February 26, 2016 at 11:22 pm #47562
Going back to L Tecolote’s 6 Feb post about a cashless society, I found the following additional recent developments to add to the other items posted:
➢ January 22: Norway’s biggest bank, DNB, called for the country to stop using cash.
➢ January 29: The editorial board of Bloomberg published an article titled “Bring on the Cashless Future.” It called for the elimination of physical cash.
➢ February 4: The Financial Times ran an op-ed titled “The Benefits of Scrapping Cash.” It advocated the elimination of physical money.
➢ February 8: Peter Sands, president emeritus of Harvard, issued a paper titled “Making it Harder for the Bad Guys: The Case for Eliminating High Denomination Notes.” It advocates removing large bills from circulation to help fight the various made-up wars…the war on crime, the war on drugs, the war on terror…
(As always, I’m only recommending this article for the meat – NOT the advertising come-ons. Casey Research isn’t what it used to be, with Doug Casey no longer in charge, but Porter-the-used-car-salesman Stansberry at the helm.)
I have had some increasing (and increasingly concerning) thought about one aspect of a cashless society, however. Supposing we really, truly get to a point where cash is outlawed or deemed worthless after a certain “turn in” date, and all that’s deemed “legal” after that date is digital cash? At that point, gold and silver would simply be contraband. Today, many people hold it in case of massive inflation, expecting it to hold its value so they can cash it in and make a profit or at least still break even, having avoided the inflation. But if cash doesn’t exist anymore, and gold and silver can no longer be “turned in” for digital credits, it would seem reasonable to assume that people won’t be as interested in accepting it in an underground economy, since there’s no method of conversion back to what most people know – cash.
It would seem that holding some cash to get through a significant period of closed banks, some gold and silver to continue to be able to “trade” with people and businesses, and then have plenty of spare commodities on hand for barter, would be a very wise mix. In the investment world, they call that diversification of assets to protect against diverse circumstances. What if gold no longer has any quantifiable value because it’s no longer convertible to cash (which no longer exists)? Even in a non-SHTF scenario, FedGov could force us into an extremely tight position – deal in digital money so they can track everything we do, or spawn a massively larger underground barter economy than currently exists.
One might respond to the above scenario with the question, “Well how would they know?” Easy! They’ve already got our incomes, deductions, credit card and checking spending patterns, etc., from years of IRS returns, and other trackable transactions. Sudden major deviations in spending patterns would be a giveaway that we’re up to something, and it wouldn’t be revenue-friendly for the feds. I can imagine it being similar to what happens if you “sell” a house to a family member, but charge 0% interest. The Feds will “impute” interest, and come back and charge you fines and penalties for not having paid your “fair” tax on the “fair market value” interest rate you “should” have received. As in that example, if IRS deems that we’re not spending “enough” based on prior patterns, I can easily see them imputing a spending amount and coming after us looking for our bartering activity so they can tax us on that as “income” (that’s currently the case, by the way, for those that don’t know – they call bartering “income” for tax purposes).
We’re heading down a very slippery slope that is about to have a steep drop off.February 26, 2016 at 11:45 pm #47565
GS: Understand what you are saying. Is there any historical precedent of a society that was forced into a black market barter system because the currency was effectively worthless due to hyperinflation? Or perhaps a two tier economy where there was currency control and people used their money (digital or fiat) on one tier and a barter economy on the second tier.
I just don’t understand how even with a total digital currency you can control people and their desires. Don’t have the answer, but people will always try to find a way around any government regulation. As far as I know, gold has never been totally worthless.
Don’t disagree that the government will not try for total control. Just think it will be incredibly hard to implement.February 27, 2016 at 1:05 am #47567
I just don’t understand how even with a total digital currency you can control people and their desires. Don’t have the answer, but people will always try to find a way around any government regulation.
Governmental controls are never perfect, but once they have most of the people reduced to barely scraping by (and they’ll know that, at least) anyone who buys stuff not needed for just hanging on, e.g., bartering stuff, in trade-able amounts, will stand out, if someone’s paying attention to the digital record.
In the old Soviet Union, it was possible, though unusual, for an ordinary citizen to buy a (poorly made, governmentally-produced) automobile. Gasoline, however, was expensive, and rationed, in the hope of preventing escape attempts, and (Heaven forbid!) capitalism. But bureaucrats on “government business,” and truck drivers making regulated deliveries, had access to the fuel they needed for their “work.” It was estimated that almost 1/3 of all private driving was fueled by black market gasoline, obtained clandestinely, after the necessary bribe, from civil serpents and truckers. But then they didn’t have automated programs, using the latest algorithms, to compare trip miles, and consumption — just other (mostly lazy) government “workers,” back in the day. Now — who knows?
I suspect clever people will still find ways to survive without authorization. After all, how do truckloads of people and dope (and what else?) continue to come in over the border?
