit of having a common-cornholed education …I’d wager that many of those credit/debit swipers can’t count !

  17. John M
    October 20, 2016 at 9:14 am

    “But cash’s days are numbered, as technological advances and changes in generational priorities dampen its allure. The world is brimming with individuals and institutions determined to put it out of its misery.”

    That is until you get Cypus’d and bailed-in. To this day folks in East Germany have always done most of their transactions in cash. This is a result of a “Stazi” thingy that they had over there of being watched. We are going to see soon the effects of all this populism/cronyism/nepotism.

    The US is in the process of being divested of the Philippines. 5Star Movement in Italy is resetting the political elite there. Marine Le Pen will be starting Frexit soon & Grexit will be back on the cards in a heart beat. Yannis Varafoukis will be proven right & Christine Lagarde team at the IMF will have its hands full. & The Elite think we can do away with cash. Wait till their money is stolen from them..

  18. Bobcat
    October 20, 2016 at 9:37 am

    Cash is king.

    • John M
      October 20, 2016 at 11:02 am

      Bobcat

      Cash is king….. Until it isn’t. Ever bought a Trillion dollar Zimbabwe note from Ebay? Wolf could have actually mentioned what money really is. Its a store of wealth and a unit that can be used for accounting. If you can’t store saved labor in the form of money / savings then how does one save for retirement?

      • Tom Kauser
        October 21, 2016 at 10:24 am

        I would follow the Trump formula and travel about the country for 2 years pretending to be a conservative and ultra religious?
        Instant bailout!

    • Frederick
      October 20, 2016 at 3:12 pm

      Only assuming we are in a deflationary environment Otherwise Gold is truly King Certainly not fiat printed in excess by criminal parasitic banksters(removing tin hat)

  19. Petunia
    October 20, 2016 at 9:48 am

    I know the liberals don’t want to hear this, but Hillary will support the elimination of cash, because it will give the govt total control over people’s lives. They are already testing digital money in Ecuador, a very leftest country, which uses the US dollar as its currency.

    Digital cash is a Wall St. dream. They will be able to force you to spend your money where they want you to spend it. So much for stocks, bonds, insurance, donations, etc. Hurry up and vote for Hillary and get the future you deserve.

    • Chicken
      October 20, 2016 at 10:28 am

      Hillary scares me and I can’t trust her. I’m bracing for some kind of police state like the Middle East where private property is confiscated or destroyed at whim.

      • frederick
        October 20, 2016 at 3:14 pm

        Gee Chicken wonder why you cant trust her(sarc off)

    • Mike B
      October 20, 2016 at 11:07 am

      Petunia,

      It isn’t nearly as binary as that. A lot of people on the left HATE Hillary with a passion and for exactly the reasons you point out. Neoliberalism is creating some strange bedfellows.

      • Petunia
        October 20, 2016 at 11:39 am

        I’m a Chris Hedges fan, so I know what you mean. BTW, I call myself a Clinton Republican because the Clintons made me into a republican.

      • nick kelly
        October 20, 2016 at 4:49 pm

        If you go see a shrink and say you hate someone you’ve never met he’ll make a mental note.
        BTW: how does anything Hillary has ever done stack up to the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld junta.
        They invaded Iraq, killed 5000 US troops, ( I’m not counting the 250K Iraq’s, most of whom not combatants) blew 1.5 trillion dollars, and created a giant vacuum for ISIS to fill.

        And weapons of mass destruction! When a CIA operative reached the conclusion that there was no Iraqi nuclear program-before the invasion, Cheney aide Scooter Libby leaked the agent’s identity, a crime, and then lied about it. Cheney knew the pretext for invasion was a lie and he should stand trial in the Hague.

        Cheney is still mad at Bush for not pardoning Libby-“We left a soldier on the field”

        My heart pumps p&ss.

        And who can forget Paula Zahn that red-toothed camp follower hounding the UN inspector and practically screaming at l’ll wolfie Blitzer,”when do we start!”
        A disgrace to journalism… and humanity.

        And then Shrub had the gall to say, well we were wrong but we were sincere.
        BTW: the UK where they are a little more honest, a legal tribunal has pretty much reached the conclusion the invasion was a war crime.

        Oh, heard the latest- apparently Shrub no longer even f&cking remembers Iraq!
        Tell that to the parents of the 5000.

