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The End of Cash; The End of Freedom

2017 July 19
by Ian Welsh

Image by TW Collins

Recently, the Indian government took its high value bills out of circulation, in order to fight corruption. This has been bad for the economy, not just because the gray economy is large in India, but because India is a place where a ton of business is done by cash, not by credit.

In France, because of “terrorism,” cash purchases are now limited to one thousand euros.

In many countries, there is a push to move away from cash, towards electronic payments. Electronic payments are, of course, easier for governments to track.

The obvious point is about taxation; you can tax money you know about. But the less obvious point is about control and surveillance: If everything is done electronically, you can know who is doing what, because spending is doing. Nothing meaningful can be done in the modern world without money following it. People need money to live and money must be used to buy any goods involved.

Anything that can be seen can be controlled. Readers may remember when PayPal, Visa, and Mastercard all decided to cut off payments to Wikileaks. I know it’s common on the left now to hate Wikileaks, but only a fool doesn’t understand the power involved in stopping someone from getting money.

In the legal nootropics scene (substances for boosting performance, especially mental), banks have simply refused to allow nootropics firms to do business, even though what they are selling is perfectly legal. This has put people out of business. It is not a minor matter.

In previous years, banks would either not lend to Blacks or they would charge them more than whites; they judged based on criteria which was not then, nor is it now, any of their business. Who or what is discriminated against varies with the fears and mores and politics of the time.

Every time someone talks about getting rid of cash, they are talking about getting rid of your freedom. Every time they actually limit cash, they are limiting your freedom. It does not matter if the people doing it are wonderful Scandinavians or Hindu supremacist Indians, they are people who want to know and control what you do to an unprecedentedly fine-grained scale.

Meanwhile, we have blockchain technology. Blockchains have ledgers: They keep track of every single transaction performed.

Evangelists of blockchains seem to think that because they make encrypted electronic money possible, they are wonderful, but what I see is actually a totalitarian technology; a way of keeping minute track of every single transaction, ever.

Cash isn’t completely anonymous. There’s a reason why old fashioned crooks with huge cash flows had to money-launder: Governments are actually pretty good at saying, “Where’d you get that from?” and getting an explanation. Still, it offers freedom, and the poorer you are, the more freedom it offers. It also is very hard to track specifically, i.e., who made what purchase.

Blockchains won’t be untaxable. The ones which truly are unbreakable will be made illegal; the ones that remain, well, it’s a ledger with every transaction on it, for goodness sakes.

(Saying this will likely lead to some blockchain evangelist screaming in the comments, because fanatics can’t see the downside of what they are fanatical about, only the exaggerated upsides.)

We are moving towards a panopticon society in which everything you do can be tracked. Everything, including inside the so-called privacy of your house. As biometrics like gait tracking and infrared identification become better, as we put surveillance devices in our houses, and as we continue to carry bugs and tracking devices with us everywhere we go (and paying for the privilege of it) we are creating, as the tired line runs, a dystopian surveillance society that reaches far beyond anything imagined in 1984. (Remember, Big Brother could not record, for example.)

We are creating a society where even much of what you say, will be knowable and indeed, may eventually be tracked and stored permanently.

If you do not understand why this is not just bad, but terrible, I cannot explain it to you. You have some sort of mental impairment of imagination and ethics.

Understand, however, that getting rid of cash is part of this. Understand that blockchains, “coins” do not have to ultimately be a technology of freedom, but can easily be a totalitarian technology. Understand that virtually no one in a position of power is your friend on this: They want to know, they want to control, they want to be able to decide how you spend your money and your time, and they want to have an electronic dossier on you which is complete, and which will be usable to destroy you, because no one has never done or said something which cannot be made to look not just bad, but terrible and illegal, especially if you can pick, say, ten quotes or actions out of a lifetime.

The only way to protect yourself against the surveillance state will be to become a complete and utter drone who has never done or said anything interesting. It’s too late for the olds, but those who grow up in it will understand, and will become nothings because of it.

We are moving very steadily towards a totalitarian state which will make the Stasi look like bumbling amateurs, and we are doing so with little murmur, and often voluntarily.

The only thing likely to derail this, oddly, is catastrophic environmental change and collapse.

Yay?


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73 Responses
  1. LorenzoStDuBois permalink
    July 19, 2017

    The tell that the taxation justification is cynical horseshit is that there is more untaxed wealth than ever before for corporations and the wealthy.

    P.S. “It sucks that everything you say will be stored permanently. Also, please enter your email address to submit a comment.”

    I’m kidding you but, still…

  2. Gunther Behn permalink
    July 19, 2017

    An Example Torn From The Current Headlines Dept.: The New York Times reports that Dennis Hastert, serial child molester and former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives (odd, innit, how those two descriptors placed together provoke no surprise) was recently released from Federal Prison to a halfway house to serve the last of a 15-month sentence for his crimes.

    Hastert’s abuse of teenage wrestlers as he coached at Yorkville High School in Yorkville, Ill., from 1965 to 1981, only came to light because he had made cash payments to at least one of his victims — roughly $1.7 million over four years. For the first two years of that arrangement, Hastert gave his former victim $50,000 roughly every six weeks, “but then began structuring his payments to evade detection after bank officials questioned him in April 2012”.

  3. John permalink
    July 19, 2017

    This fragile electronic system will disappear along with a lot of other things as the Anthropocene extinction progresses.

  4. StewartM permalink
    July 19, 2017

    We are moving very steadily towards a totalitarian state which will make the Stasi look like bumbling amateurs, and we are doing so with little murmur, and often voluntarily.

    I have tried to explain this to people about the (highly encouraged by the PTB) migration away from computing devices where you had root access (traditional PCs and laptops) to the smartphone/tablet interfaces where you are just a user, not root, and can only install apps that are approved. It’s bad enough that people use even root computers that utilize proprietary closed-source software that they can’t be sure is betraying them for its real masters, but going one step further where you deny yourself the possibility of taking any countermeasure by giving up root control is even worse.

    Corey Doctorow has explained this well:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUEvRyemKSg

    And there’s this shorter explanation about the danger of cloud computing:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMyDGesEd9s

  5. V. Arnold permalink
    July 19, 2017

    Hmm, I have often said that the end of cash is the end of freedom; on this blog.
    Ending “cash” will be a grave move for the serfs of the world and a disaster for the U.S. citizens.
    Personal sovereignty will cease to exist.
    Sovereighnty is the new target for elimination; and the end of a free society across the planet.
    But then, I guess, we get the thing we deserve…

  6. nihil obstet permalink
    July 19, 2017

    I guess this is the crash after the “Why There Is More Reason To Hope Today Than In Decades” of last week. OK, my giddy euphoria has dissipated.

