The “cashless society” is being proposed here and there, usually pointing to the convenience of credit and debit cards and the cash-based drug rings as justifying abandonment of cash. And those are truths, too. But there are some other truths that are receiving less attention from the ‘cashless society’ folk. You may wish to consider them before you shrink your purse or wallet down to a cardholder. This is one of those times to remember that: “There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.”
A short list of simple considerations:
1. A few bills in your pocket or under the mattress is insurance against many things, from power outages that shut down card readers through computer glitches to card loss or theft.
2. Cash is always legal tender, even when your card is shut down for any reason. With cash, you are never in need of resources while unable to use what you have.
3. The government nor your bank are able to either track you by your purchases nor shut off your use of your own cash. Cash is anonymous and available for use 24/7.
4. Government, hackers and others are unable to know how much money you have when it is cash. You are a smaller target.
On the other hand, you are a larger target for thieves if they become aware of a stash. And nowadays, lots of cops who might find significant sums of cash during a routine stop, will simply (and legally) seize it because it is there, even though no warrant or reasonable suspicion exists. Yes, we think that unconstitutional too, but it is happening regularly in the U.S. And when they find and grab cash, they often grab your car, too.
Denmark is now considering permitting retailers to refuse cash from customers. Cash will no longer be legal tender in Denmark in that case. Dipping one toe into the cashless water. If the proposal does not generate too big a stink, further steps will follow until cash is history. As smaller governments proceed, larger ones will hop on as quickly as they may. They have much to gain.
Imagine for a moment: Money is only electrons controlled by approved banks and shuffled only on the Internet. (The FCC, FTC and FEC are presently engaged in taking Federal control of the Internet.). Your bank is part of a Federally regulated and government licensed cartel; without cash, you cannot spend a dime but with approval and help of your bank. Nor can your bank operate without approval from government. Not only will your financial life become an open book; you won’t be able to turn pages on your own. Any government with an NSA and that uses the IRS against its political opposition will love all of that! You may not, though.
Some of the conspiracy theorist crowd is calling these events a “War on Cash.” That is likely correct, though of course we don’t know. We do remember the nutcase that pointed out: “Hey, I may be nuts, but I’m not stupid!” Government isn’t stupid either … well, not when it comes to getting what it wants. You may decide for yourself what that actually is.
Recall Black Tuesday, when the stock market crashed, starting the Great Depression. Banks collapsed, wiping out savings. Our parents had squirreled away some cash that kept them and some neighbors fed until things restarted. Of course, ‘this time is different’ comes in here. It always does. Otherwise, politicians would be unable to continue repeating their tired scams.
But we recommend that as the marvels and convenience of the cashless society are trumpeted ever louder, you devote some thought to these non-trumpeted aspects. Your friends as well. It might do some good …