Denmark goes cashless: it’s not about money, it’s all about freedom of choice

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Denmark Cashless Freedom

Denmark’s government led by Lars Løkke Rasmussen is shortly to implement a string of economic measures to revive its European low-inflation, low-growth economy. But several political scientists and whistle-blowers have pointed out that one of these economic measures isn’t economic, it’s political. The measure will miss its goal of increasing performance and place citizens exclusively under state control. It’s the killing of cash.

The reason invoked is that cash is expensive to handle, an outdated way of doing business. Which, in all fairness, stands to reason. The management relative to currency is spread out between central banks (which creates [1] the money), private banks (which distribute it), private secure cash transferring companies (which move it), and some security agencies (which monitor it). So, that does indeed represent quite a large amount of work the Danish central bank would like to dismiss, in order to modernize its economy.

But that’s missing the forest for the trees. The point of money has never been money. The one single point of cash is freedom. It’s the ability for a Dane (or any other) to go around and do his business without having a bank, or a state agency controlling what he bought, where, when, and from whom. It’s a balancing point for the ever-growing power of the state. If states are given absolute control, it is only a matter of time before dictatorship quietly installs. And with ever-growing numbers of laws passed – a concept known as legislative inflation – with every purchase, citizens are running a higher risk of being held accountable by courts.

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And it gets worse. The deletion of cash wouldn’t only allow banking and public authorities in Denmark to monitor and control transactions after they’ve occurred. The hidden agenda of the move is to force citizens to spend, in other words to control spending before it even happens. Because people have a natural inclination to save money for a rainy day, they keep part of their earnings in cash or at the bank, where they generate interest. Because this money isn’t being spent, it isn’t generating tax revenue – something just about every European country is desperate for.

The Danish central bank therefore had the idea of negative interest rates: instead of earning interest at the bank, Danes lose a fraction of their capital. As Sean Farrel described, regarding Japan which has also opted for negative interest rates, “instead of earning interest on money left with the BoJ, banks are charged to park their cash. The idea is that instead of depositing money with the central bank or each other, they lend it to businesses and consumers. Banks may also cut deposit rates paid to customers, encouraging them to spend or invest instead of earning low or negative returns.”

So, the obvious choice would lead them to pull their money out under the form of cash (but that would do the government no good), or spend it. Without cash, there would be only one (fiscally profitable) option. Anti-consumerism, which is quite popular [2] in Denmark, is therefore about to receive a crushing blow, as consumption will soon become mandatory. As always, freedom fighters and libertarians will arise, but they will be fined for not spending. In the case of Japan, a 0.1 penalty is applied to deposits, which has led to a sharp increase in cash withdrawals from banks.

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For the moment, there seems to be little opposition to this measure, within the Danish population. “Using cash is expensive, because it takes time for salaried employees to handle, and it’s also a security concern. Carrying cash opens you up to attack and even though we have relatively low levels of violent crime in Denmark, this is something business owners and employees tell us they worry about”, reported [3] the Danish chamber of commerce. Today, 6% of Danes use cash regularly, compared to 30 or 40% of their German neighbors.

As it is unlikely that Danes are fond of dictatorships, it’s a safer bet that this quiet consent is more the result of unawareness than genuine adhesion. Whistleblowers are trying to raise awareness on the matter, because such power grabs are historically known as irreversible. Once the state will have suppressed cash and established absolute power over its own economy, the Danes will not get their share back, as they will no longer have any power to force the state to hand back some of the power. Writer known as “Tyler Durden”, from Zero Hedge, warns [4] “The War on Cash is a favorite pet project of the economic central planners. They want to eliminate hand-to-hand currency so that governments can document, control, and tax everything. This is why they’re lowering the threshold for mandatory reporting of cash transactions and, in some instances, simply making it illegal to pay cash […] “The cashless society is the IRS’s dream: total knowledge of, and control over, the finances of every single American.”

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The shift doesn’t concern only Denmark, but the entire Scandinavian area. Finland, Sweden and Norway have similar economies, with low resort to cash currency, and are also considering making the move. If those countries were to carry out the reform, the entire north of Europe would see its populations fall under complete economic control of its states. And as long as these states are run by the current class of politicians, the tyranny will be soft and silent. But when the next European bully comes to power, it will be a very different matter.

1) http://www.madehow.com/Volume-3/Paper-Currency.html
2) https://engagedintellectual.wordpress.com/2008/02/18/learning-from-denmark-rethinking-compulsive-consumerism-and-the-american-dream/
3) http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/may/14/no-wallet-no-worries-denmark-considering-cash-free-shops
4) http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-11-18/worlds-first-cashless-society-here-totalitarians-dream-come-true

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