The Strategist

Steve Forbes, Chairman of Forbes Media "The move to destroy cash feeds into the economic commissars' fantasy that they can better control the economy."


03/25/2019 - 10:03



In the face of mounting support for the war on cash, Steve Forbes takes a stand to shed light on what he considers very shady business. With precise analysis, he details how the announced goals of currency restrictions are highly unlikely to be met and represent a deceptive maneuver from governments.



The debate on the “end of cash”, which was considered ludicrous not so long ago, has been gaining attention, and the chief editor of Forbes magazine sees a great threat within. On his own website, he wrote in mid-2016 the article “Why Big Government Is Waging War Against Cash ”. The future made him right to worry.
 
The push against cash has taken many forms, and been carried out by many different parties (each with different angles). But whatever the arguments, they all have two things in common: they aim to suppress, gradually or not, hard currency, and are discreetly carried out. In fact, banks, financial service providers, and governments would rather not talk about it at all, and quietly set up new regulations, outside the public debate. Equedia investment research posts : “the European Central Bank last year has already phased out the use of the 500-euro bill. In France and Italy, it’s illegal to use cash to buy anything that costs more than €1,000. [...] In Spain, they also just dropped the maximum cash transaction from €2500 down to €1,000. Even Germany is talking about banning cash payments of more than €5,000.” But when compelled to reveal the reasons why cash is being pushed out, it is always for the greater good.
 
In the focus chosen by Steve Forbes, he describes the government as claiming high-denomination bills, such as the 100-dollar “Benjamin”, as a vital financial tool for drug traffickers, tax evaders, bribers and terrorists. Indeed, the argument has been brandished by several governments in the world, in their push towards the cashless revolution. He derides the argument by reminding that the Obama administration flew a cargo plane full of dollar bills to Iran, as part of the nuclear deal. According to Jon Greenberg, senior correspondent at Politifact: “In 2016, Iran received about $1.7 billion as part of the nuclear agreement. The money was legally due to Iran. The country had paid America for military equipment in 1979, but then the Iranian revolution came, and the hardware was never delivered.” Forbes points out that the US government’s argument that cash is vital to terrorism seems disingenuous in this light, given that Iran is considered by the US to be the world’s greatest terrorist safe haven. If indeed Washington believed cash to be the lifeblood of terrorism, it would be disinclined to send boat-loads of dollar bills to Tehran.
 
According to Steve Forbes, the push against cash is nothing more than a power grab and a diversion. After years of what the influential press magnate considers to be excessive tax, regulation and poor currency management, the government is keen to designate new culprits, and cash will do that fine. Several central banks have designed new ways to prolong the citizen’s overspending on which Western economies rely. Central banks have recently pushed interest rates extremely low, and even negative in some cases, so as to pressure citizens to spend, and not save. However, citizens could be tempted to evade the stratagem, by simply transferring their funds out of the bank, in the form of cash. Banks therefore need to attack cash, as was done in India in 2016, for the strategy to work and citizens to be completely under control.
 
High on the list of concerns of Steve Forbes, the matter of privacy - a worry which is shared by a great many observers in the world. He writes: “The real reason for this war on cash--start with the big bills and then work your way down--is an ugly power grab by Big Government. People will have less privacy: electronic commerce makes it easier for Big Brother to see what we're doing, thereby making it simpler to bar activities it doesn't like, such as purchasing salt, sugar, big bottles of soda and Big Macs.” Cash is indeed the only private means of payment, as reminded by New York Times reporter Sarah Meiklejohn, in her article “If Privacy Matters, Cash Is Still King”. Until cryptocurrency managers find a way to prevent theft, cash is the only safe peer-to-peer way to make payments, and to prevent the government from having absolute power over the economic lives of its citizens.
 
