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The Cashless society: A huge threat to our freedom

basil_hallwardApr 8, 2018, 7:00:20 PM
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Image credit: consciousshif2012.files.wordpress.com


This post was first published in 2015 under my Daily Stirrer imprint. Cashless society and the threats it poses have been a theme of my sites for some years now, and this seemed like a good post to open the topic at Minds

Econgularity, a word coined by Scott A. Shay, chairman of Signature Bank as shorthand for economic singularity, is an ugly sound that describes a very ugly trend in globalism. At a time when time when technology makes it possible to conduct all one's transactions electronically and the collaboration between governments and internet technology companies makes it possible for agencies of the state to track and monitor our every move, the econgularity is, according to Shay, the moment when government's desire to control and the corporate obsession with manipulation of the public through big data analysis will converge to push the people's of the developed world into a cashless society in which our privacy and our ability to control our own finances disappears.

This will happen in such a way as to permit governments and corporate cartels to exercise almost complete control over all human behavior.

In an interview with CNBC's "Closing Bell" some time ago, Signature Bank Chairman Scott Shay talked about how close we are to becoming a cashless society and the huge threat it it will pose to individual liberty and personal autonomy.

While this may sound like a paranoid conspiracy theory to those who trust western governments and big authority completely, as a former Information Technology Consultant who spent quite a lot of time working in the banking and finance sector, I have been aware since the late 1980s that such was the long term agenda. The technology is already available, not fully secure or reliable but when were security and reliability ever major issues to corporate entitites like Microsoft or Google, to make total surveillance of all human activity a frightening reality.

Technological advances, mainly in the nature of increased memory capacity and larger processor arrays, have led to the creation of algorithms that can instantaneously review financial transactions, determining the nature, location and even the appropriateness of a purchase decision. This data has been collected by technology companies, sold to and used by banks, credit and debit-card companies.

When cardholders receive fraud alerts after a transaction that looks out of line with the crdholder's normal purchasing the fraud alert they receive is a benign example of this. When I visit the Russia Today website and for the next few days am bombarded with ads offering dates with "gorgeous Russian girls" is a slightly more sinister manifestation. Another example was when researching for an article on the scandalous interest rates charged by payday loans companies I visited a couple of websites for payday loan providers. Not only did I get adverts for payday loans on my screen as I browsed, but mu inbox was inundated with emails from dodgy money lenders.

As shown above then, the technologies that can serve to protect consumers, but are already being used to manipulate and control control consumer behavior. In 2010, Visa and MasterCard in the USA bowed to government pressure and banned all online-betting payments from their systems. This made it virtually impossible for gambling sites to continue operating regardless of their jurisdiction or legality. Clearly then it is also possible for the health records of an overweight individual could be used to trigger an internet filter which would block their purchase of any sugary drink or snack, takeaway food or anything deemed by government snoopers to be unhealthy. Purchases through a credit or debit card can be declined by the card company, cash purchases cannot. It may seem like a scene from a far-fetched dystopian-future-world television show but it is possible right now.

Now you may be one of those people who believe it is right and proper for government to interfere in the lives of individuals for their own good, personally I value freedom more highly than anything and am also a great believer in evolution. And if we set ourselves up to prevent the natural extinction of those who weaken the race with their self destructive tendencies, we are engineering our own extinction.

Some 'progressive liberals' out there would say this is a good thing, the world would be better off without humans. Such selfish stupidity is obviously counter productive so people who think that way should be encouraged to remove themselves from the human race and let the rest of us get on with evolving.

We in the developed world are already well on the way to becoming cashless societies. According to a MasterCard study, 80 percent of U.S. consumer transactions are electronic. In Sweden, one observer estimates that only 3 percent of transactions are made with currency. (Swedish friends tell me this is not true, it deliberately ignores a vast trade in contraband liquour and cigarettes and a host of trades in what we might call 'the dark economy'.

Governments,  big banks and mainstream media are also supporters of a cashless society as the indeed costs of producing, managing and handling currency and coins are greater than the cost of providing online banking infrastructure. Fiscal policy could also be much more efficiently implemented without currency circulating, since it would then be easy to implement negative interest-rates thus making people pay for the privilege of holding funds in their account.

But there is also a sinister risk to a cashless society. Singularity, a term borrowed from astrophysics, is defined in economic terms as the point at which technological advancement will "radically change human civilization and perhaps even human nature itself." It is impossible to know if this will actually happen, but a cashless society would certainly give governments unprecedented access to information and power over citizens and thus enable those governments to make the entire population dependent on government services / handouts. And once politicians and bureaucrats have the power to do something, we can be sure they will use and abuse it. The U.S. and British governments are already using the snooping and big-data collection abilities of the internet in some frightening ways.

The technological command of GCHQ and the National Security Agency has been widely reported on and does not need repeating here. Suffice it to note, that it would be no challenge for the NSA or certain other government agencies to monitor any company or consumer transaction in real time, if it so desired.

The threat posed by this push towards a cashless society then is no conspiracy theory, but a real and current threat that we must all unite to resist. How? Use cash for as much of your activity as is possible without inconveniencing yourself. Do not respond to the scvaremongring about muggers and thieves, these days you are far more likely to be robed or scammed online than mugged in the street. Avoid online banking. Use local stores (Once you take into account delivery charge,Amazon are no cheaper than your local book shop (if you are lucky enough to live in a town that still has one). Support independent local traders when you can, not only does that protect your independence, it helps preserve our communities which are also under threat. And when the time comes, vote for the candidate that opposes globalisation, do you really think a global government will have the est interests of your community at heart.

Check out the full Cashless Society Omnibus page at greenteeth digital publishing

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