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Bitcoin Businesses Privacy The Almighty Buck Politics

Sweden's Cash-Free Future Looms -- and Not Everyone Is Happy About It 440

HughPickens.com writes: Liz Alderman writes in the NYT that bills and coins now represent just 2 percent of Sweden's economy, compared with 7.7 percent in the United States and 10 percent in the euro area and this year only about 20 percent of all consumer payments in Sweden have been made in cash, compared with an average of 75 percent in the rest of the world. "Sweden has always been at the forefront of technology, so it's easy to embrace this," said Jacob de Geer, a founder of iZettle, which makes a mobile-powered card reader. In Sweden parishioners text tithes to their churches, homeless street vendors carry mobile credit-card readers, and even the Abba Museum, despite being a shrine to the 1970s pop group that wrote "Money, Money, Money," considers cash so last-century that it does not accept bills and coins. "We don't want to be behind the times by taking cash while cash is dying out," says Bjorn Ulvaeus, a former Abba member who has leveraged the band's legacy into a sprawling business empire, including the museum.

But not everyone is pleased with the process. Remember, Sweden is the place where, if you use too much cash, banks call the police because they think you might be a terrorist or a criminal. Swedish banks have started removing cash ATMs from rural areas, annoying old people and farmers. Credit Suisse says the rule of thumb in Scandinavia is: "If you have to pay in cash, something is wrong." Sweden's embrace of electronic payments has alarmed consumer organizations and critics who warn of a rising threat to privacy and increased vulnerability to sophisticated Internet crimes. Last year, the number of electronic fraud cases surged to 140,000, more than double the amount a decade ago, according to Sweden's Ministry of Justice. Older adults and refugees in Sweden who use cash may be marginalized, critics say, and young people who use apps to pay for everything or take out loans via their mobile phones risk falling into debt. "It might be trendy," says Bjorn Eriksson, a former director of the Swedish police force and former president of Interpol. "But there are all sorts of risks when a society starts to go cashless."
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Sweden's Cash-Free Future Looms -- and Not Everyone Is Happy About It

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  • by JustAnotherOldGuy ( 4145623 ) on Sunday December 27, 2015 @04:27PM (#51191353)

    If you don't know why they're doing this, you haven't been paying attention.

    This is how the government manages to track and control every aspect of your life, and I do mean every.

    • by rubycodez ( 864176 ) on Sunday December 27, 2015 @04:33PM (#51191375)

      you left out the best part.

      track and control and TAX every aspect. Just like the mafia, they want a piece of all the action

      • by JustAnotherOldGuy ( 4145623 ) on Sunday December 27, 2015 @05:54PM (#51191739)

        you left out the best part.

        track and control and TAX every aspect. Just like the mafia, they want a piece of all the action

        Of course, that's just part of it.

        Seriously, control ALL transactions and you pretty much have a lock on everything.

      • you left out the best part.

        track and control and TAX every aspect. Just like the mafia, they want a piece of all the action

        Precisely this!

        No cash means that every transaction can be taxed.

        Your grandma gives you $10.00 for your birthday? Gift Tax.

        You want to pitch in with some friends for pizza, so you all contribute $10.00 and place an order? Transaction tax before the sales tax.

        LK

        • by dryeo ( 100693 )

          It's not the government that has been pushing the cash free economy, it's the banks. who feel it is their right to take a cut of every transaction that is done, and then to sell the logs of what you bought to the marketers.
          I don't mind paying taxes in general but I really do hate paying corporations for services that I don't want or need. At least with government, at least in democracies, we have some control while the goal of corporations is to give no choice or at best a choice between Coke or Pepsi, with

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Sunday December 27, 2015 @08:44PM (#51192483) Homepage

        You people are just such shallow thinkers, tracking is not the problem, the real problem is making you a non-person, you can not buy anything, you can not enter anywhere, you can not ride anything, you cease to be a digital human being and they don't even need to lock you up. Just kill you like an animal when you finally lose it after being hounded and harassed 24/7 and blame you for it. They can not only hold you digitally hostage but your entire family. Extreme digital extortion, obey or be digitally destroyed. The true difference between freedom and slavery, either you need to continually ask permission to do anything or you can maturely decide for yourself. Every time you spend money with a card, you are not spending what you own, you are asking permission to buy something, think about that!!!

    • Oh, come on. You just have alternate, "illegal" means for conducting transactions.
      The fascist overreach lasts as long as it's tolerated.
      • Oh, come on. You just have alternate, "illegal" means for conducting transactions.

