So far we've looked at the two main reasons why the government wants to do away with cash forever, and replace it with a system of electronic transactions. The first reason was total tax compliance, and the second was control of the individual.
How they'll get it.
Reason one - Drugs and money laundering
Because the government thinks it's up to them what we put in our bodies, we have a 'War on Drugs'. It's not a winnable war and it's not supposed to be.
Why would you go war if you can't win? There is an incredible amount of money to be made in drugs. I'm not talking about the dealers and the cartels, it's obvious that they make a huge amount a cash because drugs are illegal, I'm talking about the government itself.
How does the government profit from drugs?
Jobs. There are thousands of people in employment as a direct result of the war on drugs, from enforcement agencies through to drug rehabilitation councillors.
They also profit from seizures. Dealers can make a lot of money selling drugs, but if they are caught, the government gets to take the lot. In America, the government can seize your property, your assets and your bank account with only a reasonable suspicion that a narcotics law has been broken on your premises. They don't even have to get a conviction in court.
Think about that for a minute. Police and drug enforcement agencies make huge amounts of money to buy shiny new toys by invoking this rule. You don't even have to break the law yourself. If someone else does it on your property, even without your knowledge, the rule still applies.
The War on Drugs has successfully conditioned individuals to believe that drugs are bad, drug dealers are bad, drug dealers only use cash, so cash is bad.
Drugs is a cash only industry which makes it easy to vilify cash and bring in legislation such as the law that states banks must report all cash deposits over £1000 to HMRC. It's done under the smokescreen of fighting drugs and preventing money laundering from illegal drug activity.
The average Joe on the street is not a drug dealer, yet these laws target everyone. They work because we are used to collective punishment. We even demand it. Someone gets shot, we demand guns be banned, someone gets in debt, we demand payday loans be banned.
When the government wants to monitor and restrict our cash transactions because some people deal drugs, we let them, we even demand they do more.
The War on Drugs is a great excuse for the government to do away with cash. It may even be 'us' that asks them to do it.
Reason two - Terrorism
Like drugs, there is also a War on Terror. Like drug dealers, people are also scared of terrorists.
The terrorist threat is largely bogus, stories and suggestions made up by the very people who pretend to be protecting us from terrorists. Why? Because they want to bring in more restrictive laws, like the right to watch all our internet use, and the best way to do this is play on our fears of a terrorist threat. A threat that they invented.
The threat of terrorism lets the government get away with many things that they wouldn't normally be able to do. Removing cash from society will be one of those things.
Terrorists also use cash, to buy their guns and bombs and stuff. By 'watching for suspicious activity' that might be related to terrorism, the government can watch all of us. Again, we don't complain about this, we demand more, we say that they are not doing enough and beg for even more restrictive laws.
Only drug dealers and terrorists use cash.
The trouble is, these two excuses are very broad and impersonal. Many people will actively encourage the government for these reason, but others will not. Others will say, "I am not a drug dealer, I am not a terrorist, my cash transactions are above board".
To silence these people, the government needs other excuses, reasons that are closer to home and affect the individual rather than society.
Reason three - Counterfeiting
Money can be forged. Fake money harms the economy and puts the individual at risk of fraud. Or does it?
It's very difficult to fake a banknote because of the special paper used to make them. Anything made by man can be faked by man, bank notes included, however, it's much easier and more profitable to fake a credit card than a bank note.
The government would have you believe the economy is awash with fake money. They have done their usual good job at perpetuating this lie too. Notice when you pay for something with cash, how the cashier will look your note up and down, hold it under a light and write on it with a pen before reluctantly putting it in the till?
So why do they make us believe fake notes are such a big problem when it's easier to forge plastic? So they can change the money every now and then.
Whenever they discontinue a bank note and reissue it with a different design, the reason given is to prevent counterfeiting.
If you are taking cash and not declaring taxes on it, you may have amassed a large stash of the stuff. As long as it's not in a bank, the government won't know it exists and won't be able to take their cut. So how do they find out who's doing this? Break down every door and look under every bed?
No. They simply change the design of notes. You can take them to a bank and swap them for the new notes, but unless you can prove you have paid tax on it, you are in trouble.
The worry of forged notes allows them to keep changing the currency for tax evasion purposes, and it also gives them a reason to make you mistrust cash and want to use the electronic alternative. Even though it's actually easier to forge electronic money. The lie is king.
Reason four - Security
Cash is the last remaining bearer bond. If you have it, it's yours. Electronic money belongs only to the person whose name is on the card.
The government will tell you to do away with cash in order to secure against the risk of loosing it or having it stolen.
Cash is fairly easy to loose and quite difficult to prove if it's stolen, however, as long as you look after it, you're fairly safe.
There is also a problem with this hypothesis. Your insurance company will cover you for a certain amount of cash on your premises or person, however, if someone clones your card and pin, your bank is liable to say that as your pin was used, it must have been you that used it, Either that or you were careless with your pin.
Where small amounts of money are concerned, it can actually be harder to recover stolen electronic money than stolen paper money.
So these are the ways they will get what they want, the cashless society. Have a look out for them as you go about your daily lives.
My advice? Use cash as often as possible. Keep cash popular, don't let them snoop on you, don't accept their arguments and their reasons.
The cashless society is coming, but we can all do our bit to make the transition as difficult as possible. Maybe we can hold it off for long enough that the world starts to see reason once again. I'm not holding my breath though.
There have been some interesting points raised about the cashless society in my earlier posts. Next week we will take a look at these. In the meantime, keep using cash!