    We must move into a radically egalitarian society that does not grant much power to anyone. We must undermine all the principles of hierarchy that justify a few people controlling everyone else, including the meritocracy that most Americans continue to cling to. I don’t think we can maintain privacy, but then neither did our hunter-gatherer ancestors. They appear to have had the answer in a total openness that enmeshed everyone in mutual relationships.

  7. someofparts permalink
    July 19, 2017

    I read somewhere that Tom Stoppard and Terry Gilliam were not able to work together comfortably because of their different work styles. Stoppard expected to take the story idea, seclude himself for a couple of months and then emerge with the complete first draft of the script. Gilliam needed a diametrically different approach and expected to be constantly interacting with writers throughout the workday. That story made me wonder if claiming privacy and finding value in it were on a generational decline.

  8. Ghostwheel permalink
    July 19, 2017

    >>>The only thing likely to derail this, oddly, is catastrophic environmental change and collapse.

    It is most passing strange to witness within oneself the growing mindset in which ecocide is like unto the calvary charge that comes to one’s besieged rescue.

  9. realitychecker permalink
    July 19, 2017

    Hard to imagine how one can have anything like freedom when there is no privacy. Impossible to me, in fact.

    As a teen in the 1960’s, I knew that if I could not see anyone watching me, I could get away with doing anything, limited only by my own conscience and character.

    How quickly our society has been transformed.

    I would not want to live in the future they are fashioning for us.

  10. EmilianoZ permalink
    July 19, 2017

    Or we can decide to accept each other as imperfect human beings, each with his own idiosyncrasies and frailties, not to expect anybody to be pure as white snow.

    Technologically it’s already too late, the panopticon is already here and here to stay. All we can do is change ourselves. In France people will easily forgive politicians for stuff like marital infidelities.

  11. realitychecker permalink
    July 19, 2017

    @ Emiliano

    Shall we forgive them for illegal wars and rampant kleptocracy as well?

    I think I prefer to rage against the dying of the light that is freedom.

  12. realitychecker permalink
    July 19, 2017

    @ Ghostwheel

    Passing strange, indeed. I also sometimes find myself comforted by the idea that the other living things might once again control the planet.

    Survival of the fittest lol.

  13. Steeleweed permalink
    July 19, 2017

    $1000 bills were taken out of currency, supposedly to make it more difficult for drug cartels to launder their money. Doesn’t seem to have been very effective, does it? Particularly with major banks doing it for them.

    And you are correct that climate change will eventually bring down the world’s ability to support the IT infrastructure required.

    Meanwhile, to paraphrase John Michael Greer: Downsize now while it’s comparatively painless instead of waiting for The Collapse. Build a lifestyle that is more self-sufficient, minimizing the need for money. Joe Bageant noted that before the Great Depression and WWII moved country folks to the cities, it was a ‘labor economy’ rather than a ‘money economy’.

    Don Henry Ford Jr once remarked that he had way more than he needed – as long as the trucks kept running. If the trucks stopped running, he wouldn’t have anywhere near enough. But at least he understands what it will take to survive – as long as the world is still habitable (which is not guaranteed).

  14. July 19, 2017

    Well stated Ian. The thing that strikes me is the sheer speed at which it’s happening. Certainly in the lifetimes of everybody posting here. The old privacy arguments almost seem quaint now as folks enthusiastically line up to give their privacy (and usually money) away to Apple, Google, Verizon, Amazon, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook et al. In some ways the government powers that be are merely playing catch-up to/with their corporate cousins.

    They’ve been priming us for the end of cash for a while now by limiting it as you mentioned and making it a practical pain in the ass to spend. Notice how many stores won’t accept anything above a $20 nowadays? Notice how much easier it is to use a debit card as opposed to tracking down an ATM that doesn’t have a ridiculous surcharge and then only being able to withdraw money in certain denominations? I doubt that’s just a coincidence.

    Unfortunately, the overall die has been cast, and stuff like blockchain and the further restrictions are just wrapping up the loose ends.

  15. The Stephen Miller Band permalink
    July 19, 2017

    As well, organizations are now requiring links to your Social Media Accounts to review as part of the Job Application process so they can get a “complete” profile of you, both Online & Offline. Background Check Companies already do this, but organizations are now explicitly requiring this information as part of the application process.

    Pretty soon, we’ll all have our very own Barcodes identifying us Useless Eaters.

  16. The Stephen Miller Band permalink
    July 19, 2017

    Evolution — Isn’t It Grande?

  17. July 19, 2017

    From May 2009: Of mice and the best laid plans of men …

    It is our great collective misfortune that the scientific community made its decisive diagnosis of the climate threat at the precise moment when an elite minority was enjoying more unfettered political, cultural, and intellectual power than at any point since the 1920s. Naomi Klein

    They won’t enjoy it for much longer. They may have played a long game, quite possibly a thousand years, but they never accounted, never planned, for a changing atmosphere that doesn’t give a flying fuck about mice and the best laid plans of men.

    I often despair of humanity, seeing the mass as that of maggots: a few will evolve and escape as flies, the vast majority will consume the host and die, we as a species, the human species, as a “race”, the human race, today stand at a cusp, an iteration, in the evolution, in the maturing, of humankind. But if we don’t abandon – outgrow – this irrational dependency on adolescent fairytales and attendant adolescent squabbles over whose imaginary dog has the bigger dick… if we don’t stop doing what we are doing, we may very well not survive at all.

  18. hhoran permalink
    July 19, 2017

    Not to dispute any of the points in your post, but it leaves out the most important driver of the movement to eliminate cash–it gives financial institutions who already have huge anti-competitive market power total control over every transaction in the economy. Intermediaries like Visa already extract 2-3% of the value of major transactions–going “cashless” allows them to extract this from everything. Settlement systems based on cash were a “public good” for hundreds of years–governments ensured that cash transactions incurred zero settlement costs. The “Cashless Movement” is an attempt to privatize this system, and allow financial institutions to establish a tollbooth between every buyer and seller everywhere.
    Yes, the “Cashless Movement” is also supported by national security types and other “big data” players who see long-term value in having records of everything individuals do, but the major force behind the movement is the financial industry.

  19. someofparts permalink
    July 19, 2017

    So we come to the sad, disorienting realization that possible ecocide is better than the future we would otherwise be facing as batteries in some billionaire’s Matrix.

    John Michael Greer says that people will fight to hang on to the idea of progress and resist accepting a future where a family standard of living stays the same generation after generation. Sounds to me like, in the context of this conversation, people here would be okay with a more meager, pastoral future if it included a break with technology that made the total surveillance future of our nightmares impossible.

  20. Blissex permalink
    July 19, 2017

    «Every time someone talks about getting rid of cash, they are talking about getting rid of your freedom.»

