LETTER FROM AMERICA

Published:  12:31 AM, 08 January 2019

My right, not to use my credit card... (Part 1)

My right, not to use my credit card... (Part 1)

Three years ago, what began a as a seemingly innocent, academic discussion, has now transformed into a full-blown, global, propaganda campaign... by some of the most powerful institutions in the industrialized world.

This is something that should be rightly termed 'War on Cash'. Like, the War on Terror, the War on Cancer or the War on Drugs, its true agenda is quite sinister and opaque.

If we are foolish enough to swallow the propaganda for complete elimination of cash, in favor of pure digital bank money, we can pretty much kiss goodbye to our remaining autonomy and our privacy. I have a feeling that George Orwell's 1984 will be here, to welcome us with 'steroids'.

Has it ever occurred to you that when you have no cash, you have no privacy? Let me be clear. I simply do not wish to discuss the various block-chain digital technologies, or the so-called crypto-currencies.

We are not addressing private payment systems such as China's WeChat. Nor, we are discussing e-banking or use of bank credit cards such as Visa or Master Card or others. These 'instruments' I have mentioned, are of an entirely different 'quality', from the goal of the ongoing sinister war on cash.

Perhaps we are all aware that I am talking about all private services, that are obviously not related to the state. What I am discussing now, is a plot, and it is a plot, conceived by this planet's leading central banks, select governments and also the International Monetary Fund...... all in collusion with major international banks. Perhaps, the targeted objective is to force citizens-in other words, us!-to give up holding cash, or using it as a medium, to pay for purchases.

Instead of cash, we would be forced to use digital bank credits. The difference, subtle though it may at first seem, is huge. As in India, following the unprecedented Modi-US, inspired war on cash, exercised in late in 2016, citizens would perhaps, forever lose their personal freedom to decide 'how to pay' or to decide their 'privacy' in terms of money.

If I would want to buy a car and pay cash to avoid bank interest charges, I cannot do so. My bank will limit the amount of digital money I can withdraw on any given day. If I want to stay in a decent hotel, to celebrate a special day and pay cash for reasons of privacy, this won't be possible. And.... this is just the surface!

Last July, Visa International had joined the War on Cash. It rolled out what it called 'The Visa Cashless Challenge.' With select buzz words about how technology has transformed global commerce, Visa had announced a program to pay selected small restaurant owners in USA, if they agreed to refuse to accept cash from their customers.

They would be motivated to accept only credit cards, as means of payment. The official Visa website had announced 'Up to $500,000 in 'awards' to facilitate 50 code-sharing, food service owners. Indeed, they had moved forward towards 100% cashless target!

Now for a giant, global company such as Visa with annual revenues in the $15 billion range, a paltry $500,000 is petty change. Obviously they believe, it will advance the use of Visa cards in a market that until now has preferred cash-at the small family size restaurant.

The Visa "challenge" to achieve what it called the "100% cashless quest" is not the casual will-o'-the-wisp. It is part of a very thought-through, strategy of not only Visa, but also the European Central Bank, the Bank of England, the International Monetary Fund and the Reserve Bank of India, to name just a few.

In March this year the International Monetary Fund in Washington issued a Working Paper on what they proudly called 'de-cashing.' The paper had recommended that, 'going completely cashless should be phased in steps'.

The paper also noted the fact that there already existed initially and largely, uncontested steps, such as the phasing out of large denomination bills, the placement of ceilings on cash transactions, and the reporting of cash that moved across the borders.

Further steps could include creating economic incentives, to reduce the use of cash in transactions, simplifying the opening and use of transferrable deposits, and further computerizing the entire financial system.

It is worth mentioning that since 2015, the limit a French citizen may pay in cash, to a business, is a mere €1000. This has been stated to be a well conceived approach 'to tackle money laundering and tax evasion.' Moreover, any deposit or withdrawal of cash from a bank account in excess of €10,000 in a month would automatically be reported to Tracfin....a unit of the French government, charged with combating money laundering. These measures were deemed as 'largely uncontested steps', and very ominous portents.

The IMF paper further added for argument sake, that for eliminating cash that 'de-cashing should improve tax collection by reducing tax evasion.' Commonly understood, and stated in simple words, 'if you are forced to use only digital money transfers from a bank, the governments of virtually every OECD, country today have legal access to the bank data of their citizens'.

In a month after the IMF paper on de-cashing was published, the Brussels EU Commission released a statement that declared, 'Payments in cash are widely used in the financing of terrorist activities. In this context, the relevance of potential upper limits to cash payments could also be explored. Several Member States have in place prohibitions for cash payments above a specific threshold.'

Even in Switzerland, as a result of relentless campaigns by Washington, their legendary bank secrecy has been severely compromised. Under the fallacious argument, it hinders financing of terrorist organizations. A glance at recent European press headlines about attacks from Barcelona to Munich to London to Charlottesville, very well, exposes this argument as a sham.

Today in the EU, as further result of Washington pressure, under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) banks outside the USA where US citizens hold a deposit, are forced to file yearly reports on the assets in those accounts to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network of the US Treasury.Conveniently for the US, as the major emerging tax haven, the US Government has refused, despite it being specified in the Act, to join FACTA itself.

In April of 2016, the European Central Bank discontinued issuing €500 bills, arguing it would hinder organized crime and terrorism, which appeared to be a joke in not so good taste. To be sure, as if the sophisticated networks of organized crime depended on paper currencies. In the US, leading economists, such as former Harvard President Larry Summers have advocated eliminating the $100 bill for the same 'alleged' reason.

The real aim of the war on cash however was outlined in a Wall Street Journal Op Ed, by Harvard economist and former chief economist at the IMF, Kenneth Rogoff. It was Rogoff who had argued that a drastic reduction was indispensable, in the Federal Reserve's issuance of cash.

He called for all bills above the $10 bill to be removed from circulation, thereby forcing people and businesses to depend on digital or electronic payments entirely. He has repeated that his mantra that his plan would reduce money-laundering, thereby reducing crime, while at the same time exposing those who cheat on their taxes.

However, the hidden agenda in this War on Cash, is confiscation of our money in the next, inevitable banking crisis, whether in the EU member countries, the United States or developing countries like India.

Already several central banks have employed a policy of negative interest rates alleging, that this is necessary to stimulate growth, following the 2008 financial and banking crisis. In addition to the European Central Bank, the Bank of Japan, the Danish National Bank adheres to this bizarre policy. However, their ability to lower interest rates to member banks even more is constrained as long as cash is plentiful.

The above cited IMF document has let the proverbial cat out of the sack. It has stated, 'In particular, the negative interest rate policy becomes a feasible option for monetary policy, if savings in physical currency are discouraged and substantially reduced. With de-cashing, most money would be stored in the banking system, and, therefore, would be easily affected by negative rates, which could encourage consumer spending…'

That would obviously take place because any banking institution will begin to charge customers, for the 'service' of allowing to park his or her money with them.....where the banks can use it, to make more money. To avoid that, we are told, we would need to spend as if, there was no tomorrow. Obviously, this argument is lacking in merit and may not easily be swallowed. (Continued to Part Two)


The writer is a former educator based in Chicago

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