        Like what?

        • by skegg ( 666571 )

          First alternative that comes to mind is bartering. But I suppose there's also Bitcoin and related services.

          All of which would eventually be made illegal via expedient justifications.
          (We need to be able to contact purchasers of goods in cases of urgent product recalls, etc)

          Sadly, I think if our society went cashless it would become more dystopic rather than a utopic.

          • All of which would eventually be made illegal via expedient justifications.

            Someone mentioned that if you use too much cash, banks in Sweden will already report you to the government as a likely criminal. So that seems moderately likely.

    • by amiga3D ( 567632 ) on Sunday December 27, 2015 @04:37PM (#51191393)

      Here comes the barter economy. Already starting to take off.

      • by JustAnotherOldGuy ( 4145623 ) on Sunday December 27, 2015 @06:07PM (#51191819)

        Here comes the barter economy. Already starting to take off.

        Sadly, there are some pretty severe limitations in a barter economy. For small, local stuff it can be made to function, but anything larger and it simply becomes unworkable. It just doesn't scale well.

        • by skegg ( 666571 )

          Also, it makes it that much easier for the authorities to nail you if / when they choose to come after you.
          (Assuming one hasn't maintained all the paperwork.)

          e.g. for those subject to Australian tax law

          Barter transactions are assessable and deductible for income tax purposes to the same extent as other cash or credit transactions.

          When an entity that is a member of a trade exchange makes a taxable sale to another member, there is a liability for tax, including GST.

          From:
          Bartering and barter exchanges [ato.gov.au]
          Australia

          • by amiga3D ( 567632 )

            Much harder to track than debit transactions. The government in the US is going crazy at the amount of underground economy going on. So many people work cash side jobs to make ends meet. Making 20 dollars an hour in cash is like making 35 dollars at a company job.

    • by Shaman ( 1148 )

      This is it, in a nutshell. The future is largely dystopian. People, on the whole, are completely inure to the issues of governmental trespass in their lives, and thus it is unlikely to be stopped before it is an everyday nuisance (and threat) in the lives of those who are not. They trust the government because they don't seem to understand that the government is a faceless bully made up of many corrupt and self-serving individuals. The cream sinks to the bottom in government.

    • "why they're doing this"

      This menacing "they" is not taking any particular action in this scenario.

      If a government *actually* wanted to force all transactions to be cashless, they would stop printing cash.

      • If a government *actually* wanted to force all transactions to be cashless, they would stop printing cash.

        I don't know if they will, but they certainly could.

        I mean, they're the ones printing it, but nothing says they have to keep printing it, or even honor the bills past a certain date.

    • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

      Also; negative interest rate.
      When they eventually pass this negative interest on to the customer, keeping cash will be more profitable than putting it in a bank account.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by TechnoCore ( 806385 )
      I'm Swedish, and I rarely use cash any more.
      Stores prefer less cash, because handling cash is expensive. Money cost money. It also increases risk from robbery and so on. This year an app called 'Swish' has been the new thing. You can send money directly from your mobile to someone else Swish app. Going directly from bank account to another.. all you need is their number. No fees. Many street vendors are using it, and it makes it super easy to give money to someone.
      Another consequence is that night clubs
      • Stores prefer less cash, because handling cash is expensive. Money cost money.

        Credit cards cost money too - I was in a small shop (in the UK) just before Xmas and overheard the owner complaining to a credit card customer that they had to pay a 2% fee for every transaction. She was relieved when I paid cash.

        Moreover my wife is a bookeeper for a small business selling plastic containers mostly to industry. They looked into installing the facility for credit cards and the cost was shocking. Most of their customers are account customers and they prefer to turn away those others th

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Carewolf ( 581105 )

      If you don't know why they're doing this, you haven't been paying attention.

      This is how the government manages to track and control every aspect of your life, and I do mean every.

      The government??? What does the government have to do with what private shops and private individuals do?

      The shops and banks are encouraging it because it means they can track every aspect of your life and hope to monetize you better that way, people are doing it because it is convininient.

  • by Calydor ( 739835 ) on Sunday December 27, 2015 @04:31PM (#51191363)

    I thought all countries (in the developed world, at the very least) had laws stating in one wording or another that it is illegal for a business to refuse payment in the country's official currency?

