Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019

The War On Cash — And What it Means for the Future of Privacy and Freedom

Published on January 22, 2017 by   ·   No Comments

The War On Cash and What it Means for the Future of Privacy and Freedom

 Carolanne WrightWake Up World

Like many, I too was enamored with the advent of debit cards and other technological advances to make shopping easier. The convenience of not needing to cart around cash and fumble for exact change seemed liberating in its own way. This was decades ago, of course, and much has changed in how I view electronic transactions. What once was a starry-eyed love affair with a new technology has now morphed into horror as the ramifications slowly come to light.

Regardless, nations around the world are hell-bent on herding everyone towards a completely cashless, digital society. Which begs the questions: at what cost to our privacy and freedom? Is such a move Big Brother’s dream come true?

Corruption, Control and the Crusade Against Cash

Last November, Indian Prime Minister Narendra made a shocking announcement: the government would now ban 500- and 1,000-rupee bank notes, in a move to curb corruption and increase transparency — by forcing Indians to deposit undeclared money into banks. The problem is, about half of the population do not have bank accounts.

While the value of the notes — $7.37 and $14.75 US, respectively — may not seem overtly concerning, the two bills account for 86 percent of all India’s cash in circulation. Citizens were given just under two months, until the end of 2016, to trade in the bills for new rupee notes. Credit Suisse estimates that more than 90 percent of transactions in India are currently cash based. When the popular bills were outlawed, long lines at bank branches formed to exchange the bills, only to have the financial institutions run out because of poor planning.

To make matters worse, anyone who had 250,000 (approximately $3,687) or more, would be slammed with a 200 percent tax fine — if they could not explain why they had so much cash on hand and prove they had paid taxes on it. Moreover, for the 16 million Indians who live overseas, many lost thousands of dollars each since they had no way of exchanging their rupee notes, unless they traveled back to India before the deadline.

As a result of the government’s decision to outlaw the bills, 55 people have died — either because they were elderly and became exhausted waiting in long queues or by taking their own lives when unable to exchange their cash reserves, essentially becoming bankrupt. The country is in economic shambles, where “a vast majority of Indians have now been hit by a crippling paucity of cash.” Agricultural commodities have plummeted by 50 percent and families are cutting back on vital food items. The upper- and middle-class have fared slightly better, since they can rely on electronic transactions, like debit and credit cards, to meet their needs.

It’s not just India restricting the circulation of money, the U.S. and Europe also have a history of outlawing currency. Back in 1969, the U.S. discontinued $10,000, $5,000, $1,000 and $500 bills, leaving the $100 bill as the largest denomination. Today, there’s serious talk of eliminating even that, along with $50 banknotes. Next on the chopping block are $20 bills — leaving us with $10 as the highest denomination available, thereby severely restricting the use of cash for everyday transactions.

Read More HERE

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