        • RecoveringPublicEducated
          October 20, 2016 at 5:39 pm

          The Bush family is endorsing Clinton proving there’s a one party Satanic oligarchy that runs shit.

          Trump is a true “outsider,” hated by anything establishment.

          If ever there was a people vs. power struggle we are smack dab in the middle of it now…vote accordingly.

        • nick kelly
          October 20, 2016 at 7:27 pm

          I’ll take the Establishment over Trump- don’t forget to read ‘Trumped’ by right hand man Jack O’Donell

        • nick kelly
          October 20, 2016 at 7:29 pm

          PS: if you say ‘satanic’ to a shrink he makes a note-and makes sure Security is around.

        • RecoveringPublicEducated
          October 20, 2016 at 7:39 pm

          So you see the brick wall, and want to mash the ‘right’ pedal. Got it! Bush (and yes i voted for him TWICE) “establishment” brought us 911 and Iraq, housing bubble, etc…(to our knees essentially). Time for me to turn the wheel first and then mash the ‘right’ pedal.

  20. Chicken
    October 20, 2016 at 10:19 am

    They want to take away cash. What can we do to defend against what seems to be an act of aggression?

    Thinking of all the things that are said to be turning in reverse this past decade, it’s unnerving. As of yet, I have yet to see more than just a few hybrid vehicles among thousands of vehicles. Has the rare earth problem been resolved? And we’re worried if the A/C will work, sheesh, if we’re that desperate who needs AC?

    Why didn’t GM do this on their own, or Ford. Chrysler last I heard says it’s a money loser?

    Perhaps it’s all the AI robots causing climate change? I dunno, is it not normal for climate to change within a lifetime? The ice age ended way before I was born so I don’t know.

    I guess if this is really a problem of magnitude as is being described, we’re toast no matter what we do.

    • Petunia
      October 20, 2016 at 10:47 am

      I hate to sound like a broken record, but all the policies you describe and fear are the policies supported by the left, the democrats.

      Digital money, check.
      Self driving electric vehicles, check.
      AI bs, check.
      Climate change bs, check.
      Aggression for rare minerals, check.
      Endless control mechanisms, check, check, check.

      • polecat
        October 20, 2016 at 3:39 pm

        and the establishment RepubliCANTS are right behind them !!

      • Tom Kauser
        October 21, 2016 at 10:20 am

        Probably less worried about getting strange all the time?

    • Frederick
      October 20, 2016 at 3:16 pm

      What you can do is get yourself some precious metals and get your money out of the banking system Chicken

      • Tom Kauser
        October 21, 2016 at 10:26 am

        Gold isn’t money unless you need cash and than its a great FUNDING CURRENCY?
        Don’t you need to buy a lake first , so you can hide it from your dealer?

    • Tom Kauser
      October 21, 2016 at 10:18 am

      When they start talking about taking away cash its because they are about to flood the market with it?
      Physical cash to inflate the velocity!
      When there is a bubble and risk asserts increase to the where they are a better deal than cash, cash disappears, when it pops there is money everywhere?
      ALL OF IT BEING HOARDED !

  21. nick kelly
    October 20, 2016 at 10:38 am

    I’m surprised one of the biggest and currently active warriors against cash didn’t get mentioned.
    Following the lead of the Dutch, who withdrew the 100 guilder note, Canada withdrew the $1000 bill.
    The RCMP carried most of the burden in Canada, the government saying that the bill was used in illegal activity, but Revenue Canada, the tax man, was the other partner.
    Cash and tax men are mortal enemies- the tax man would love ALL transactions to be electronic.
    It is common knowledge that much if not most home renovations are done for cash. I’ve done a few renos and flips and I used to joke that it wouldn’t be possible to do one without paying mostly cash.
    Of course you have to know the guys, or have a reliable referral.

    Here in BC all car sales pay a 6% tax- even private, second hand or tenth hand. Most private sales are paid in cash but declare a lower number.
    At least that’s what a friend of a friend told him, who told me, because I wouldn’t know.

    As devious as Canadians are, we are as white as snow compared to Italy or Greece. I have read that in Italy medical records aren’t kept- to avoid taxes.
    But according to Michael Lewis ( Big Short etc.) who traveled to Greece as part of work for his book ‘Boomerang’ Greece may take the prize.
    He says no receipt is EVER given, including the swank hotel where he interviews. One of the interviewees, a tax man who insists on not being
    identified, relates being told to lay off, big well- connected cases.
    The average doctor reports an income just above poverty.