    Sometimes I am surprised by the unrelenting optimism of our blogger, and this is a clear example, because he talks as if cash will disappear for everybody, and the transactions of everybody will be surveilled and enabled or disabled by the state government; that is that even the earnings and spending of politicians, CEOs and business and property owners will become transparent to tax and law enforcement agencies, and that governments will therefore be able to eliminate tax evasion, illicit earnings, and money laundering even by the elites. That is the unrelenting optimistic aspect.

    But all the proposals to end cash involve nothing like that: even today politicians, CEOs and business and property owners do transactions between foreign entities, always outside the reach of national authorities, between rigorously anonymous nominee accounts and shell corporations in two different tax havens and money laundering centers. For smaller payments those people already use prepaid, anonymous credit cards issued by “banks” in those centers. I have seen some of them never use cash already, and maintain complete anonymity and untraceability, which I guessed also to avoid paying income taxes.

    There is no substantive plan on how to make those transparent and subject those to negative interest rates (also known as tax on savings) and the like.
    The plan is simply to make sure that only the servant classes be forced to settle all payments through “company store” accounts, while the master class who can afford it use real, anonymous money shielded by international jurisdictional differences. Just like in the past, when the serfs in a village bought everything “on account” from the manor’s store while the lords paid each other in good, anonymous, internationally portable gold tokens.

    To give you an idea of how pervasively the master class already use anonymous transactions between foreign nominee accounts, here is a comment on a blog that describes an obvious situation:

    London is indeed full of oligarchs from the USA to Outer Mongolia,hell bent of out spending and out doing their neighbours,if they even bother to turn up. Running a small cleaning company in the magic areas over the last few years has been insane.The demand for our cleaning services is high and we are able to turn down the so called oligarchs who whine about price but never about the quality, of course it won’t last
    Many of our payments are coming from North African based banks within the Spanish territories ,Morocco, Algeria and most unusual Mali,who seems to issue a huge number of loaded debit cards for payment of services. In very recent years,many of the houses we clean, have been mortgaged to once again Mali based banks,although they have very familiar names, eg Santander.

  21. different clue permalink
    July 19, 2017

    @John,

    The last huge heat-spike we think we know about from retrospective studies into traces of the deep ancient past has been called the PETM . . . the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum. That makes for an easy-to-remember acronym.

    Perhaps we can ease the passage of the Coming Big Heat Rising by giving it an equally easy-to-remember acronym. I would suggest HATM . . . for Holocene Anthropocene Thermal Maximum.
    If anyone wants to try using that to see if they can inject it into the language, feel free. If anyone wants to craft a better acronym, that would be worth trying too.

  22. different clue permalink
    July 19, 2017

    When I said “ease the passage of” . . . I meant to say ” ease the passage into the public mind of”

  23. July 19, 2017

    Other examples of the downsides of losing cash:

    Censorship. A few years ago, PayPal and the credit card companies decided that they didn’t like certain types of erotica/porn and closed accounts of anyone that sold them. None of the types were illegal, and many of them weren’t even that far out of the mainstream.

    Marijuana. A major problem of the industry here in Colorado is that almost all banks won’t do business with them. That means they’re high cash businesses. If cash went away, then what?

    Cash keeps the cultural fringes alive.

  24. Blissex permalink
    July 19, 2017

    «The plan is simply to make sure that only the servant classes be forced to settle all payments through “company store” accounts, »

    Put another way, people who seem to think that the panopticon will end bribery, tax evasion, money laundering, etc. for everybody are rather mistaken, the panopticon will substantial, powerful minorities outside it.
    Only the servant classes will be paid and buy stuff in scrip from the company store, the master class will use real cash in one form or another, and it has been so for most of history, as the book “Debt” by Graeber quite entertainingly summarizes: there have been almost always two payments systems, one for masters and one for servants, and the one for servants was controlled by the master. Except for perhaps 100-200 years recently.

    As to the past 100-200 years there is another exception: for most of history the servant classes were under total constant surveillance by their masters. The village shop, the village priest, the village doctors, the village constables, the village snitches were constantly reporting everything about everybody to the lord of the manor; in practice the servant classes lives indentured into a plantation and if a servant tried to run away from total surveillance in their plantation they could only go so far before being pursued and captured and taken back (e.g. it was illegal for the servant classes to own horses), or in some cases they could just end up in a new village subject to total surveillance by someone else. Or they could become outlaws and live in the forests, outside “civilization”.

    Then for the past 100-200 years transport and commerce technology outran surveillance technology: people moved to large cities where the technology to keep track of everybody was impossible, so life in cities was effectively anonymous, and running away to a far away city in the the city authorities managed to focus their surveillance on someone was both cheap enough and ended surveillance.

    But surveillance technology has caught up: you can no longer ran away to Boston to Chicago if the master class of Boston wants to ruin you, and build a new life, or from Chicago to Los Angeles. Now all banks, all shops, all traffic cameras, all phones, all transport systems, are linked into nation-wide systems, and even across nation across the whole “first-world”. The only option is to escape into the second or third world, that is again into the wilderness, the forests outside “civilization”. The model is again that the servants classes are indentured to a plantation, where total surveillance on them but not their lord, is the norm.

    Many in the servant classes, especially the newly retired from the upper-middle classes, have enthusiastically supported politically the return to indenture and total surveillance in newly defined “plantations”, because they think of themselves as belonging in the master class, or at least being “trusties” of the masters. They are wrong, but self-delusion is strong.

  25. Blissex permalink
    July 19, 2017

    «Cash keeps the cultural fringes alive.»

    Look at it from the point of view of the smug upper-middle classes: do the cultural fringes make house and share prices “bigger and better”? Do they make the wages of the hired help “more affordable”? If not, why should they care. Their motto is “the illusion of security for me at any cost to someone else”. Why would then they think to use their votes and campaign donations for keeping the cultural fringes alive instead of bigger property prices and smaller wages?

  26. Ian Welsh permalink*
    July 19, 2017

    Agreed on most points with Blissex, though there always places and times where the teeming masses couldn’t be surveiled, or that were out in buttfuck nowhere.

    This surveillance, however, requires a lot less personal attention. That will matter. One of the problems of the past is that less-surveillance societies tended to outcompete more surveillance societies, because surveillance was very expensive and produced people who were not creative.

  27. Ché Pasa permalink
    July 20, 2017

    +1 Blissex

  28. July 20, 2017

    You, the little people, have to expose your transitions – the big people hide most things off of shore.

  29. The Stephen Miller Band permalink
    July 20, 2017

    About Blissex’s quote — one place to start, as a Cornerstone & Catalyst for True Resistance, is to stop cleaning their f*cking homes, literally & figuratively.

