“Sometimes I am two people. Johnny is the nice one. Cash causes all the trouble. They fight”
The missus came back from a utilities company with worrying news. I trust her fully, but I couldn’t believe what she was telling me. Perhaps I’ve mentioned before that we meet most of our expenses with cash. Handling cash is one of the key things, in my opinion, that you can do to get on top of your money management.
Anyway as it turns out she had gone to pay a bill with cash, but was refused. The alleged reason was that they didn’t accept cash any longer. Cash is legal tender and to not accept it as payment is illegal in our country (that’s a whole other story). A few days later I had the same experience. They basically told me that I should direct debit and that they didn’t want cash on the premise for security purposes – blah, blah, blah.
This is a worrying trend that I’ve long predicted. The authorities hate cash. It’s dirty and expensive to produce. It creates a logistics issue ensuring cash is fluid. Like you need to move it around to ensure the circulation is appropriately distributed. Worst for authorities is that cash transactions aren’t traceable. They can’t easily steal a portion by calling it a tax. Worst still they don’t have a complete record of your movements, your expenditure and the level of control that they would have in a cashless monetary system. I also think that they hate having to deal with a human being face to face. Numbers on a screen don’t angrily complain about all the ways the utilities company is not doing what it is charging people for! Why deal with actual humans if you can work with non-threatening spreadsheets instead.
There is a more sinister concern that is probably the second reason I am pro-cash. Say for example there was no cash. Everything was electronic [some people think they would like that because they are technocrats that like the idea of their phone being their pocket money]. Before you jump on that wagon keep your mind open to the downside. To do anything in a world where paper money no longer exists you’d need an electronic bank account [sounds ok]. Now say the government gets even more totalitarian or fascist leaning than it is now and that is unacceptable to you so so you protest [what does this have to do with money?]. Well, the government responds by turning off your bank account and with no cash available it would be more than a minor inconvenience. You’re in deep shit Dorothy. It would be in a terrible situation. How would you eat, where could you live, how would you accumulate a non-physical e-money? It’s all just numbers on a screen now [oh!].
A cash based system gives you rights. It allows you to remain private. You have an ability to continue to transact with people in your local community to feed, cloth and shelter your family without an authority ever entering into it as a invisible third party. Once cash is gone you lose the right to life and must rely on the benevolence of the banking sector and the government.
Some people seem to think that if this fictional scenario played out that some underground currency would fill the gap for people that have been struck off the government books, but answer this – is it legal in your country to develop your own currency and trade it in your neighbourhood now? If you live in most countries in the world it is not just illegal there are serious consequences for printing an alternative to ‘legal tender’. The government and the banks are very aggressive about ensuring they are the only game in town.
So even if you are into tech you need to fight the death of cash. A cash based system however bad or unfair is [or however cool the electronic payment tools become] better than the alternative of a money based system without cash. True a moneyless world would be better, but with so little to gain and so much to lose the establishment would never let that dream become a reality without bloodshed.