    Maybe the Greeks need to import what Revenue Canada calls a Life Style Audit- once they determine that you are living in a mansion, driving a Porsche etc. they can require you to show how you are affording this, or they will simply assess you at that level of income.
    As we all know it was income tax evasion that finally sent Al Capone to jail.
    In British Columbia, the entire multi- billion dollar cannabis industry operated and still operates on a cash basis. And no- there weren’t a whole bunch of bikers and ‘hits’ involved. Those issues largely belong to other substances. But this is immaterial to the tax man.
    And then there are cigarettes- we are awash in bootleg cigs out here, mostly brought in from Ontario reserves. The first ones were pretty rough, but they got better.
    With cigs we come to the first hint of the real problem for the tax man’s war on cash- they can serve as a parallel currency.
    Note this is not barter- barter is inefficient. But although too clumsy to be a real currency, cigarettes are expensive enough re: volume that they can serve as a medium of exchange.

    But of course the real non-government issue stores of value are gold and silver.
    It’s funny when someone says: ‘but I don’t want to lug that around.’
    How much cash does he carry?
    The problem with $20 worth of gold is not how big it is- it’s how small it is. A gold 20 would pretty much have to be mounted in a bigger piece of plastic to not get lost in a pocket.
    A ounce, or $1300 is about the size of a larger postage stamp, thickness about 16 th of an inch.
    That leaves silver for day- to- day ‘cash’ deals in a non-cash society.

    I think that if the government does try to take us totally cashless- it won’t be worth our while to fight it on small transactions, but for everything
    from house renos to car buys, the average guy is going to quickly get used to gold and silver as mediums of exchange.

    • Petunia
      October 20, 2016 at 11:44 am

      Don’t forget you can always use another country’s currency. Or print your own.

    • nick kelly
      October 20, 2016 at 12:23 pm

      Correction- what was I thinking-even on second hand or tenth- hand cars its GST plus PST- 11.5 %
      The friend told me there’s one ICBC agent ( where you go to do all the transfer) where the cashier says: Now the tax is based on the purchase price so if you guys want to talk about it…

      You gotta give your collector a piece of the action, gov, not just a flat fee.

  22. Ptb
    October 20, 2016 at 11:06 am

    The drug trade would have to become more dynamic. Large transactions for cocaine and smack would have to go through some kind of money laundering device like a charitable “foundation”. Oops, I guess that problems already solved.

    • polecat
      October 20, 2016 at 3:41 pm

      ‘Cough’ …. organs …’cough’ !

  23. Saylor
    October 20, 2016 at 11:48 am

    Aside from the system failure due to environmental conditions or from a planned attack that could bring down the entire digital system and the mayhem it would cause is my other concern.

    With a cashless system based upon an electronic platform, those in control of said system could actually dictate when an individual or an entire populace of a region could travel. For instance in the case of a pandemic or hurricane, the ‘digital gates’ of currency could be opened only in areas ‘they’ would want you to travel to. Or…perhaps…you get to stay where you are. Tough luck.

    • Saylor
      October 20, 2016 at 11:49 am

      And btw…don’t think that this is not a bi-partisan program.

  24. Saylor
    October 20, 2016 at 12:10 pm

    While the question of ‘who’ is shown above, there still remains the question ‘why’.
    Not ‘why?’ as in why to eliminate cash. The answers (more than one) are fairly obvious.
    The bigger question is ‘why was the alliance formed’?
    Globalization would naturally happen with the ongoing increase in population, more rapid transport and the ‘digital global village’. I cannot say categorically that I am against globalization. As the finite resources get used up and populations grow, there does come a point when a ‘larger picture’ function has to occur in sharing remaining resources, otherwise wars will break out that will lay waste everywhere.
    However, I am not too keen on the group that is driving this whole program.
    But again I ask the ‘why’ as to such a diverse platform has come together to promote this ‘change’.
    Either it is a real understanding of limited resources left in the ground and knowing that a fight will break out as soon as those resources become too scarce.
    Or…, it is somehow known that there is an approaching event of life/species altering magnitude.
    Or…, (fill in other ideas at will) uh…the ‘mothership’ won’t land until all borders have been dissolved?
    Until religion has gone away I don’t see the borders dissolution happening.
    But to me there is a very, very important question of ‘why’ and to me it is not just because banks/governments can save money and control where it is invested.