    Think of all The Lowly IT Techs who help make this happen. So many Little People who fail to see they’re Little People aid The Big People in their endeavor to enslave Humanity. It’s ever been so since The Dawn of Civilization.

    Social Evolution requires that WE, it’s not WE yet but it needs to be for there to be any positive change, alter this Basic Equation of Enslavement and stop incarcerating one another for the audacity of Living.

  30. V. Arnold permalink
    July 20, 2017

    Blissex
    July 19, 2017
    The only option is to escape into the second or third world, that is again into the wilderness, the forests outside “civilization”. The model is again that the servants classes are indentured to a plantation, where total surveillance on them but not their lord, is the norm.

    +1 Blissex; quite a post; and you hit all the important points.
    I think most will not fully understand what you have said; but, so be it.

  31. Peter permalink
    July 20, 2017

    @DC

    You might want to read and try to understand what was discovered about the PETM before injecting more confusion and misinformation about GW into the Warmer’s weak minds.

    Even the researchers who thought they had found a geological example of CO2 caused GW had to admit that further research showed that the temperature spike occurred a few thousand years before the CO2 spike so there is no support for the AGW theory here. That hasn’t stopped them from speculating and trying to rodger the data to fit their preconceived notions.

    This same heat first and CO2 later scenario may apply to Venus that shining example of runaway greenhouse gas caused warming that had no source for its CO2 but the heat created baking process of rock.

  32. July 20, 2017

    Thank you for this piece. I am an education activist and increasingly concerned with the ramifications of blockchain technology as linked to education vouchers and smart-contract/AI philanthropy. I think there are aspects of this technology and what is means for surveillance and control that most people are not thinking through fully. You may find this of interest. It is a piece I wrote linking digital education, smart cities, blockchain and impact investing. We are entering a brave new world, and I simply do no feel adequately prepared. https://wrenchinthegears.com/2017/07/13/smart-cities-social-impact-bonds-public-educations-hostile-takeover-part-ii/

  33. Blissex permalink
    July 20, 2017

    «One of the problems of the past is that less-surveillance societies tended to outcompete more surveillance societies, because surveillance was very expensive and produced people who were not creative.»

    Oh yes, but given a choice between slowly smothering the national technological base with total control, and losing total control more quickly, most master classes have chose the former. D Landes in “The wealth and poverty of nations” makes the splendid example of Portugal, who went from an empire builder and centre of diffusion of advanced technology in the 15th century to a backwater two centuries later after expelling the jews and most of their creative people because they were unapproved by the church. But the portuguese master class kept their feuds and empire for centuries after that.

  34. Anonymous permalink
    July 20, 2017

    About the blockchain and cash I don’t agree with him.
    Gov. backed electronic money is the worst.
    But cash is far from perfect, because it’s the government that prints it!
    How does that factor in to his “let’s avoid state control/totalitarianism”?
    The ledger contains transactions between account numbers, but not identities.
    A bitcoin user usually makes a new account for every new transaction. It’s made automatically.
    You would have to make some complex graph analysis to guess who has which account numbers.
    Plus, you can tumble bitcoins, e.g. put them all in the same account, then split them up to new ones
    In a graph, once every input goes into the same node you can’t distinguish anymore.
    Mostly though it’s not state controlled, no one can print the money. So I think blockchain wins for freedom hands down.

  35. The Stephen Miller Band permalink
    July 20, 2017

    Wow, Portugal, what a bunch of Dummies. Look at everything they missed out on. To think, if they didn’t expel their Jews, they would have The Bomb and the same holds true for Germany. There’s a lesson in there somewhere. Never expel the Jews. Or the Snakes. Ireland expelled all their Snakes and it doesn’t have The Bomb either. What about Muslims? What’s the penalty if America, if Trump & his Supporters have their druthers, expel the Muslims?

  36. realitychecker permalink
    July 20, 2017

    Can’t help noting that the Middle East kept their Muslims.

  37. The Stephen Miller Band permalink
    July 20, 2017

    Kleptocracy at its finest. Meanwhile, Washington D.C., which is nothing more than a Swamp Full Of Lawyers, can’t manage to incarcerate Trump & The GOP for Treason when they are clearly Traitors per, and under, The Law.

    It’s a Class War, folks, and Lawyers & Accountants ensure The Rich are winning and ensure The Rich will win.

    Sessions, Also Known As The Recuser, Reinstates Asset Forfeiture Policy At Justice Department

    The Justice Department announced their plans to reinstate the use of asset forfeiture, especially for drug suspects — making it easier for local law enforcement to seize cash and property from crime suspects and reap the proceeds.

    The practice has been criticized because it allows law enforcement to take possessions — such as cars and money — without indictments or evidence a crime has been committed.

    President Donald Trump himself was in favor of asset forfeiture, discussing the topic with sheriff’s around the country back in February.

    “So asset forfeiture, we’re gonna go back on. I mean how simple can anything be. You all agree with that I think? I mean do you even understand the other side on that?” Mr. Trump said at White House round table event.

    As Mr. Trump questioned members of the round table if legislation or an executive order would be needed “to put that back in business” a sheriff replied the law enforcement community just needed a sign of encouragement from the administration.

    “Okay, good, you’re encouraged! I love that answer. That’s better than signing executive orders and then these people take it and say oh, it’s so terrible. You’re encouraged! Asset forfeiture, you’re encouraged,” Mr. Trump replied.

  38. The Stephen Miller Band permalink
    July 20, 2017

    Yes, The Middle East kept their Muslims and they kept their Jews too, who are now The Palestinians, at least according to Shlomo Sand.

  39. Hugh permalink
    July 20, 2017

    We are moving towards a panopticon society in which everything you do can be tracked.

    This is key. As I like to say, if you can be tracked, you will be tracked. And if you are trackable, you are hackable, by the state, by the corps, by the guy down the street or across the world.

    GPS in cars and smartphones, “personal assistants” which listen in, iwatches, fitbits, the internet of shit/things, social media, email, the cloud, credit cards, blockchains, online shopping and banking, your browsing history, I’m sure I’m forgetting some. Electronic money is a natural extension to make your life more convenient and much easier to surveil. I am always surprised by how addicted so many millennials, and their parents are to their electronic devices. They have even coined a word “nomophobic” to describe their panic at being “unconnected”. I suppose I am old school. I don’t do social media or use a smart phone. I prefer thumbs to the cloud. And I like to pick and choose when and how much I am connected in so far as that is possible.

  40. July 20, 2017

    I’m still stuck on the WikiLeaks mention. The other day I heard it described as part of the “alt-right”. People are really trippin

  41. realitychecker permalink
    July 20, 2017

    @ TSMB

    I really don’t even know why I am bothering to reply to your hopelessly ignorant ass, but the point was about keeping your creative people, and the results of doing or not doing that. Jews were cited.

