Creepy IMF Paper Teaches Governments How To Wage War On Cash
There’s been another shot fired in the “war on cash.” Recently, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) published a working paper offering governments suggestions on how to move toward a cashless society even in the face of strong public opposition.
Over the last several years, we’ve seen a steady push to eliminate, or at least limit, the use of cash around the world. In May of 2016, the European Central bank announced it will stop producing and issuing 500-euro notes by the end of 2018. Not long before the EU announcement, a former Obama economic adviser/ex-Treasury secretary floated the idea of eliminating the $100 bill in the US.
Banks have also gotten in on the act. Last year, Chase capped ATM withdrawals for non-Chase customers at $1,000 per day. Recently, ATMs in Mexico stopped issuing 500-peso notes, leaving the 200-peso note as the highest denomination available. CitiBank Australia stopped handling cash transactions altogether late last year.
Indians also felt the squeeze last fall. On Nov. 8, the Indian government declared that 1,000 and 500 rupee notes would no longer be valid. They gave the public just four hours notice. Why? To force so-called “black money” into the light.
About 90% of all transactions in India are in cash. It is an overwhelmingly cash economy and virtually every Indian has currency stashed away in their home. The government can’t tax transactions using black money. By making the 1,000 and 500 rupee notes valueless, government officials hope to force the black money into the economy so they can get their cut.
Officials always justify their war on cash with talk about “customer preference,” and fighting terrorism and drugs, but the drive toward a cashless society is really about control.
By controlling access to your own money, banks and governments increase their control over you. They can collect maximum taxes and fees, they can track purchases, and they can even manipulate your spending habits by imposing negative interest rates that effectively charge you for saving.