    • by tepples ( 727027 ) <tepples@gmail.TEAcom minus caffeine> on Sunday December 27, 2015 @04:41PM (#51191411) Homepage Journal

      I don't know how it is in other countries, but in the United States, accepting legal tender is mandatory only for repayment of "DEBTS, PUBLIC AND PRIVATE". To avoid this, a shop can require prepayment for all goods and services so that the customer never incurs debt.

      • by kheldan ( 1460303 ) on Sunday December 27, 2015 @04:53PM (#51191451) Journal
        Sure. And there is no law of any kind that requires me to do business with any specific store of business, either, so one way or another I can vote my preferences with my dollars. If the grocery store I habituate decided tomorrow to start taking plastic only, I'd find somewhere else to shop on principle alone. On a related subject I'd also stop shopping anywhere that required me to have one of their 'club' discount cards, because I know damned well that the implied EULA you're agreeing to by accepting it gives them the power to specifically track your purchases for marketing purposes, and I'm firmly against that, too.
        • there is no law of any kind that requires me to do business with any specific store of business, either

          Specific business? No. Specific kind of business? Yes. Zoning laws require you to buy food rather than growing it. Indecency laws require you to buy clothing. Sit/lie laws require you to buy or rent housing rather than sleeping on public property. And shared responsibility laws require you to buy health insurance or face drastic tax hikes.

          If the grocery store I habituate decided tomorrow to start taking plastic only, I'd find somewhere else to shop on principle alone.

          So what happens once all grocery stores within walking distance go cashless?

          • by samkass ( 174571 )

            there is no law of any kind that requires me to do business with any specific store of business, either

            Specific business? No. Specific kind of business? Yes. Zoning laws require you to buy food rather than growing it. Indecency laws require you to buy clothing. Sit/lie laws require you to buy or rent housing rather than sleeping on public property. And shared responsibility laws require you to buy health insurance or face drastic tax hikes.

            If the grocery store I habituate decided tomorrow to start taking plastic only, I'd find somewhere else to shop on principle alone.

            So what happens once all grocery stores within walking distance go cashless?

            Not to mention registering cars, getting licenses, and other state and local government activities which often no longer accept cash.

            • Ah, but can the government legally stop accepting cash? Cash is legal tender, good for all settling debts, public or private.
              • A merchant, such as the government, can structure transactions to avoid the creation of debt in the first place. Acceptable forms of payment for a prepaid transaction are covered under invitation to treat law rather than legal tender law.

                • An offer under an invitation to treat is not a sale. However, once accepted by the one offering the invitation to treat, it creates mutual obligations which, if not met, leaves the one defaulting in debt to the other, either for specific performance, damages, or both. Any transaction that is not gratuitous in nature will always have the potential to create debt, just as a fraudulent invitation to treat will. Also, either the offer may specify sequential performance, and/or sequential payment terms, in any t
        • Yes yes of course the market will fix all problems. Until you're in a sufficiently small minority to be ignored - What happens when all grocery stores stop accepting cash? And there're not enough hold-outs like you to support an alternative? What then, starve? If you dislike a trend then don't just move your money - be loud. Because shifting your business to a competitor might not be enough.

          • by sumdumass ( 711423 ) on Sunday December 27, 2015 @05:39PM (#51191633) Journal

            What happens when some hack group decides to target the phones and network infrastructure and your card or apple pay doesn't work to purchase your gasoline or groceries or diapers or whatever? What happens when same group transfers all your money from your accounts into some unclaimed fund or encrypts the banks computers and holds your accounts hostage and you have to wait 2 weeks until it gets sorted out?

            There are downsides to everything. If cash was still around, an ATM could work from a cached balance and distribute some money, friends could loan others some money until things come back up.

            • Greece tried that some time ago. It doesn't take long before the ATMs run out so we're basically screwed, cash or not.
    • by bondsbw ( 888959 )

      Not sure. I'm from the US and I think this is a misinterpretation of the phrase on our bills, "This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private." Only debts are covered, not all transactions. That phrase doesn't obligate anyone to become a lender, or to allow you to become indebted to them. It doesn't mean they have to sell you anything.

      Also it is legal in the US for businesses to refuse to accept particular types of currency, such as refusing pennies or large bills.