    Israel is at the top of the planetary heap for results in that regard, while the rest of the Middle East is stuck in the Dark Ages.

    Try pulling your head out of your ass every now and then, why don’t you? You would be surprised at what reality looks like.

  42. atcooper permalink
    July 20, 2017

    The rape charge Assange was hit with was enough to make many identity warriors swear off. More recently, there have been anti-Semitic smears.

    I’m of the techno anarchist persuasion myself, and resent like hell being grouped in with the gamer gaters.

    Between that shit, and the recent Russia mania, the Dems seem intent on driving out their firebrands.

  43. July 20, 2017

    We are moving very steadily towards a totalitarian state which will make the Stasi look like bumbling amateurs, and we are doing so with little murmur, and often voluntarily.

    No, those murmuring – actually shouting in one of those voiceless nightmares – are not heard and have no reliable means of pushing back. Seems to me that this shift from cash to rentier plastic and PayPal et al, has been increasingly instituted over the last decade, by forcing it on those most vulnerable, who have no voice in the matter, no matter how much they call their Governors, Fed State and Local Reps, newspapers, or start small blogs whose contents more times than not, don’t show up on searches till way after the fact [1], sometimes never at all. Of course they can’t afford attorneys and from what I’ve witnessed, first hand and far more than once, pro bono attorneys are either non-existent or worthless against the issues people are being brutalized with.

    As regards the push to cashless, an analogy I’m quite personally familiar with would be when California Governor Jerry Brown forced BofA cards in 2011 [1], onto those on Unemployment, State Disability and Pregnancy leave; without giving the option for direct bank account deposits instead. Governor Brown broke Federal law [4] by forcing vulnerable parties into a contract with B of A to access their only source of income. That illegal action was taken despite, and immediately succeeding, a BofA insider $10M plus customer data breach [2]; it was then immediately followed up with Brown’s horrid appointment of Retired BofA VP, Michael Rossi, as a Jobs Czar [3]. I was on long term unemployment at the time; which I’m tempted to rage about as to the specifics of those circumstances because I had a Profession and was very good at what I did (oops, my mistake!), especially since I ultimately ended up unemployed, uninsured, then near homelessness with a quite visible breast cancer tumor at the end of the day.

    When I received my BofA unemployment card in 2011, I went promptly to my bank so they could directly contact BofA to have my money deposited in my bank account; discovering that the senior bank employee I spoke with was equally enraged at the illegality of it as she was forced into a BofA card contract for her pregnancy leave. Despite the fact that my bank was willing to handle it, and set me up for a three way conversation and whatever else (bank email, fax, etcetera) was necessary, BofA refused to speak with them and informed me that the only way I could switch to direct bank deposit was via email (no letters allowed either) verification. Ugly enough the illegal contract and California providing personal identifying data without permission – BofA demanded everyone’s email address too, with no viable reason and holding its victims hostage with their only source of income.

    References (I’ve inserted some of the below urls with some spaces to hopefully avoid a spam snag):

    [1] See 08/11/11 EDD debit card BofA extortion h t t p : / / eddsucks.com / edd-debit -card-bofa-extortion / (see also h t t p : / / eddsucks . com / tag / boa ) ‘Interesting’ and more common than not, the preceding link never showed up in 2011 when I desperately searched for others outraged at that forced BofA contract; today was the first day I discovered it, which supports my point that the vulnerable who do fight back have no voice. Needless to say none of my calls to various legislators and non profits were taken seriously, after all it was Governor Moon Beam.

    [2] 05/24/11 Bank of America data leak destroys trust – The far-reaching fraud serves as a cautionary tale for all consumers who entrust virtually their entire financial lives to major companies. http://articles.latimes.com/2011/may/24/business/la-fi-lazarus-20110524

    [3] 081711 Gov. Jerry Brown makes jobs czar official http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/california-politics/2011/08/gov-jerry-brown-makes-jobs-czar-official.html

    …. Gov. Jerry Brown appointed former Bank of America executive Michael Rossi as his senior jobs advisor Wednesday.

    Announcing the appointment in a news release, Brown said Rossi will “streamline and invigorate the state’s economic development infrastructure” …

    California has the second highest unemployment rate in the country, nearly three points higher than the national average.

    Business leaders around the state have urged Brown to appoint a “jobs czar”

    Yes those same business leaders who refused to hire anyone unemployed no matter how experienced they were/are, and are the largest supporters of worker visas, versus hiring those well experienced who lived in the communities first.. Welp, as an advisor to the 49’s (see the piece the article links to), I’m sure Rossi helped vendors start quite a few stadium weenie stands.

    [4] on 01/28/13 AP’s Daniel Wagner wrote a piece titled Report: Unemployed people pay millions in needless fees under state-run payment-card programs (which I first found at WAPO, but it very shortly disappeared from WAPO, it’s still available here: http://www.startribune.com/report-states-force-jobless-to-pay-needless-fees-to-collect-benefits/188815601/ ) an excerpt (emphasis mine):

    …. People are using the fee-heavy cards instead of getting their payments deposited directly to their bank accounts. That’s because states issue bank cards automatically, require complicated paperwork or phone calls to set up direct deposit and fail to explain the card fees, according to a report issued Tuesday by the National Consumer Law Center [the report is at h t t p s :/ / www . nclc.org/ images/ pdf / pr-reports / report-prepaid-card-2013 . pdf – D], a nonprofit group that seeks to protect low-income Americans from unfair financial-services products. An early copy of the report was obtained by The Associated Press.
    ….
    In five states — California, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland and Nevada — unemployed people aren’t offered direct deposit at all. The report says that setup is illegal under a federal law that bars states from requiring benefits recipients to open an account at a particular bank.

    But get this, much to my horror when I visited that National Consumer Law Center site, thinking that surely there might be legal action taken against those five states, I found that the National Consumer Law Center had given Governor Brown the top rating for that forced BofA card, (despite acknowledging that he broke a Federal law on their attached Full Report pdf file of 47 pages, which many may not bother opening due to its size):

    2013 Survey of Unemployment Compensation Prepaid Cards https://www.nclc.org/issues/unemployment-compensation-prepaid-cards.html )

    NCLC’s survey of 42 states’ unemployment compensation prepaid cards reveals that fees are down, but some states still refuse to offer or inhibit the choice of direct deposit. ….

    Then at the bottom of the page, sadistically enough:

    Best cards
    California and New Jersey (Bank of America)
    Pennsylvania (JPMorgan Chase)

  44. Willy permalink
    July 20, 2017

    Jews? I was about to go on a ‘millennials drinking the convenience snake oil’ rant.

    Are these Jewish millennials we’re talking about?

