Cash Is King

The following article from the Spectator Australia

Nicola Salvi’s Baroque Trevi Fountain sits in the centre of Rome. It is a relatively modern addition, built on the bones of the 19 BC original where it honours its ancient surroundings with dramatic Travertine figures. They watch over the tourists who are busy littering the fountain with cash.

If you throw one coin into the water, you will return to Rome. Two coins destine you for love with an attractive Italian. For three coins, you will marry them.

I took a coin in my right hand and tossed it over my left shoulder into the Trevi. No, I wasn’t keen on lashing myself to an Italian beau, but I wouldn’t mind walking through Rome’s streets again.

It is romantic to think of my coin remaining there, beneath the unusually blue waters, but every night the coins are swept from the fountain and used to help the poor. What is the value of a wish? €3,000 a day or €1.4 million a year.

How fitting that the capitalism of wishes and market of dreams reside within a city that helped secure the notion of freedom from the State using the power of coin. People do not intend to buy charity, but it is a consequence of their fleeting, selfish desire – as it is with every economy held together by millions of private purchases.

Cash is not merely the currency of the poor rattling onto our streets in front of buskers and beggars. As the German economist Lars Feld said, banknotes are pieces of ‘printed freedom’ that the citizens of a nation remain entitled to because they offer an ‘escape’ from all-out State control.

Instinctively, people understand that there is something special about cash even if they don’t use it every day. Fighting to protect cash will be the social war of the century. Once it is gone, the State will never allow its people that kind of private commerce again. Human laziness and the false allure of ‘convenience’ has gotten us halfway to this promised economic dystopia.

Why is cash ‘liberty’?

There are several reasons, one of which being the inherent anonymity former IMF Chief Economist Kenneth Rogoff begrudgingly refers to when ‘neither buyer nor seller requires knowledge of its history’ meaning that purchases remain private and beyond the sight of the State.

This explains why Citigroup chief economist Willem Buiter has written about the widely-held inclination to abolish cash and replace it with a central banking digital currency that promises to give governments increased economic power.

Governments meddling in the economics of the free market is the very last thing we need after our two-year preview of reckless, dogmatic, financially illiterate, coercive, cruel, and dictatorial behaviour demonstrated by every level of the political class. If anything, economic power needs to be taken away from the State, like putting police tape around the scene of their Covid crimes against the economy.

In today’s world, a cashless society does not mean a switch to paying via phones and credit cards. Instead, it provides the ability for the government to attach ‘conditions’ to transactions, such as identity, environmental carbon credits, social licences, or behavioural-based social credits like we see in China.

Purely digital systems represent the limitation of tender at the behest of the State – a devaluing of currency by wrapping it up in a political and ethical equation much like social media manipulates the news with shadowy algorithms.

Conor Friedersdorf was right when he said:

‘To eliminate cash is to say to hell with financial privacy. An end to cash would mean that every financial transaction is exposed to a third party.’

That third party would be the government through its Trusted Digital Identity policy in which it has clearly stated its intention to insert itself between every private business transaction, with the power to veto a purchase on the base of a customer’s identity.

What is to say that the World Economic Forum’s Digital Identity project, when paired with a cashless society (as is the stated goal of Australia’s Digital Economy Strategy 2030), wouldn’t result in invalid vaccine passports locking citizens out of the economy? It’s one thing to be shouted at by a tri-masked Covid lunatic, but quite another to be digitally excommunicated from the entirety of civilisation.

Cash is the only means by which citizens retain some level of independence from totalitarian commands. It represents the security of the free market as the solution to government wickedness.

There are those that complain (disingenuously – and including former Prime Minister Scott Morrison) that removing cash is about cutting out crime. What rubbish. As someone who personally cracked a credit card fraud ring worth tens of thousands, I can assure you that criminal activity will exist in every medium humanity has available to it.

One might point out that the sale of art is one of the largest money laundering enterprises around, and yet I don’t hear economists calling for a bonfire made of Monets, Picassos, Brett Whiteleys, and Rembrandts. Commerce is a closed system. You can no more easily defraud the tax department with cash than you can with card because the seller’s stock goes walkabout either way and must be accounted for. That is why we have audits.