Cry, "Treason!"February 27, 2016 at 3:31 am #47568
Oh, I don’t believe FedGov will ever completely subdue everyone or control the entire economy (i.e. wipe out private transactions of whatever sort between people). My concern was about whether gold (and silver) will be a great a solution as not only the profiteering TV ads and Glenn Beck would have us believe, but even the financial gurus, many of whom may honestly believe what they’re predicting: “Buy gold now to secure your future.” If we go all digital and the gold can’t be converted into physical, recognized and authorized “cash,” people with large stores of gold may be seriously panicked when they want to buy food from someone else that also has some gold of their own, and are in the same dilemma. Many aren’t going to want it, simply because they don’t see an easy (and legal) conversion of that gold to something they won’t get in trouble for. Now black market food, ammo, etc. – THOSE are things that could get people in trouble in those days. The government may not even bother with a mandatory turn in of gold, since it no longer backs anything officially anyway – that way they avoid the outrage of the public that have been listening to William Devane and buying gold against the runaway printing of money in “other” countries (listen carefully to his commercials – it’s hilarious!).
But no – PEOPLE will always be resourceful, for better or worse, and the government will not be able to control everyone ultimately. It just won’t be easy or pretty while we’re still successfully resisting. And with digital “money” I don’t think our gold and silver will be of benefit to the magnitude the financial writers and commercials would have us believe. Those predictions are all based on a history WITH physical money that could be used to buy and sell gold.February 27, 2016 at 4:52 am #47569
Roadracer, in addition to the above response, I need to respond to your first question:
Is there any historical precedent of a society that was forced into a black market barter system because the currency was effectively worthless due to hyperinflation? Or perhaps a two tier economy where there was currency control and people used their money (digital or fiat) on one tier and a barter economy on the second tier.
I’m not personally aware of such a system where the economy was forced completely into a black market barter system, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t exist at some point. Even with hyperinflation, the price of gold in the hyperinflated currency will still follow the inflation at least to some extent. One of my favorite sites to check multiple times per week is the Kitco.com home page. Scroll all the way down to the bottom of the center column and look at the price of gold in the various currencies. It fluctuates in a real-time basis in each currency, depending on the value of that particular currency. If inflation goes up, it takes more of that currency to buy the same ounce of gold available anywhere else at whatever price is in play in some other country. There’s been a rule of thumb that has been fairly true for a long, long time – that an ounce of gold will always pay for a very high quality men’s suit. Fifty years ago, that was true, and it’s just as true today, despite large differences in the price of gold between then and now. And I suspect that would also be true in Zimbabwe with their hyperinflation crisis, because one could go in with $US and trade for outrageous “quantities” of their currency (wheel barrow loads), and each quantity of the two currencies had their own gold “price.”
But to my knowledge we’ve never had a time when there was NO physical currency, except before the concept of coinage had been developed – before which it was pure barter of commodities, skills, labor, etc. If we go all digital, and there is a conversion deadline after which no more conversions will be processed (i.e. “credited” to one’s digital “bank” account), the government won’t need to confiscate gold again, because gold won’t be recognized as currency (except such things as the Silver Eagle and Gold Eagle, etc. – which by then would have passed THEIR conversion deadlines). And people would be left with a choice of selling their gold and silver for “cash” just before the conversion deadline so they could then convert it to digital money, or holding it beyond the deadline when there was no longer a recognized currency into which the metal could be converted. Sure, some people would want it, but it would not have an easy or universal pricing scheme, and would probably end up being whatever any two people decided was a “fair” trade. This would be uncharted territory, and any current thinking based on history may end up being entirely meaningless.
This is just my own relatively recent conjecture, and frankly I hope someone can shoot it out of the water – because I don’t like the looks of it. But I can’t figure out a way that precious metals, even in recognizable form (“junk” pre-1965 silver coins, Silver or Gold Eagles, Krugerrands, Maple Leafs, etc.) would really have any quantifiable value if the prevailing government-decreed currency was purely digital, and they weren’t accepting any more “trade ins.”
As for a two-tier system (the “legal” and government-accepted currency + an underground barter economy)? Sure. It’s happening now, and has always happened since the dawn of the first coinage system. Whether digital or paper/coinage, both that and underground barter would somehow still be in play.