Sweden, long considered a champion of the cashless revolution, with barely one percent of payments made in cash, is failing to go all digital, as an increasing number of watchdogs have warned of how it could be used to instigate subtle totalitarianism. Indian prime minister Narendra Modi inadvertently provided Steve Forbes with a perfect case in point, with a cash-killing reform at the end of 2016, which was considered universally brutal, counterproductive and authoritarian. So far, most of the opposition to cash-bans has come from the people, and not the elites. Steve Forbes takes the lead on the opposing trend with his new article by becoming one of the first people from the establishment to call out the lobby.
The debate on the “end of cash”, which was considered ludicrous not so long ago, has been gaining attention, and the chief editor of Forbes magazine sees a great threat within. On his own website, he wrote in mid-2016 the article “Why Big Government Is Waging War Against Cash ”. The future made him right to worry.
 
The push against cash has taken many forms, and been carried out by many different parties (each with different angles). But whatever the arguments, they all have two things in common: they aim to suppress, gradually or not, hard currency, and are discreetly carried out. In fact, banks, financial service providers, and governments would rather not talk about it at all, and quietly set up new regulations, outside the public debate. Equedia investment research posts : “the European Central Bank last year has already phased out the use of the 500-euro bill. In France and Italy, it’s illegal to use cash to buy anything that costs more than €1,000. [...] In Spain, they also just dropped the maximum cash transaction from €2500 down to €1,000. Even Germany is talking about banning cash payments of more than €5,000.” But when compelled to reveal the reasons why cash is being pushed out, it is always for the greater good.
 
In the focus chosen by Steve Forbes, he describes the government as claiming high-denomination bills, such as the 100-dollar “Benjamin”, as a vital financial tool for drug traffickers, tax evaders, bribers and terrorists. Indeed, the argument has been brandished by several governments in the world, in their push towards the cashless revolution. He derides the argument by reminding that the Obama administration flew a cargo plane full of dollar bills to Iran, as part of the nuclear deal. According to Jon Greenberg, senior correspondent at Politifact: “In 2016, Iran received about $1.7 billion as part of the nuclear agreement. The money was legally due to Iran. The country had paid America for military equipment in 1979, but then the Iranian revolution came, and the hardware was never delivered.” Forbes points out that the US government’s argument that cash is vital to terrorism seems disingenuous in this light, given that Iran is considered by the US to be the world’s greatest terrorist safe haven. If indeed Washington believed cash to be the lifeblood of terrorism, it would be disinclined to send boat-loads of dollar bills to Tehran.
 
According to Steve Forbes, the push against cash is nothing more than a power grab and a diversion. After years of what the influential press magnate considers to be excessive tax, regulation and poor currency management, the government is keen to designate new culprits, and cash will do that fine. Several central banks have designed new ways to prolong the citizen’s overspending on which Western economies rely. Central banks have recently pushed interest rates extremely low, and even negative in some cases, so as to pressure citizens to spend, and not save. However, citizens could be tempted to evade the stratagem, by simply transferring their funds out of the bank, in the form of cash. Banks therefore need to attack cash, as was done in India in 2016, for the strategy to work and citizens to be completely under control.
 
High on the list of concerns of Steve Forbes, the matter of privacy - a worry which is shared by a great many observers in the world. He writes: “The real reason for this war on cash--start with the big bills and then work your way down--is an ugly power grab by Big Government. People will have less privacy: electronic commerce makes it easier for Big Brother to see what we're doing, thereby making it simpler to bar activities it doesn't like, such as purchasing salt, sugar, big bottles of soda and Big Macs.” Cash is indeed the only private means of payment, as reminded by New York Times reporter Sarah Meiklejohn, in her article “If Privacy Matters, Cash Is Still King”. Until cryptocurrency managers find a way to prevent theft, cash is the only safe peer-to-peer way to make payments, and to prevent the government from having absolute power over the economic lives of its citizens.
 
Sweden, long considered a champion of the cashless revolution, with barely one percent of payments made in cash, is failing to go all digital, as an increasing number of watchdogs have warned of how it could be used to instigate subtle totalitarianism. Indian prime minister Narendra Modi inadvertently provided Steve Forbes with a perfect case in point, with a cash-killing reform at the end of 2016, which was considered universally brutal, counterproductive and authoritarian. So far, most of the opposition to cash-bans has come from the people, and not the elites. Steve Forbes takes the lead on the opposing trend with his new article by becoming one of the first people from the establishment to call out the lobby.
 




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