  45. bob mcmanus permalink
    July 21, 2017

    We are moving towards a panopticon society in which everything you do can be tracked.

    Welp, if you are going to ref the post-structuralists, it is understanding that the theorists have moved past Foucault’s 1960s concept of the panopticon and disciplinarity. to Deleuze’s understanding of the “control society.” The point of Foucault was exactly the we are not being watched, the panopticon is the internalization and rationalization of disciplinary oversight so that the actual surveillance can be minimized. Think factory floor with just a few foremen. This changed with the decline of Fordism.

    http://libcom.org/library/postscript-on-the-societies-of-control-gilles-deleuze

    This is short and not very theoretical or abstract.

  46. jackiebass permalink
    July 21, 2017

    I believe you are describing the society that Orwell wrote about in his book 1984.

  47. bob mcmanus permalink
    July 21, 2017

    I believe you are describing the society that Orwell wrote about in his book 1984.

    I am not. This is tough, but I will try for a start.

    Late capitalism, post-capitalism (“post” because it has eaten everything) needs a maximum amount of creativity. individuation, difference, gradients in order to continue accumulation in the knowledge economy. This is Foucault’s “entrepreneurial self” of the late 70s biopolitics lectures. See the full Hiroko Takeda quote at in the hope thread below. “That is to say, governmentality in the contemporary setting functions by governing through individuals rather than governing of individuals.” “Governing through individuals” is *not* everybody watching and reporting on each other, nor the state with ubiquitous cameras either directly intimidating or instilling discipline.

    The surveillance state is reaction, and futile and counter to the capitalist forces.

    The idea (or really the tendency, it’s material, systemic and historical) is to maximize individual freedom in order to maximize exploitable production while making collectivization invisible and unthinkable.

    There was a blue-collar worker, woman, in the South who had gotten some community college and had gotten a good manufacturing job. She was one of three robot tenders on a night shift when the robot froze, she climbed inside to fix it, and was crushed.

    This is my image of the future. The blue collar worker in the robot factory has been will be given much of the initiative and responsibility for the intellectual work that used to be done upstairs. Beside the robot control panel may be a cad/cam component where the new worker can design the product and punch it in. But while she will be a precarious sub-proletarian, a worker unaware of her class status, she will think of herself as a free knowledge worker, an artist, with politics and social attitudes to match.

    “Governing through individuals” Individuals will enthusiastically reproduce a capitalism that they experience as the only possible freedom.

  48. V. Arnold permalink
    July 21, 2017

    D
    July 20, 2017

    Gilles Deleuze; interesting.
    I like Sheldon Wolen’s description of us, as in, an inverted totalitarianism; Deleuze would probably agree (maybe not?).
    In any event, we’re well into totalitarianism already.
    We’ve passed from a nation of laws onto, a nation of men; a few ultra-rich men.
    The closest model is the feudal system of England, with differences; so neo-feudal would seem appropriate if one needs a name.
    It’s important to realize the name is not the thing…

  49. bob mcmanus permalink
    July 21, 2017

    Sorry, Ian. Early morning, a little coffee and Cindy White, and I get garrulous. This is fun.

    Not 1984. Not even Brave New World. The “control society” will look out-of-control, will look like license and anarchy because control has evolved to the individual and emergence. And in fact, for those used to coercion, physical domination, or even hegemony, even ideological conformity, it will be out-of-control. But capitalist structures and hierarchies will emerge nevertheless.

    I mean, look around to see if the Handmaid’s Tale is imminent. What I see is every middle-class woman, including 80-yr-olds, getting covered in tattoos. Gay marriage, pot, youtube channels, ubiquitous and overt piracy, political factions like mushrooms, more new and good media than anyone has time to even list, let alone consume. Goodamn poptarts have a new flavour every month. We are not in an ascetic repressive society, nor are we headed that way.

    Sessions closed some dark net. Does anybody care? Will it work? He knows, we know, everybody knows nobody’s in charge.

  50. V. Arnold permalink
    July 21, 2017

    bob mcmanus
    July 21, 2017

    There was a blue-collar worker, woman, in the South who had gotten some community college and had gotten a good manufacturing job. She was one of three robot tenders on a night shift when the robot froze, she climbed inside to fix it, and was crushed.
    This is my image of the future.

    Yes, exactly!
    Thanks so much; you see clearly our future.
    THX 1138 (movie) is the perfect model of our future; not coming soon; already here; minus the hollywood effects!

  51. V. Arnold permalink
    July 21, 2017

    bob mcmanus
    July 21, 2017

    Wow, you’re on a roll!
    Keep going; this is great, kudos to you.

  52. The Stephen MIller Band permalink
    July 21, 2017

    Sessions closed some dark net. Does anybody care? Will it work? He knows, we know, everybody knows nobody’s in charge.

    We’re collectively becoming a Superorganism, one that devours the Planet entirely. A True Dictatorship of The Proletariat not emanating from Order but from Chaos & Anarchy.

    But, I doubt Sessions knows or cares to know, let alone Trump. Like Michael Shannon said in Take Shelter, “there’s a Storm coming….” and, I’ll add, we’re ALL….

    Riders On The Storm

    Praise Progress. The Storm won’t leave anyone behind or untouched, not even Portugal.

    We can’t stop what’s coming — that’s Vanity.

  53. July 21, 2017

    The government doesn’t “print the money”, Anonymous, the Federal Reserve, a collaboration of regional Corporate Banks that are “federal” in name only and rumored to be both unconstitional and contrary to the Founders’ intent, print tthe money.

    And control the computers that keep track.

  54. different clue permalink
    July 21, 2017

    @Peter,

    Have you invested in REITs or other funds based on seaside coastal assets in the Southern US?

  55. Peter permalink
    July 21, 2017

    The c9nversion to electronic money from cash/check is nearly complete in the US, no one imposed it. It was freely chosen by most people because it is convenient and relatively safe. There are hidden costs and the card companies will mine people’s habits for more gain but the government is interested in larger transactions not petty purchases. Using large amounts of cash on public purchases was restricted before debit cards became popular.

    The paranoia I see displayed about the surveillance state is the effect of the Panopticon idea. Our intelligence community can’t monitor everyone all the time but they can make people believe they can monitor anyone at any time without ever having the ultimate capability. They do go through mountains of money to examine mountains of data from everywhere to discover patterns, connections, anomalies and strange attractors. This is useful information for Big Brother and it can lead them back to individuals and groups.

    Most people end up on the zero not hero level of, likely to be spied on by Big Brother, but they do squawk about the injustice as if they were worth notice. Ian on the other hand has some connections and an audience which might draw some government scrutiny. His meddling in US elections and being a foreigner penetrating the Homeland to meddle in them might raise some red flags.