  25. Randy
    October 20, 2016 at 12:37 pm

    The benefits to the BTCA members are endless. Governments would immediately crush the underground economies in their countries. In the US the underground economy is HUGE. Everywhere I turn, suppliers, contractors and even friends are saying to pay cash so they don’t have to report the income to the IRS. The underground economy is HUGE! Why is it NEVER mentioned in ANY economic discussions? A cashless society would wipe that out. The control over EVERYthing is the goal of commerce and government.

  26. Ishkabibble
    October 20, 2016 at 1:22 pm

    The older commenters here remember a day before debit cards, online banking and other digital means of paying for things. Credit cards and checks, OTOH, have been around for as long as I can remember, but my point is that there was a relatively-recent time when cash was, if not king, a very widely used means for buying, selling, lending, etc.

    For example, I remember getting my paycheck “cashed” every week at a bank in which I had a minimal savings account. I didn’t need a “budget”. I spent only what I absolutely needed to spend for the necessities of life and did not spend the rest. My pile of cash at home grew bigger. My one and only security measure was that I did not mention the size of my pile to absolutely anyone, including the government.

    From the information I “voluntarily” provided to the Internal Revenue Service each and every year that I was employed, “the government” knew how many federal reserve notes (FRN) I had been given by my employers, but the government only had an educated guess about how many of those FRN I had spent, or, at least as importantly, on just exactly WHAT I had spent it.

    Each month I drove around to the local power company office, etc. to pay cash for services that they had provided for the past month and was given a receipt for payment.

    I paid for my groceries, gasoline, vehicle maintenance, etc. etc. in cash. My parents told me that they had done the same for their entire lives.

    But times changed. Banks started providing the “service” of accepting payments for businesses. They insinuated themselves “in between” me and those businesses and now it was just one trip to the bank to pay all those bills both in cash and as “withdrawals” from ones savings or checking account. How nice. How convenient!

    Then times changed ever more rapidly to what we experience today. Banks are “in between” (involved in) the vast majority of “transactions” — in other words, more intimately involved in everyday human behavior.

    But it is still possible, even in this day and age, to cash ones check every week, save cash, pay in cash, etc., just like the good old days.

    There were infrequent “financial crises” in the past, but legislation passed to prevent their recurrence was rescinded, and now they’re becoming more and more frequent, almost like clockwork.

    Investors are upset. Investors don’t want to “lose” their “money”. Investors want certainty. Investors want “return” on their investments.

    Investors have come up with a fantastic solution to their problems — to their uncertainty– that will bolster their “confidence”. Ban cash.

    After that happens, TBTF banks and their investors MUST then be “in between” ALL transactions. Banks and their investors will become a necessity of life. And necessities of life like food, water, shelter and “banks” must be paid for, don’t they” And, so, “naturally”, we will have to pay banks to keep our “money” there and pay for bank “services”. Don’t worry. The TBTF banks “will do right by us” when it comes to Their prices on those fees.

    To sum up, we are being told by the Elite owners and investors in the TBTF banks that only when Their TBTF banks are inextricably, permanently “in between” all transactions, and government “authorities” know exactly how and on what every single individual in the human race is spending their money, will investors’ “confidence” in the financial system be restored; the “financial crises” ended and human Utopia finally be reached.

    Wake up, fellow herd members. This is serious, life-threatening stuff. Somehow we’ve got to do something to stop the Elite from banning cash. There is no better, simpler way to do that than by withdrawing as cash as much digital money as possible from banks and investments and using that cash as much as possible in all transactions. This will send a strong, unmistakable message to the Elite that they cannot ignore, that people do not want an Elite “managing” our daily lives. Use it or lose it, folks.

    • TC
      October 20, 2016 at 3:21 pm

      Already in the process of carrying out this plan. I’ve already had funds stolen from accounts in Chase, BofA and Compass Banks. I’m doing cash for everything possible now.

    • falconflight
      October 21, 2016 at 12:10 pm

      Our household has greatly decreased the use of electronic payments. Cash is used locally for groceries, gasoline, and even now some dental and eye exams (Much cheaper too!). Using checks much more as well for out of state bills like our mortgage. At least using checks slows down money velocity and data mining.

