The most ironic dichotomy in finance today is that even after tens of trillions of dollars were printed and exported by the Federal Reserve into the global economy since both the Credit Crisis of 2008, and the subsequent implementation of Quantitative Easing programs over the past five years, there remains a liquidity crisis around the world that is leading to not only a shortage of cash, but a rare move by the banks into running negative interest rates on borrowing. And with most of this cash being kept out of the general economy where the velocity of money could relieve many of the bottlenecks causing the liquidity crisis, the banks are left with a tremendous quandary of how they can access cash without using the printing press.
It is for this reason that university professors, economists, think tanks, and even some politicians are calling for an end of physical cash, and a move towards a completely electronic system where the central banks can seize absolute control over money and finance, and besides protecting themselves from a currency collapse, use this power to dictate the spending and savings habits of every person in the world.
Consider this Jekyl Island part II.
In a new piece by economist Charles Hugh Smith on June 13, the well known analyst lays out a number of reasons, none of them beneficial to the citizens of the U.S., of why the government and the Fed desperately want to get rid of physical cash, and why the scheme is simply a full on effort to steal the last vestiges of wealth from the people.The first reason: physical cash has the potential to evade both taxes as well as officially sanctioned theft via bail-ins and negative interest rates. In short, physical cash is extremely difficult for governments to steal.Some of you may find the word theft harsh or even offensive. But we must differentiate between taxes—which are levied to pay for the state’s programs that in principle benefit all citizens—and bail-ins, i.e. the taking of depositors’ cash to bail out banks that became insolvent through the actions of the banks’ management, not the actions of depositors.Bail-ins are theft, pure and simple. Since the government enforces the taking, it is officially sanctioned theft, but theft nonetheless.The second flaw is that hoarding cash is the only rational, prudent response in an era of financial repression and economic insecurity. What central banks are demanding–that we spend every penny of our earnings rather than save some for investments we control or emergencies—is counter to our best interests.This leads to the third flaw: capital — which begins its life as savings — is the foundation of capitalism. If you attack savings as a scourge, you are attacking capitalism and upward mobility, for only those who save capital can invest it to build wealth. By attacking cash, the central banks and governments are attacking capital and upward mobility.Those who already own the majority of productive assets are able to borrow essentially unlimited sums at near-zero interest rates, which they can use to buy more productive assets, while everyone else–the bottom 99.5%–is reduced to consumer-serfdom: you are not supposed to accumulate productive capital, you are supposed to spend every penny you earn on interest payments, goods and services.The benefits to banks and governments by eliminating cash are self-evident:
- Every financial transaction can be taxed
- Every financial transaction can be charged a fee
- Bank runs are eliminated
Ending the ability for people to transact in physical cash is not about saving a monetary system, but about absolute control and theft. According to the Federal Reserve’s own numbers, there is only $1.37 trillion in U.S. dollars physically out in the world, which is a drop in the bucket compared to the trillions of outstanding Treasury Bonds and over one quadrillion in dollar denominated securities cycling in the global financial system. Thus the issue has never been about cash, but about protecting the system from being uncovered by the people for being fraudulent, insolvent, and corrupt.
The reality in today’s world is that a growing number of people are waking up to the fact that the system is bankrupt, and that collapse is not only a probability, but an inevitability. And trying to protect your wealth is not about guessing which asset or currency will survive and win out when the next global reserve is determined by a critical mass of countries in the coming months, but in realizing two fundamental truths.
That the banks are no longer a safe place to store your cash, and that gold is the one and only form of money that has before, and will again, survive any tribulation that befalls our global fiat currency system.
Kenneth Schortgen Jr is a writer for Secretsofthefed.com, Examiner.com, Roguemoney.net, and To the Death Media, and hosts the popular web blog, The Daily Economist. Ken can also be heard Wednesday afternoons giving an weekly economic report on the Angel Clark radio show.