The War on Cash (yours) is waged by government (also yours). That is bad enough, but unfortunately my government and for that matter, everyone else’s too are in it together. The first stage is proceeding in Sweden, where cash is now “more trouble than it is worth” if one believes the press. It is also proceeding in India and other places. And it is not only governments behind the move, banks are pushing it too. A cashless United States is predicted by economists, though it may take a little longer.
While it is a new idea, even revolutionary, for banks, governments have been at war with cash for a very long time; as the declining silver content of the ancient Roman denarius illustrates. It is a well-documented saga in a very long, criminal history that is presently being pursued by most governments that see the current opportunity.
Governments monopolized money when they realized that it was useful for stealing the publics’ wealth. When the roman emperor repaid his loans with coins containing less silver, he was a swindler, using cheapened money when he had received full value. Governments today do the same, repaying huge borrowings with paper/digital money created by central banks; money that devalues the existing money by diluting it. This swindle does not seem to raise much real concern, but it is not negligible; consider for instance that a basic 1937 Chevrolet was purchased by this author’s father for $750. This sort of money management is of course, a criminal activity. It can be interesting to contemplate how many of the Mafia’s activities have unremarked, routine government equivalents …
It is useful to have this history freshly in mind when listening to the present siren songs of those promoting the elimination of cash. With important matters, it is wise to know with whom one is dealing … Let’s consider: First, without cash, all money transactions must be electronic; if the power stops, the internet is down or even a particular computer holding your data hiccups you are out of business. That is quite a bundle of risks awaiting Murphy’s Law. Next, exposure to hackers is probably a considerably greater risk than exposure to pickpockets. Finally, human error might cost you in miscounting change or handing over $50 thinking it $20 but computer or card reader glitches can ber rather more spectacular. And a $100 bill isn’t subject to identity theft. But we live with those to some extent already; there is an entire additional concern when cash has gone for good.
You are the master of your cash; it is your servant. But you are no master of electronic payments; you use them only with their masters’ knowledge and approval. And you pay for that privilege. Outlawing cash creates instantly new masters empowered to observe, oversee, control and instantly terminate any citizens’ financial life. From that will flow the intended dependency.