Last week we discussed one of the reasons why the government want to do away with cash - Total tax compliance.
Tonight we'll look at the other reason.
Why they want it.
The government is desperate to introduce the cashless society. One of the main reasons, as discussed last week, is tax. Electronic transactions cannot be hidden from the government. That also gives them another reason to crave the demise of cash.
Control of the people. Each and every one of us. We all need cash, even the most self sufficient out there need to engage in trade with other people. If the government can monitor your spending they can watch and even dictate your movements.
Take the TESCO Clubcard and similar loyalty initiatives. These are used to profile your spending habits within the store, and that data is used to target you with specific advertising. Quite benign if you are ok with it.
Imagine if the government could profile all your spending in the same manner. They will be able to once cash has gone the way of the Dodo, Di and Dodi.
The first and main step towards this is the citizen ID card. The idea has been around for a long time and the last Labour government were the first to make a push for it, using the smokescreen of preventing terrorism.
The ConDems did away with it, but this was only a temporary measure; a vote winner. They all want it, red, blue or yellow, and one day they will get it. They just have to keep chipping away at us.
Once the card is in place, the principle of extension would apply. It would be used for international travel, then as a driving licence, then to substitute all the other licences people have and eventually it would be implanted with a simple chip like the one in your current credit or debit card.
Eventually you will only carry the one card and it will be used for everything. The card will be your life.
There was a time when electronic money was only used for larger purchases. Technology has made electronic payment so quick and easy that it's use is now commonplace for even small purchases. The scanners are also becoming so small and portable that we can all carry one as part of our smartphones and this would allow us to take payment from other peoples cards as individuals rather than businesses.
Many thousands of petty state bureaucrats have access to details about you that are stored on computers. If they wanted to track your movements they could simply log into you financial records, which are updated in realtime.
Where are you? You're on the M6, just after junction 28, because you bought 20 quid worth of fuel and a Ginsters, in a service station 15 minutes ago.
And what were you doing last year? You bought a doughnut from Greggs at 12:45, some underpants at the poundshop, you scrubber, at 13:15 and then did your weekly shopping in TESCO (Using your Clubcard).
What if a crime was committed in an area you happened to be near? There have been some high profile rapes in the press recently, where MPs have suggested every male who lives in the area be DNA tested. Such suggestions don't go down well, but it won't be long before the sheep have been sufficiently conditioned to accept this, just like they accept all the other liberties taken by our government.
This could easily be extended to electronic payments. If a crime is committed, payment records could be trawled and every person who made a purchase with a certain radius and time frame would be a suspect, and would have to report to their local police station for questioning.
Don't want to report? That's fine. They don't have to come looking for you, all they need to do is switch off your card. Want to make a payment for anything? Sorry, your card has been declined by the issuer (The government) please report to your local police station. You won't even be able to buy a loaf of bread.
This kind of citizen control is the wet dream of all governments. Cashless, electronic finance would be perfectly alright if the government had our best interests at heart.
But if you believe that, you're dreaming.
Next time: How they'll get it.