      (Individual states may hav

      • https://www.treasury.gov/resou... [treasury.gov]

        "This statute means that all United States money as identified above are a valid and legal offer of payment for debts when tendered to a creditor. There is, however, no Federal statute mandating that a private business, a person or an organization must accept currency or coins as for payment for goods and/or services. Private businesses are free to develop their own policies on whether or not to accept cash unless there is a State law which says otherwise. "

        this is to preven

    • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

      What if the official currency is digital-only currency?

  • Only criminals will have cash.

    But I'm not sure what they will spend it on.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by amiga3D ( 567632 )

        I'll always accept gold for anything I sell or as payment for any service. A card? Not fucking likely. I'd bet gold or something like bitcoin replaces cash. There will always be a place for some real type of currency.

    • In that case, will it be a crime to buy something before becoming an adult? I was under the impression that only an adult could hold a bank account in his own name; anyone younger than 18 (or thereabouts depending on jurisdiction) has to make do with cash.

  • by cas2000 ( 148703 ) on Sunday December 27, 2015 @04:37PM (#51191395)

    i just want to buy stuff - anonymously, without the shop-keeper knowing my name and other personal details just because i bought a fucking coffee or a hamburger or something.

    lack of privacy and anonymity are the main reasons i dislike online shopping and use it only very rarely - delivery of the purchased goods requires that i give the vendor my personal details which they then immediately assume they are entitled to store in a database, use to spam me, and sell, trade, or give to third-parties.

    even when they have a checkbox option saying "don't spam me" or similar, some arsehole in their marketing department will take it upon themselves to decide that i didn't really mean that, or make some exception for their super-important spam (spammers always say "my spam isn't spam") or their database will frequently have that field "accidentally" cleared.

    • Amazing how hard they're going after Bitcoin-like entities. Or not really all that amazing.
      Keep in mind they are tracking the serial numbers on the paper bills from the ATMs. If you really want anonymity, pay with metal coins - no serial numbers.

      • The mythical "they" isn't going after Bitcoin because it's Bitcoin. They are going after entities who have happened to have been doing transactions in Bitcoin because those entities thing Bitcoin has magical law-repellent properties, and the mythical "they" haven't really been going after them disproportionately.

    • But if you pay with a credit card in Sweden* the merchant will not get your name, or any other personal information. All he will get is a "Transaction accepted" from the credit card company, and maybe the part of your credit card number which is also printed on your credit card receipts.

      *Ok, I only know how it works in Denmark, but I can't imagine it being different in sweden.

      • by tepples ( 727027 )

        But if you pay with a credit card in [northern Europe,] the merchant will not get your name, or any other personal information. All he will get is [...] the part of your credit card number which is also printed on your credit card receipts.

        Here in the USA, receipts from card-operated gasoline pumps often include the cardholder's name.

    • Not your point, but the local Starbucks or Hungry Jack has minimally some personal interest in not poisoning a member of the local community. I'd actually prefer someone I had face-to-face contact with knowing more about me, than just relying on the good graces of some behemoth like Amazon, Facebook, Apple, etc., not to leak/sell my information to other leviathans who might not have my best interests in mind. But *they* don't take cash.

    • even when they have a checkbox option saying "don't spam me" or similar, some arsehole in their marketing department will take it upon themselves to decide that i didn't really mean that

      Use a disposable email address, like from http://spamdecoy.net/ [spamdecoy.net]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 27, 2015 @04:38PM (#51191401)

    There are kids around here who think nothing of hauling out a Plastic Card to buy a 50 cent Candy bar.
    Typically, a Cashless Society has a lot of hidden overhead, and those who promote the concept the most tend to benefit from that overhead.
    It's not a Conspiracy Against Freedom, it's the Triumph Of the Hidden Middlemen.

    • Costs of cash transaction vs. cashless transactions are discussed here: http://www.riksbank.se/Documen... [riksbank.se]

      tl;dr version: cash isn't free

    • by Tom ( 822 )

      True, but:

      Typically, a Cashless Society has a lot of hidden overhead,

      Cash has quite a bit of overhead by itself. Aside from the whole forgery problem, both coins and bills need refreshment cycles, they need to be manufactured, for small coins quite often at a higher cost than the face value.

      Then there is the overhead of handling cash, which is quite considerable.

      Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of cash, but as far as overhead is concerned, I'm not sure it is superior to electronic payment.

  • What about the fees for a EFT? lot's of small shops don't like cards due to the fees also cash tips are big (at least over there they don't have that tipped min wage BS)

  • by Catbeller ( 118204 ) on Sunday December 27, 2015 @04:50PM (#51191437) Homepage

    A cash-free society means the banks, and any business or government or person with juice, knows what everyone is doing. If you have no problem with this, build your next house with glass walls, and put a streaming camera and mic on your person.