No. The government has long desired minute oversight into who is buying what. It doesn’t need this information to balance its taxes, it wants it. Once it has the information, a league of bureaucrats will set about devising ways to exploit our purchasing behaviour. The eco-fascists will try to stop us buying meat. The health nuts will curb our sugar intake. And the psychos will punish consumers who fail to comply.

Cash is not the facilitator of citizen crime. Cash gives citizens protection against the crimes of the State.

Learn it. Repeat it. Spread it.

Economic control is like the State’s first coin tossed into the fountain. It is the lesser of its wishes when it comes to the abolition of cash. First and foremost, this is about the power of the State. Let us return again to Rome and the founding families that served as the necessary counterbalance to the government.

Cash (along with its partner ‘privacy’) form the dividing line between ‘public’ and ‘private’. Families were the strongest units in the ancient world. Taking Rome as the example, private laws sat above public law. Family groupings operated like mini kingdoms that accumulated property, armies, and treasure. When large tribes (comprised of these families) collected together in an area, they created a city. Cities forged empires.

The hierarchy of family groupings into their collective tribes is where we get the definition of ‘publicas’ or public from. It is why ‘the State’ is interchangeable with ‘the public sector’ in modern politics. Christianity, and thus Western Civilisation, added a layer beneath the family for the individual, which has become the most important level.

All private entities compete with the State for power. A family with wealth to rival the government often replaced it on the throne. It was this fear that kept the State’s behaviour controlled.

Wealthy individuals and rich companies of today have significant influence. Governments often choose to fund these entities to turn them into dependents – parasites of the state – mediating their power. Public money weakens their competitive influence and lessens their desire to challenge the hand that feeds them. The same is true of governments with generous welfare systems, actively disempowering the populace by making them reliant on its favour.

Economic dependency is the root of collectivist control. It is why these regimes demonise capitalism and free markets. They ruthlessly object to competitive forces out of fear of being usurped. The very last thing collectivists want is for the individual to be prosperous.

Western Civilisation has a great many rich businesses (some with fortunes larger than nations) supported by the richest civilisation of individuals and families that has ever lived. The people, in theory (if they were smart enough to realise) hold extraordinary power over the State.

Weakening private economics has been a consequence of our Covid communism. We can see this reflected in our recent elections where the recently impoverished are increasingly choosing leaders that promise ‘free stuff’. It is a dangerous unravelling of our national psyche.

But what does the government do with all the billionaires? Their wealth increased during Covid.

Our modern Caesars have told the powerful families of ‘Rome’ (and all the peasants) that they can keep their capitalist wealth on the proviso it is held in the Senate treasury where it can only be accessed through the goodwill of the State.

That money is now worthless as a mechanism of power. It belongs, in theory, to the State. Digital economies represent the capture of private wealth by the State in an instant.

I am sure, given the intellectual decrepitness of our political class, many Australian MPs have no idea what the consequences of their push for a cashless future entails. These creatures are not students of history. Instead, they spend their days listening to the whispers of greedy banks and international socialist bureaucracies spinning lies about ‘safety’, ‘trust’, ‘recovery’, and ‘inevitable technological evolution’.

Even after watching Canada misuse the digital economy to lock the bank accounts of citizens over their political viewers – Australia has done nothing to safeguard its people from policies already waiting in line for approval.

Europeans are not abandoning cash as their governments hoped. Jaded by the behaviour of their governments in the past, there has been a resurgence in cash across the European Union. Australia, locked in the shallow waters of political infancy, has raised no objection to the government plotting to steal all its coins.

Crypto is not the answer when the government controls your means of access to the digital world. Cash, like burying gold bars in the ground, is the only true weapon citizens have to maintain economic autonomy. Hang onto cash if you want your country to survive the next hundred years with its dream of liberty intact.

What does a post-cash world look like? I leave you with Kenneth Rogoff:

‘Getting rid of physical currency and replacing it with electronic money would … eliminate the zero bound policy interest rates that have handcuffed central banks since the financial crisis. At present, if central banks try setting rates too far below zero, people will start bailing out into cash.’

Negative interest rates are the best way to erase private savings and ensure that the World Economic Forum’s promise really does come true: you will own nothing and you will be happy. Or at least, if you refuse to look happy, the State will lower your social credit score.

If cash is king the question we must ask is, who gets to be the new king once it is gone?

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