The War On Cash – COVID Edition Part I

Claudio Grass

The corona crisis has already taken a very high toll and caused deep damage in our societies and our economies, the extent of which is yet to become apparent. We have seen its impact on productivity, on unemployment, on social cohesion and on political division. However, there is another very worrying trend that has been accelerated under the veil of fear and confusion that the pandemic has spread. The war on cash, that was already underway for almost a decade, has been drastically intensified over the last few months. Over the last years, and as the war on cash escalated, we’ve gotten used to hear certain arguments or “reasons” on why we should all abandon paper money and move en masse to an exclusively digital economy. These talking points have been repeated over and over, in most western economies and by countless institutional figures. “Cash is used by terrorists, money launderers and criminals” is arguably the most oft-repeated one, as it’s been widely employed in most debates about the digital transition. Just a couple of years ago, it was also used by Mario Draghi, to support the decision to scrap the 500 euro note. We didn’t get any specific information or data about how many terrorists were actually using this high-denomination note, but we do know a lot of law-abiding citizens were using it to save, as did small business owners for their operational liquidity needs.

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The War On Cash – COVID Edition Part II

Claudio Grass

It doesn’t require too dark an imagination to realize the gravity of the concerns over the digital yuan. China is a true pioneer when it comes surveillance, censorship and political oppression and the digital age has given an incredibly efficient and effective arsenal to the state. Adding money to that toolkit was a move that was planned for many years and it is abundantly clear how useful a tool it can be for any totalitarian regime. The ability to track citizens’ transactions, access their financial data, control and freeze the account of anyone that presents a potential threat, it all opens the door to the ultimate oppression: total control over private resources, over people’s livelihoods and their capacity to cover their basic needs. If we accept that digital currencies are inevitable and arguably their emergence has been accelerated by the corona crisis, the real question is who controls them, who issues and distributes them, and who determines their value. We stand at a historic crossroads and the answer to these questions can determine the kind of future we’ll wake up to. It can be a very bleak one, if the power remains with governments and centralized institutions. In this scenario, money will retain all the flaws and vulnerabilities of today’s fiat currencies, only its digital nature will amplify them to an unimaginable extent. The privacy violations of today will become simply unstoppable, a mere fact of life, while disastrous monetary policies, like negative rates, so far only cushioned by the individuals’ ability to sidestep them through physical cash, will be forcibly and uniformly transmitted throughout the economy.

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America’s Revolutionary Founders Would Be Anti-Government Extremists Today

The Rutherford Institute

Had the Declaration of Independence been written today, it would have rendered its signers extremists or terrorists, resulting in them being placed on a government watch list, targeted for surveillance of their activities and correspondence, and potentially arrested, held indefinitely, stripped of their rights and labeled enemy combatants. This is no longer the stuff of speculation and warning. In fact, Attorney General William Barr recently announced plans to target, track and surveil “anti-government extremists” and preemptively nip in the bud any “threats” to  public safety and the rule of law. It doesn’t matter that the stated purpose of Barr’s anti-government extremist task force is to investigate dissidents on the far right (the “boogaloo” movement) and far left (antifa, a loosely organized anti-fascist group) who have been accused of instigating violence and disrupting peaceful protests. Boogaloo and Antifa have given the government the perfect excuse for declaring war (with all that entails: surveillance, threat assessments, pre-crime, etc.) against so-called anti-government extremists.

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