  27. Oldfarmer
    October 20, 2016 at 1:55 pm

    I operate a small farm and have a stall at my local farmers market (Davis, CA). Customers under the age of about 25 simply don’t have cash. They’ll pick up a bunch of carrots and hand you plastic. The way we’ve dealt with this is as follows: Customer goes to the market manager’s booth and buys market-dollars (an independent currency) with their card, in units of $20. They can then make purchases with marketdollars. At the end of the market, the farmers turn the market dollars back in to the manager for cash. Seems like a model that could have other applications.

    • Mike B
      October 20, 2016 at 4:20 pm

      They do the same thing at the farmers markets in Baltimore.

  28. Patrick
    October 20, 2016 at 1:57 pm

    Normally I’d say that people will reject implementation of a cashless society but then I remember we’re smack dab in the middle of the ‘Should Work’ era, where people behave like cattle and assume nothing can ever go wrong or personally affect them. So my stance is ‘Go for it’…go cashless at your earliest opportunity. When e-pay proves unreliable at the most critical of times and banks go negative, that’s when Western society realizes that cold hard gold & silver was the only real store of value all along.

  29. Intosh
    October 20, 2016 at 2:38 pm

    The thought that springs to mind is that, as we get closer to a cashless world, it will simply backfire on those who wish to control us in the form of a surge is popularity of alternative digital currencies (aka crypto-currencies). Crypto-currencies could be the new cash for people who seek to put their money out of the “master of mankind’s” reach.

    • Frederick
      October 20, 2016 at 3:18 pm

      Not for me Call me old fashioned but I need to hold it in my hand or its not mine Im funny like that

      • Intosh
        October 20, 2016 at 9:25 pm

        Thing is, you might not have a choice. If they remove paper in circulation, how are you going to get any to hold it in your hand?

  30. Jason
    October 20, 2016 at 3:12 pm

    Anyone playing the gold miners? I am short tomorrow, long next week.

    ASM, NUGT, DUST, USLV

    • Patrick
      October 20, 2016 at 6:03 pm

      I have a little NUGT but personally like JNUG (juniors overall are less indebted & more efficient than the big operations). I also prefer to buy and hold miners and even leverages but keep a close eye on tracking.

      As for predicting daily moves (except maybe FOMC meetings) I’ve learned that you might as well consult a magic 8 ball. Today was about Dollar strength pushing down commodities due to Euro weakness after the ECB, so my wild guess for tomorrow would be a resumption of Gold above $1270. After all the Dollar index, at 98.33, is excessively overbought.

      As for the topic at hand. The more intangible Dollars become, the more people will seek out tangible precious metals.

  31. TC
    October 20, 2016 at 3:17 pm

    Newsflash, Cook you Douchebag: MOST restaurants in my small town do NOT take plastic – and they SURE do not take digital money off an iPhone.

    • falconflight
      October 21, 2016 at 12:13 pm

      We have absolutely ended using plastic when eating out. First of all Security, and secondly, promoting cash use.

  32. October 20, 2016 at 10:21 pm

    Digital money is like electric cars, a promise of ‘more’ arriving tomorrow (the reality is something entirely different but the bosses don’t want to scare the horses … )

    At the interbank level, all transactions are electronic and have been for years. However, those with access to the settlement system are relatively few in number and are all banks. The system is (relatively) secure. Keep in mind the New York Fed international account system was hacked a few months ago and $81 million was vacuumed out or Bangladesh’s account. That money will never be seen again: “Have a nice day … ” sez Bill Dudley!

    Ken Rogoff suggests banning cash will cut finance crimes, ignoring the misdeeds of HSBC and Wachovia, electronically laundering tens of billions of dollars for Mexican cocaine cartels before being caught (the Wachovia affair caused a run on the bank and its demise).

    With orders of magnitude more players with access to the payment system using electronic payments, the opportunities for hackers increase exponentially. One big hack and that will be the end of the grand experiment.

    Now if the economists would favor medieval punishments for bankers: the rack, branding with hot pokers, iron maidens, ducking stools … the public will get behind that.

  33. Ishkabibble
    October 21, 2016 at 2:32 pm

    Further to what I wrote above I have two things.

    First, if the Elite want cash to be abolished, there should be a nationwide referendum that answers one simple question: “do you support the abolishment of cash?”

