When The Tide Turns Into Cash
Here comes the “Better than Cash Alliance”.
So unless they can find a way to exempt themselves from this madness it will die in Congress.
The tighter they grip it, the more sand falls through their fingers.
Whistling past the graveyard for as long as they can, “living in the aborted moment”. This will never work for simple reason.
How will the criminals in government be able to keep taking their bribes?
If, suddenly, all transactions are electronic and subject to oversight they will suddenly have to become honest politicians, and we all know that will never happen.
Where do precious metals fall in with all of this? The establishment is “forbidden” to make any mention of or in any way (re)-legitimatize the metals as money or currency. Because any official mention, or so much as a simple audit, would immediately lift the thin veil that keeps the truth about money hidden.
The “Better Than Cash Alliance” Has an Orwellian Plan
In the fall of 1910, under the pretense of a duck hunting trip, a group of powerful bankers, political figures, and businessmen met at Jekyll Island, GA to plan the creation of a central bank for the United States. The “game” that this elite group of “hunters” brought back to their ivory towers of Lower Manhattan and Capitol Hill was the blueprint for one of the most destructive financial institutions in modern history, the Federal Reserve.
One hundred years later, another group of powerful bankers, political figures, and businessmen have converged to promote a cashless society, an economic system that would compel every man, woman, and child to utilize proprietary, government-monitored electronic systems to make purchases of any kind. This group, which calls itself the Better than Cash Alliance, is as dangerous as the group of “outdoor enthusiasts” that met at Jekyll Island that fateful early 20th Century November.
And, just like the Jekyll Island group sold their grand plans based on a lie (they claimed that the Fed would guarantee liquidity in times of financial panics), the Better than Cash Alliance is selling the idea of a cashless society based on the farce that eliminating cash would stimulate entrepreneurship among the poor. In reality, the elimination of cash would reduce a great many opportunities for entrepreneurship for people of few means.
Gone would be the informal businesses the working poor often operate: roadside produce stands, street performances, handicraft tables, and day labor. Contrary to the assertions of the BTCA, a cash-free society would limit entrepreneurship to those with the means to incorporate a business, afford the proprietary system required to accept payments, and understand the local, state, and federal tax burden the payment system would create.
Although they won’t admit it, the twelve central governments that currently support the BTCA (the U.S. is one of them) do so because a cashless society would enable them to track and tax every purchase made with sovereign currency within their borders. In addition to producing new government revenue streams, the payment systems would increase governments’ social engineering capabilities. They would compel consumers to purchase goods and services from tax-paying, licensed organizations.
Freelance service providers such as barbers, music teachers, and tutors would be forced to either jump through the hoops of incorporation or seek work with licensed businesses (which would inevitably take a cut of their earnings and subject the remainder to payroll taxes). The black market would also be squeezed, escalating the War on Drugs, and subjecting every “sin” and self-defense purchase to government scrutiny, under the guise of “national security”, of course.
A number of financial institutions, including, but not limited to Citi, Visa, and MasterCard, support the BTCA–for obvious reasons. In a cash-free world, these institutions would not only make profits on the front end by selling electronic payment devices and charging a fee for every transaction, but they would also make money on the back end by compelling everyone to deposit all of their earnings and cash holdings into their coffers. The BTCA claims that a cashless society would enable the poor to “participate in the financial system”.
In reality, it would compel everyone to patronize banks. And while a cashless society would be a windfall for the banking industry, it would place a heavy burden on the elderly, who often hold large amounts of cash and are hesitant (and in some cases, incapable) of making electronic financial transactions. Among the numerous social problems the BTCA’s plan for cashless society would create is that incidences of elder abuse would certainly increase.
Inevitably, some people would find a way to circumvent a government-mandated electronic payment system, at least for some purchases. Some would find ways to barter or use non-government-issued crypto or de facto currencies. (Interestingly, some black market circles use liquid Tide laundry detergent as a currency.)
From The Christian Monitor:
“As has been widely reported recently, an unlikely crime wave has rapidly spread throughout the United States and has taken local law-enforcement officials by surprise. The theft of Tide liquid laundry detergent is pandemic throughout cities in the United States. One individual alone stole $25,000 worth of Tide detergent during a 15-month crime spree, and large retailers are taking special security measures to protect their inventories of Tide. For example, CVS is locking down Tide alongside commonly stolen items like flu medications. Liquid Tide retails for $10–$20 per bottle and sells on the black market for $5–$10. Individual bottles of Tide bear no serial numbers, making them impossible to track.”
So some enterprising thieves operate as arbitrageurs buying at the black-market price and reselling to the stores, presumably at the wholesale price. Even more puzzling is the fact that no other brand of detergent has been targeted.
What gives here? This is just another confirmation of Menger’s insight that the market responds to the absence of sound money by monetizing highly salable commodities. It is clear that Tide has emerged as a subsidiary local currency for black-market, especially drug, transactions — but for legal transactions in low-income areas as well.
Indeed, police report that Tide is being exchanged for heroin and methamphetamine and that drug dealers possess inventories of the commodity that they are also willing to sell. But why is laundry detergent being employed as money, and why Tide in particular?
Menger identified the qualities that a commodity must possess in order to evolve into a medium of exchange. Tide possesses most of these qualities in ample measure. For a commodity to emerge as money out of barter, it must be widely used, readily recognizable, and durable. It must also have a relatively high value-to-weight ratio so that it can be easily transported.
Tide is the most popular brand of laundry detergent and is widely used by all socioeconomic groups. Tide also is easily recognized because of its day-glo orange colored logo. Laundry detergent can also be stored for long periods without loss of potency or quality. It is true that Tide is somewhat bulky and inconvenient to transport by hand in large quantities. But enough can be carried by hand or shopping cart for smaller transactions, while large quantities can easily be transported and transferred using automobiles.
Just like the highly publicized war on drugs that the U.S. government has been waging — and losing — for decades, it is doomed to lose its surreptitious war on cash, because the free market can and will respond to the demand of ordinary citizens for a reliable and convenient money.
For some, the elimination of cash would have little material effect on their lives. But, for most, the BTCA’s agenda is a tremendous threat to their individual and economic liberties.
Like the Jekyll Island duck hunters, the Better than Cash Alliance is a cabal of powerful people who are pushing a dangerous agenda that would harm average Americans while increasing the elite group’s power over them. Like Georgia mallards, the BTCA’s plans must be shot down.
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