Wednesday, 18 May 2022



Over the two decades when I was editing the mini-journal The Social Artist (incorporating The Social Crediter) we published a wealth of highly discussable material on the state of the world. What was lacking was a forum for discussion that would lead to practical reform of the world political economy as a whole. The material, which came from a wide variety of sources, remains available electronically on the Publications page of and on several other websites across the world. Moreover, it has dated very little with the passage of time.

The Spring 2019 Issue of The Social Artist carries lengthy extracts from German financial journalist Norbert Haering's "Who is behind the campaign to rid the world of cash?" As Haering explains "the seller and the person who manages your money are merging. This is there we are headed, not just in Amazon Go stores. In the future of payments, all convenience will be on our side, all the power will be with the other side." Amazon intends to make this convenience-cum-surveillance way of shopping the norm.

Haering spells out in detail ten advantages of retaining cash, not least of which is the retention of civil liberties.

"In a democracy, this judgement should be made after public discussion by lawmakers in a transparent procedure. Instead, ... , the far reaching removal of privacy in financial affairs has been decided far away from parliaments in a diffuse transnational nowhereland, through the mechanism of standard setting groups expert in evading democratic control."

Meanwhile, the general public and parliaments hardly even notice that this is going on. There are heated discussions about new data preservation rules in telecommunications, but the much more intrusive, very long-term storing and even active surveillance of our financial accounts and transactions go almost unnoticed. Nevertheless, control over a national currency has for a long time been an important factor underpinning the power of any national government. "If this authority should move to the Silicon Valley, a big part of traditional power of governments could move with it."

Haering reaches the following conclusion.

"Instead of hoping in vain for technological fixes, we need to go the way of pushing for political and societal changes. We have to pull parliamentarians out of their deep sleep. We have to tell them and the citizens at large which game is being played. They have to know that the decline in the use of cash is not a development that is unfolding naturally but something that a powerful alliance is pushing ahead by and coercion in the background. Ministers and central bankers have to be put under pressure to justify working in a partnership with companies like MasterCard and Visa against cash, despite all their public assurances that they want to do cash no harm. If this partnership is widely exposed dissolved, we will see that cash is anything but doomed. If allowed to thrive, cash will see a renaissance, because in a world in which more and more aspects of our lives are under surveillance and recorded, cash offers a refuge that will become more valuable for privacy and more valued by the people...."

Much food for thought here.

Article originally published in Real-world Economics Review,

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