    Second, notice that over the past three decades the more power that is given to (taken by) the Fed and TBTF banks, the WORSE is each succeeding crisis, culminating with the one in ’07 -’09 — the de facto a coup d’etat by TBTF banks.

    Even after having been bailed out by future taxpayers, those TBTF banks and the Fed are still impotent (and I would contend UNWILLING) to stop yet another crisis that is staring humanity in the face.

    The real, bone-simple reason that these crises continue to happen is, quite intentionally, never stated by these so-called authorities, let alone addressed by them.

    Therefore, why in the world would anyone suggest, let alone acquiesce in, giving these institutions even more control over our lives?

    No sane person should allow this to happen.

  34. R Davis
    October 24, 2016 at 2:06 am

    If .. cash is pulled from the system .. it’s going to be a sad day for all those of us who are wealth .. & have hoarded $100 bills over the last few decades .. will the hoarders be able to / indeed .. what will they do with all the cash they have hoarded .. ? .. the relevant government bodies & the tax office will want to know where it all came from ..
    * corporate hotshots & their stash
    * drug lords & their stash
    * tax evaders providing services for ‘cash in hand’ .. this would include & many of the medical profession & even surgeons .. the legal fraternity .. the hospitality industry .. manufacturing that sell out the back door .. the alcohol industry .. gosh .. it just goes on & on.

  35. R Davis
    October 24, 2016 at 3:30 am

    Why would central banks dream of a cash free world ?
    Only that they have become insane.
    Corruption starts right at the top .. they would be doing their nations & the business elite jocks a disservice in rocking the boat.
    I am common man .. I have limited cash flow .. if someone slips me a few $100 bills for good & services in some covert operation .. who need to know & the nation will not crumble as a result .. the same applies for those at the top of the hill .. also .. they could care less if hardship is inflicted upon anyone other than themselves & this includes the central banks .. this world has a life of their own totally separate from the fairy stories of budgets & financial constraints mainstream media tell the world at large.
    And everyone feigns innocence.
    Cash plays an intricate roll in their world .. a world where image is everything .. the leather briefcase filed with cash is nothing less than a necessary fashion accessory.

  36. R Davis
    October 24, 2016 at 3:34 am

    You take your life in your hands if you were to turn up to a big drug purchase with a credit card .. mate.

    • d
      October 24, 2016 at 4:50 am

      “big drug purchase with a credit card ”

      These days “big drug purchase” are prepaid, or on credit.

      This stops stressed groups of people meeting each other and pointing ak47’smp5/10’s at each other, which always leads to issues.

      What you state applies to “little drug purchase”.

  37. Drew
    October 26, 2016 at 1:27 am

    If we run out of arguments to stop a cashless society, I’ve got one more: First Amendment rights would be violated. Mennonites and Quakers are long established religions who consider technology satanic. These are the people who drive horses and buggy in Pennsylvania and other places. They don’t have anything electronic, not even a light bulb and that would of course include cell phones and online banking to say the least. Surely forcing them to use electronic payments would be a violation of their freedom of religion. And for that matter, wouldn’t using cash be a form of freedom of expression and it’s removal therefore a violation of the 1st?

  38. Stephen
    October 27, 2016 at 8:36 am

    Thank you Wolf for pinpointing the fact that there is a working group on this. One hears mention of the idea of banning cash from various “news” sources and these have seemed to me more like trial balloons or preparing the mind of the herd, but I hadn’t realized there is actually an organized group. (BTCA) I will look into whether or not they publish anything for public consumption. Sometimes even pure propaganda reveals the truth.

    I think it should be noted that it is hosted by the UN. That should give us a clue as to where this is going. I would hazard an educated guess that going cashless is one of the giant first steps they need to do before they figure out a one-world currency or at least a drastic overhaul of the international settlements system. Not that I’m necessarily against an overhaul, if it were an honest effort to correct the dysfunctional and corrosive money system that evolved since Bretton Woods. (I am riffing on my limited understanding of the issues addressed by Michael Pettis on his blog and many of his very educated audience.)

    Also, I believe that the fact that the Clinton Foundation is member of this group is newsworthy, and should be broadcast throughout the blogoshpere, during the next two weeks especially. If I knew any hackers personally I might suggest that the BTCA could be a rich source for embarrassing emails.

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