  56. July 21, 2017

    V. Arnold, re your above post:

    D

    July 20, 2017

    Gilles Deleuze; interesting

    Were you referring to my post, or was the “D” an accident? If you were referencing my post, I’m thinking maybe my phrase shouting in one of those voiceless nightmares rang a bell? I was referring to nightmares I’ve had where something deadly is about to happen and I scream but no sound comes out for anyone to hear and perhaps help ward off the danger.

    Never read any of Deleuze’, so I’m not sure. As a female, my first philosophy class poisoned me from desiring to read any books by male philosophers (long story and don’t have the energy to note much further on that subject).

    Then, by 2004, I had been so traumatized by back to back, to back incidents I won’t mention here, I found I no longer could read any of the bleakish books I once devoured. Before that, I much preferred authors whose philosophies peep through their writings [1] (versus as a Teacher down to a Pupil), true crime writers/crime mysteries, and the occasional essayist such as Joan Didion.

    Speaking of Joan Didion, I’m thankful she finally came around to at least partially seeing California underneath it all as the brutal (e.g. California Eugenics http://www.uvm.edu/~lkaelber/eugenics/CA/CA.html), homogenous Wonder Bread™ STATE that California has historically been. The temperate weather and unrelenting sunniness have much aided and abetted the utter faux concept of tolerant and meritocratic California to my thoughts; its mostly fascist politicians behave as if they created that sunshine, temperate weather, and highly diverse geography, versus the fact that they’re lampreys to those attributes for their own profit.

    Sorry I sound California centric here but it seems that much of what transpires here, as to the ghastly technocracy going on, spreads rapidly and rabidly, like a horrid disease to the rest of earth (along with the Moon and Mars), while the not noted gut of reality in Silicon Valley is this: 07/12/17 Working poor finding homes on four wheels in Mountain View – It’s a new phenomenon, say city officials and social workers http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/07/12/working-poor-finding-homes-on-four-wheels-in-mountain-view/ .

    Those non criminals born there who created that famous California GDP -with that ghastly inverse rate between high GDP and levels of poverty for decades, are now homeless and frightened every single hour of the day into their twilight nightmares.

    [1] e.g. Lord of the Flies; The Dollmaker; Crime and Punishment; Boule de Suif; The Seventh Cross; The Grapes of Wrath; Joy Luck Club; Beloved; Back Roads; The Samurai’s Garden; etcetera.

  57. Willy permalink
    July 21, 2017

    There’s a big difference between mindless paranoia and thoughtful caution that provokes discussion.

    With ever increasing population and technology, all potential concentrations of power, be it AGW mandates, or boxcutters on airliners, or carbon eating nanobots… are probably best thought out in advance of any problems.

    I don’t only necessarily believe that anything that can go wrong will go wrong, but that things can be made to go wrong if there’s a buck in it. Or power. For somebody.

  58. July 21, 2017

    [‘Name’ Redacted] PERMALINK
    July 21, 2017

    The conversion to electronic money from cash/check is nearly complete in the US, no one imposed it

    That ‘boldfaced’ (I boldfaced it) part of the above quote is an utterly venal and deadly lie.

    This will be my first and last response to its author, who is one of the following (to my thoughts): 1 quite immature and protected from reality in his own dominating class bubble, ignorant to the reality for millions in the US (billions across the earth as to destroying physical ‘cash’); 2 is being paid to gate keep in order to pay his rent/mortgage, no profit involved there; 3 or, the worst of the three, is deliberately gate keeping (in person, or via bot algorithm ‘commenter’) because he directly profits off of a cashless society; versus the immature class dominant blowhard, or, the paid gate keeper trying to escape homelessness.

    If the author is of the 1 first category, its his responsibility to venture outside of his dominating class (after all no one else is allowed to even live in his ‘neighborhood’ without threat of incarceration, or worse) or ultimately be doomed when all of the ‘underclass’ serving humans die of starvation and toxic eposure.

    If the author is of the 2 second category, shame on him, others have sacrificed to not to betray their peers.

    If the author is of the 3 third category, perpetrating misery for direct and abundant profit, good luck to you, it will not turn out well for you as you profit off of misery and death. You are as disposable as any other living being, and then some. Not a threat, I don’t care for the sight of abundant death and misery as you seem to, just a reality.

  59. July 21, 2017

    sigh, I’m feeing very guilty for utterly forgetting to include Metamorphosis (in particular); No Exit; and The Handmaids Tail, etcetera, etcetera, off that above short list I noted. Those writings had uttery escaped my cancer med fogged mind, as writings which affected me deeply.

  60. Ultra permalink
    July 21, 2017

    SMB: “As well, organizations are now requiring links to your Social Media Accounts to review as part of the Job Application process so they can get a ‘complete’ profile of you, both Online & Offline. Background Check Companies already do this, but organizations are now explicitly requiring this information as part of the application process.”

    There is a Federal law, the Stored Communications Act, that prohibits employers from requesting access to social media accounts that are private. Federal courts have already ruled that employers and educational institutions cannot require prospective employees and current employees to disclose their private Facebook accounts, for example. In addition, many states have laws that require employers and educational institutions to respect the private social media accounts of employees and students.

  61. Peter permalink
    July 22, 2017

    @D

    I was going to respond in kind to your noxious comment about my opinion based of my experiences but your second comment explains some of the confusion you saw in my few words about cash and cards.

    I’ve never been redacted before and that along with the venal lie BS made me picture a Bollywood drama queen but now I see someone facing catastrophe and projecting it.

  62. Ultra permalink
    July 22, 2017

    Ian Welsh: “Every time someone talks about getting rid of cash, they are talking about getting rid of your freedom. Every time they actually limit cash, they are limiting your freedom.”

    I’m not certain this is really true. The creation of digital money and digital property has created new ways to hide wealth from the authorities. Organized crime already uses private digital money to engage in money laundering practices, and it is easier than ever to create offshore accounts and shell corporations.

    A novel example: Wealth can be hidden by buying virtual properties and tools in virtual reality worlds, like Second Life, that both kids and adults participate in. These virtual properties and tools are worth real money: A magic sword was auctioned off on e-bay for $1,000. Some people even make their living by being expert gamers because they are able to sell their magic kingdoms, magic tools, and imaginary armies to the highest bidders. Buying, selling, and storing wealth as virtual properties using private digital currencies, some of which are created in places like Russia, it seems to me, would be difficult to monitor by central authorities. In some virtual reality games, people have complained to the police about their virtual property being ‘stolen.’ Quite often, the police don’t have the slightest idea how seriously such complaints should be taken, nor are they well-equipped to investigate such complaints. What happens when an anonymous hacker in Bulgaria is the person who stole your virtual property? If the central authorities are unable, or unwilling, to enforce property rights in social virtual worlds, then how can they tax such worlds? Even though such virtual properties are often worth real money, I’ve never heard of any governmental authority imposing a tax on such property, as they do with the transfer and ownership of tangible property. I’m not certain that the dinosaurs of central authority will be able to keep up with the ever-shifting virtual landscape of electronic media, property, and money, and how it interfaces with the more tangible world.