    All this, contrast to corporations and governments. Corporations aren't people, so you can't really spy on those. Corporations are now freeer, and now don't even have to declare a nationality. Their banking is private, if they desire. Derivative markets are untrackable and untaxed. They don't pay taxes. Yet they demand we give it all up to them, because ???? we're idiots.

    Governments? The US, UK, Australia and NZ are frothing at the mouth to destroy any whistleblowers who rat them out. Assange is STILL in jail, no charges other than trying to get away from retribution. Wikileaks supporters have problems flying in airplanes and crossing borders. And the governments have no problem spying on everyone else and demanding that right. And the Cayman Islands secret banking system is left alone, because the CIA, the mob, and corporations like their privacy.

    • Not really. The only thing the bank know, is where I spent my money. The bank don't know what I bought.

      • by wagr ( 1070120 )

        Depends on what form of payment and the agreement the shop has with the bank. For credit card purchases in the US, companies can sometimes get a lower fee if they send along the line items on the receipt being paid for. To accept most corporate cards, a shop is required to send a lot of information about the transaction to the bank.

      • The only thing the bank know, is where I spent my money. The bank don't know what I bought.

        You bought something at Anne Summers (sex accessories chain in the UK), say. Let's leave what it was exactly to their imagination.

    • I think it's incredibly myopic to think any privacy already exists for your payments.

      Consider:

      1) Unless you are working illegally your bank already processes your paycheck.
      2) Your employer is already providing the government with both a) bits of your paycheck (called income tax) and b) a record of your earnings
      3) Once the money hits your bank account, your bank already knows where it goes. If you withdraw cash, they may even know the serial numbers (and can track to some extent from that). ATMs certain

      • I think it's incredibly myopic to think any privacy already exists for your payments.

        .......

        3) Once the money hits your bank account, your bank already knows where it goes. If you withdraw cash, they may even know the serial numbers (and can track to some extent from that).

        Yes, I'm sure that Miss Whiplash phones the bank with the serial numbers of my payment as soon as I leave her flat each time.

        • I'm not sure who "Miss Whiplash" is, but if you're talking about your landlord, she almost certainly deposits the money in her own bank account.

          Even if she spends it, the second she goes to a store to break the bill, it goes to the bank.

          Your cash is only ever a transaction or two away from being tracked. Because, let's face it, most merchants deposit their cash so unless you pay all in singles (which will then be given out as change) your bills will get deposited.

    • by Jiro ( 131519 )

      Corporations are made up of people, and you can spy on the individual people.

  • ... is a bitch.

    I wonder what kind of measures the Sweden have against losing it. And if I'm not mistaken most payments go through the Internet and of course the Internet is supposed to be 100% reliable ... oh, wait.

    P.S. George Orwell wasn't a science fiction writer 'cause he actually (fore)saw the future. The future where everything you do is logged and categorized.

    • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

      We had this a few years ago in the Netherlands, where a major bank could not accept digital payments or handle ATM machines for a few days.
      If I didn't have the habit of keeping enough cash money in my wallet at all times, I would have been unable to buy food for those days.
      Is this what Sweden wants to risk?
      Have they never heard of the word "backup"?

  • Yes, and? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Sunday December 27, 2015 @05:12PM (#51191517) Journal
    Aren't 'marginalizes old people and refugees' and 'makes racking up consumer debt ever easier' typically considered features, rather than bugs, in payment systems?
  • by Archtech ( 159117 ) on Sunday December 27, 2015 @05:38PM (#51191627)

    '"Sweden has always been at the forefront of technology, so it's easy to embrace this," said Jacob de Geer, a founder of iZettle, which makes a mobile-powered card reader'.

    In other news, sharks were in favour of sea bathing.

  • by chmod a+x mojo ( 965286 ) on Sunday December 27, 2015 @05:43PM (#51191653)

    If the rest of the world has 75% of transactions being paid in cash ( seems legit, if maybe even a tad low ) how will people that come to Sweden for tourism pay for anything?

    Seems like a great way to insulate yourself from the rest of the world and have your economy grow stagnant to me...

    • Setting aside for one moment the questions of government tracking (which clearly is the entire point of the whole operation), I agree that there are potential problems for tourists.