By the way – take a look at the bottom of the right column on the Kitco page. That chart is always in that spot, as well as the currency chart being at the bottom of the center column. At the lower right you can always see the real-time price of oil, the $US index, and several major stock markets. It’s interesting (and instructive) to watch those regularly, and get a feel for what’s happening with them. For example, the dollar index has been steadily climbing toward 100 and hovering right there now for some time, while both the Canadian and Australian dollars have been absolutely hammered! (Note they’ve both been hovering right around $1.40 in their currencies compared to the $US, despite having both been at parity with the $US just 3 years ago. And whereas the British Pound would buy more than $1.69 US less than two years ago, today it will only buy about $1.38 in conversion.) We are scared of our economy? Virtually everyone else has been hammered! And that’s by far the reason why the $US is so “high” right now. We just happen to be the cream of the cr@p.February 27, 2016 at 11:29 am #47574
If the dollar falls , digital currency is a waste of time , as it will be like the Weimar Republic in Germany , after WW1 . If the Russians and Chinese have their way , and create a gold backed currency of their own , hold onto Syria and other places , we are screwed . In all economically challenged countries , the black market , and barter will be an unstoppable way of life . It was so in this country during the great depression , but more because people didnt have a lot of physical cash , they bartered skill , goods , or labor for things as simple as a daily meal , or a place to sleep . It was a way of life until WW2 broke out and put everybody back to work . They will have a very hard time getting rid of cash . What scares me , is that if or when the collapse happens , its going to make the 1930’s look like a cake walk . I dont think the government will be in any position to control much of anything beyond staying in power ……………even that may not be a total guarantee , people are not very ” patriotic ” anymore , when it comes to the government , and with good reason . Historically , economic collapse is a very dangerous situation for any society . The reason being , that the situation can be exploited by those with ill intent and high charisma , Hitler , Mussolini , Lenin , etc . Always leading to the fall of the the old government . We are people to , and not immune to that kind of thing . I think the government will having to preform a very great balancing act to stay in power . Back in the 1930s , nobody really knew what to do , including world governments , it had never happened to that degree before . That is why after it was over , more safe guards were put in place . I think that will hold true the next time around , nobody will know what to do to peacefully get out of it . Thats another worry , in this day and age , warfare is far to dangerous a game to play , as it could very well end humanity . In that respect I think NATO did the right thing with Turkey to try to keep things from escalating in a direction that nobody could get out of .February 27, 2016 at 12:15 pm #47575
The depression of the 30’s wasn’t a complete collapse no more so than what we have today. The difference between now and then is currently government welfare programs are keeping the non working segement of society happy with other people’s money.
A record 93,626,000 Americans 16 or older did not participate in the nation’s labor force in June, as the labor force participation rate dropped to 62.6 percent. 46,000,000 people are on food stamps.
Can you imagine what it would be (will be) like if these people are not fed?February 27, 2016 at 12:45 pm #47576
Scary indeed , I worry about the golden hoard as well , its going to get ugly . The thing is about the current job situation in the US , as we all know ………..what jobs ? they are out there , but for the most part , they are crap jobs that dont pay all that much , some is laziness on the part of the people , but the other side is that we have shipped out most of our good jobs , and left the crap . In that realm , I do think if Trump gets elected , he will be able to steer us back in the right direction .February 27, 2016 at 3:13 pm #47577
I do think if Trump gets elected , he will be able to steer us back in the right direction .
Trump is a wild card. We don’t really have a clue what he’ll do. He’s the man that put Hillary and Chelsea in the front row at his most recent wedding, in the place his parents would have sat if they had been alive. He’s the guy that thinks eminent domain is one of the greatest things since sliced bread. He’s the guy that is on video tape saying an unequivocal “No” to the questions of whether he was opposed to EITHER “a woman’s right to choose” or partial birth abortion specifically. How does one suddenly change his or her moral values or even basic sensibilities from favoring brutal destruction of a viable baby’s brain while only PART way out of the birth canal, to suddenly opposing that barbaric practice? I found the attachment (be sure to click it to make it full size) to be very thought provoking as I considered The Donald’s own favored strategies from his own book (The Art of the Deal), and compared those to virtually every campaign speech or debate performance he’s given.
Better than Billary or Bernie? Perhaps, but in what way(s)? And how do you really know? Back to the top: he’s a wild card, and we have no idea what we’ll really get besides a guy that can’t keep multiple marriages together, is willing to walk all over anybody for the sake of money and power, and who’s on record as changing his policies on almost anything throughout his career – so long as it will benefit him.
[attachment file=”Trump Deals.jpg”]February 27, 2016 at 3:52 pm #47582
Right now Trump’s only interest is to win the Presidency. What he says is meaningless. He is playing the pubic for fools, he is just like a weasel trying to get laid. Telling them anything to make them happy and compliant.February 27, 2016 at 4:15 pm #47585
Trump is a wild card. We don’t really have a clue what he’ll do.
Better than Billary or Bernie? Perhaps, but in what way(s)? And how do you really know?
That tallies with my estimate of the man. If he becomes the prez, I’ll expect the Trumpster to soon be known as the Trickster, as he discovers that some of his tall talk can’t be realistically put into practice — there is still a CONgress and an Extreme Court, after all.
Cry, "Treason!"February 27, 2016 at 4:47 pm #47586
I have now made my choice and will be voting accordingly next Tuesday (see attachment).February 27, 2016 at 4:55 pm #47588
True , but are any of them any different ?………………………….nope !
Ol Ron P is retired from politics ………………..so from what there is to choose from , it is what it is . At least we dont have to worry about another Bush .February 27, 2016 at 6:23 pm #47590
At least we dont have to worry about another Bush .
Worrying is up to the individual, but T Rump could just be drawing everyone’s attention until — oops! — the Brokeback convention nominates John Ellis Bush. (You gotta know that’s what Lather Rinse Repreibus, and all the Big$$ RINOs, are still scheming to do.)
Cry, "Treason!"February 27, 2016 at 7:35 pm #47591
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