  63. realitychecker permalink
    July 22, 2017

    I’m virtually certain there is very little intelligent life left on earth.

    Beam me up, Scotty. Please.

    It’s getting so lonesome down here.

  64. Willy permalink
    July 22, 2017

    Snoop Dogg may have failed to promote himself to Lion, but you can buy one of his new bongs using Paypal. Had he or BFF homey Martha Stewart played their Trump cards right, it could be one of them as WH media chief and not just another Goldman Sachs guy. Meanwhile most travel blogs have many recommendations for foreign travelers to look “less American”.

  65. wendy davis permalink
    July 22, 2017

    @ Ian Welsh: you’ve written ‘I know it’s common on the left now to hate Wikileaks’; could i ask what you mean by ‘left’, and why that is?

    mr. wd had mentioned recently that when he shops for us, he’s blown away at the overwhelming use of plastic, this in a town of what, 9000? i’d have to assume both credit and debit cards, but still… i chucked when i’d read your ‘It does not matter if the people doing it are wonderful Scandinavians or…’. i’d thought of former prime minister, svoboda-loving (neo-nazis in ukraine) carl bilt, so…i’m agnostic on ‘wonderful swedes’, at least. but then, leaders don’t repreent the populace, as we know.

    but mr. wd had also mentioned that one of the Scandinavian nations is virtually cash free. i checked and found: ‘Sweden leads the race to become cashless society
    ‘Swedes are blazing a trail in Europe, with banks, buses, street vendors and even churches expecting plastic or virtual payment’

    the phone apps blew me away, tech idiot w/no cell phone that i am. but the other thing about plastic money is that seconds after a card is swiped, credits arrive in the recipients’ pocketses, where it can be used to make even more lucre immediately. no small thing on its own.

    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/jun/04/sweden-cashless-society-cards-phone-apps-leading-europe

  66. wendy davis permalink
    July 22, 2017

    @ D: i’m so sorry to hear you have cancer, and i hope the treatments banish it forevermore. a neighbor here is undergoing treatment for a rare blood cancer, and he and his miz have explained how far improved, and quite tailored to the sub-molecular level needed, cancer treatments are now. he is doing amazingly well. my best to you.

  67. July 22, 2017

    Wendy,

    Thanks much for your concern. Actually, I was quite lucky with the Non Standardized in the US (UUUGH) Neoadjuvant Hormonal Therapy versus surgery which I forcefully insisted on for my particular type of breast cancer. Unfortunately that treatment, while far less toxic than others, has some possibly permanent side effects, one of them cognitive.

    ******************

    Regarding Sweden’s imposed cashlessness:

    12/09/15 Sweden has declared war on cash http://www.businessinsider.com/sweden-has-declared-war-on-cash-2015-12

    …. Since July, interest rates in Sweden have lingered in negative territory, at -0.35 percent, forcing account holders to spend their money or else see their balances slowly melt away. Negative rates can also be found in Denmark and Switzerland, where they’re as low as -1.25 percent. The Swiss 10-year bond yield plummeted to -0.40 percent on Tuesday, which means people are paying the government to hold their “investment.”

    Nick Giambruno, senior editor of Casey Research’s International Man, calls negative interest rates in a cashless society a “scam.” His perspective is worth considering:

    “If you can’t withdraw your money as cash, you have two choices: You can deal with negative interest rates… or you can spend your money. Ultimately, that’s what our Keynesian central planners want. They are using negative interest rates and the “War on Cash” to force you to spend and “stimulate” the economy.

    The War on Cash and negative interest rates are huge threats to your financial security. Central planners are playing with fire and inviting a currency catastrophe.”

    Sovereign Man goes even further, writing:

    “Financial privacy has been destroyed. Banks are now merely unpaid spies of bankrupt governments, and they will freeze you out of your life’s savings in a heartbeat if some faceless bureaucrat orders them to do so.”

    (Regarding Scandinavia in general, this might be of interest: 01/27/14 Dark lands: the grim truth behind the ‘Scandinavian miracle’ Television in Denmark is rubbish, Finnish men like a drink – and Sweden is not exactly a model of democracy. Why, asks one expert, does everybody think the Nordic region is a utopia? https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/27/scandinavian-miracle-brutal-truth-denmark-norway-sweden. Regarding corruption at the top in Sweden there’s Steig Larson’s posthumous Millennium Series [The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo …] trilogy (yet another 3 books I feel bad for leaving off my list of deeply affecting reads); and yeah, it’s not the populace at large so much as the horrid handful running things, globally and locally.)

  68. July 22, 2017

    (oohhh uugh, The Samurai’s Garden not The Samurai’s Sword, on that above reading list I wish I had never mentioned at this point, sorry.)

  69. July 22, 2017

    Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

  70. July 22, 2017

    The Razor’s Edge

  71. Peter permalink
    July 23, 2017

    I thought there must be some reality behind this pearl-clutching and sovereign ranting about the end if cash and whatever freedom it bought. This seems like more fake news looking at what actually happened in India where it’s claimed their government took their people’s cash away.

    The people of India still live their lives spending cash that is in the form of new bills just like the old ones but better, The transition to the new bills was abrupt and unannounced and it created confusion and some disruption. The important thing it did was leave the counterfeiters and criminals with large amounts of the old currency holding worthless bags of paper.

    I don’t think that Asia or Africa have the infrastructure to support electronic money so it can’t be imposed on most of them but the wealthier areas will adopt its use. People in Africa have begun moving money with cell-phones through small businesses that is distributed as cash.

    The negative interest rate paranoia in the West seems dated with interest rates rising but some people see conspiracy in the idea that the banks could charge depositors for holding their money.

  72. Willy permalink
    July 23, 2017

    And rapid-reproducing carbon eating microbes would mop up oil spills in a jiffy… until they mutated into something that ate everything carbon-based.

    Peter, it’s always something. You don’t like dystopian science fiction?

  73. Jessica permalink
    July 24, 2017

    Late to the dance again but I agree with Blissex about the re-establishment of the nearly universal surveillance that faded in the West with the shift from villages to the anonymity of cities since the Industrial Revolution. For the rest of history, things are more complex. James C. Scott’s “The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia” describes in detail the lengths that people in some areas went to free themselves of such control.
    Even he says that the areas where these specific techniques were used came under effective control of centralized states by around 1950, but the general principles still apply.

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