      When I use my UK debit card overseas I get stung for a small fee for each transaction (I seem to recall the fee be one pound - about 1.5 dollars - so actually it is not that small). Normally this is not a big problem. I get myself some Euros and then I only need the card for a few big costs like hotel bills. If I go to Swe
    • When I travel, I have the local currency.

      Sometimes, you need it for something simple, like when the mobile card reader in the cab doesn't work (I was with my boss who puts everything on cards, so I had to bail him out with my cash, and expense it later.)

      I also don't relish the idea of running my card for every meal - increasing the odds of some skimmer screwing the card up and getting a fraud alert put on it, just when I need it most. (I know, a lot of places, especially in Europe, bring there card re
  • A Banker's wet dream (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Alain Williams ( 2972 ) <addw@phcomp.co.uk> on Sunday December 27, 2015 @06:10PM (#51191827) Homepage

    They get a slice of the transaction when you pay via plastic (the trader pays 1-3%). They get a bit when you pay in cash since the retailer will have to pay the bank a bit (cash handling charge) when they pay in at the end of the day. However bankers get nothing on many payments: the man who mows the lawn, the baby sitter, the window cleaner, ... many of these will spend what they earn as cash - so several transactions that the banks do not get the chance to bacon slice.

    OK: this might not be a large part of the economy, but all those free transactions must be annoying them!

  • Many fees on cards.
  • Bjorn Also Said (Score:5, Interesting)

    by FrankDrebin ( 238464 ) on Sunday December 27, 2015 @06:17PM (#51191861) Homepage
    This was an *extremely* annoying aspect of visiting the ABBA museum in Stockholm: they refuse to accept cash at all. Neither for admission nor for the gift shop. At least in 2013 when I was there, signs were posted with an explanation by Bjorn who mentioned his son's apartment being robbed and how the burglars made away with some cash. So... "ban all cash" because my kid left some in his apartment and it got burgled. For an otherwise smart and talented guy, this has to be one of the most fatuous rationales ever.
    • an explanation by Bjorn who mentioned his son's apartment being robbed and how the burglars made away with some cash. So... "ban all cash" because my kid left some in his apartment and it got burgled.

      Who TF is this idiot Bjorn?

      I would have thought that a burglar breaking into a flat would cause far more cost in damage (new front door - $1000?) than any cash that a sane person would leave lying around. That was certainly the case with my car being broken into - new door: $500, value stolen from inside: $4.

  • I like the idea of this. If we can get our mobile payments systemsup to snuff this would make things a lot easier. My issue is the hidden costs involved with it. One of the reasons I use cash is because I know it costs small businesses money if I use my credit card. I would rather get cash and pay that way for local shops than cost them the percentage they pay to the credit card company even though I may get a few cents back. The only way I could get behind this totally would be for there to be some way to

  • by Anonymous Coward

    the founders of the US explicitly rejected, but their great-grandchildren stupidly have adopted. Central Banks provide paper money in place of something of real inherent value like gold or silver, and in doing so provide a means of manipulating and robbing the public by inflating or deflating the value of that paper money by printing more of it or taking some of it out of circulation. Going cashless, where the individual no longer has ANY physical thing but rather just some digits stored in a computer will

  • They bounce back and forth between Sweden and Scandinavia. The fact is, I go to Denmark constantly and while I have a few thousand Danish crowns sitting in a drawer at home, I don't bother. I live in Norway and take out a total of about 500NOK in cash a month for my kids to have some spending money. We were going to get the credit cards, but Norway's DnB and Denmark's Danskebank have both released easy payment apps which eliminate the need for cards now... and nearly everywhere which accepts cards also seem
  • Canada has gone for debit cards [interac.ca] in a big way. I hardly ever pay cash for anything.

    Our local public transit system is rolling out a smartcard [compasscard.ca] fare system. On my way to work maybe one person a day pays their fare in cash. Yes, TransLink can track where I ride the bus. And if they ever misuse that information I'll ditch my current Compass card and buy an unregistered anonymous one.

    ...laura

  • We were warned over 200 years ago against having a central bank. No country should have one. They are more dangerous than a standing army.

    In the U.S. the Federal Reserve (not a part of the Federal government) pretty much runs the country. Nobody has the power to oversee or control it. The income taxes you pay don't go to the government, they go to the Federal Reserve. The Secretary of the Treasury is not an employee of yours; he's an employee (as in paid by) of the Federal Reserve.

    Negative interest? Ha, tha

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