How liberty is eroded under the cover of providing 'safety'

Cash is one of the alleged banes of society that has long been in the sights of statist control-freaks everywhere.  The debate over cash has recently received fresh input from none other than that paradise of socialism, Sweden. As reported in 'The Local', „Robberies raise prospect of retail cash ban“.

In it we learn that Sweden has something called the 'Work Environment Authority', one of the countless bureaucracies that tend to spring up in the modern-day State and then perpetuate themselves by constantly inventing new regulations.

 

Per the report in 'the Local':

 

“The head of the Swedish Work Environment Authority (Arbetsmiljöverket) has raised the prospect of a ban on cash in Sweden's retail stores to help tackle the growing problem of robbery. The authority's director-general Mikael Sjöberg refused to rule out the drastic measure in an interview on Wednesday. "You can't rule anything out, it just depends on how risky the situation is. We have very extensive possibilities to explore," Sjöberg told trade union publication Handelsnytt.  The authority is set to conduct an inspection of 3,000 small stores across Sweden to chart opportunities aimed at improving the working environment. "It is not acceptable that people go to work in fear and concerned that they could be subject to a robbery, which does actually happen in this sector," Mikael Sjöberg said.  The Work Environment Authority has previously pushed through cash bans on buses in Sweden after a spate of hold-ups. Robberies against retailers accounted for 9 percent of all robbery cases reported in Sweden in 2007, according to statistics from the National Council for Crime Prevention (Brå). From just under 400 cases per annum in 1987, the number of cases had more than doubled by 2007 after a peak in 2005.“

 

We don't want to give them any ideas, but one might naively ask, why not forbid cars on account of the prevalence of road accidents? A poster named Molly on the EeeUser-forum has put together a number of arguments forwarded by Swedish politicians and bureaucrats in the past in support of banning cash.

While we could not independently verify this list of statements, it certainly rings true, and in part mimics the spurious arguments heard elsewhere before (Molly's own comments in italics):

 

Marie Löök, Policy Officer at the financial sector union of Sweden, has this to say:"It's 'Game Over' for cash"! "2 out of 3 Swedish crowns are circulating in the 'shadow economy'." "Folks using cash usually have something to hide, you don't pay prostitutes with a credit card."

Carin Götblad, Police Commissioner of Stockholm County: "Cash is the lifeblood in the veins of criminality."

Martine Syrjänen-Stålberg of the Swedish Work Environment Association: "A cashless society is a less criminal society." "It will improve the tax morale." (and this I find most insulting): "And wouldn't cashless shopping be much better for senior citizens since they tend to loose their purses/wallets?"

Considering these arguments, which law-abiding citizen could possibly be against a cashless society? As they say: if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear … Amen!

 

We have news for Sweden's bureaucrats: without the so-called 'shadow economy' you'd probably soon have no more economy, period. We're not quite sure if politicians are generally aware of this, but most of the highly taxed welfare/warfare states have an enormous 'gray', or 'shadow' economy, i.e. a large part of economic activity takes place outside of the purview of the bureaucratic red tape and onerous taxation that marks 'official' business activity.

Without this shadow economy, the population's living standards would suffer a large setback and incomes would shrink across the economy due to the inevitable knock-on effects. This means that if governments were in fact to succeed in strangling the gray economy, government revenues would likely collapse as well (income from consumption taxes like VAT and sales taxes would crater right away, and other types of tax revenue streams would follow as the economy weakened).

Furthermore, the assumption that citizens should not have a right to financial privacy (which cash helps to provide) just because there are criminals for whom cash happens to be useful too (we wonder why there is so much violent crime in the socialist paradise by the way?) is wrong a priori.

Note here that there is another important function that cash provides, besides financial privacy – it allows people to remove themselves from the banking system. After all, deposits held at banks are definitely not 100% reserved. The modern day fractionally reserved banks are basically de facto bankrupt all the time (this is to say, they could most definitely not back all depositor claims at short notice).  While there are government guarantees on deposits nearly everywhere (a misguided policy that furthers unnecessary risk taking on the part of both depositors and banks), such guarantees can become worthless in case the government becomes insolvent too.

In addition, these guarantees are usually limited. Eliminating cash would remove people's right to take physical possession of their property – the savings or cash holdings that the banks are supposed to warehouse for them. Fear not though – no government can really eliminate cash anyway, even though many would probably like to do so. The reason is that the shadow economy would then simply move toward using the cash issued by a foreign nation, or would move to a gold payment system.

Of course all these avenues could, and likely would,  be declared illegal as well, but e.g. not even the death penalty was enough to enforce Diocletian's price control edicts in the third century, so we can already state that this won't work either. The main point remains though that statists everywhere are always eager to attempt to misuse a perceived threat to safety to further roll back individual liberty.

Such attempts by the bureaucratic nanny state to encroach upon the rights of allegedly free people should always be resisted – because it is exactly as Benjamin Franklin has famously said: “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. “

 


 
 

Emigrate While You Can... Learn More

 
 

 
 

Dear Readers!

It is that time of the year again – our semi-annual funding drive begins today. Give us a little hand in offsetting the costs of running this blog, as advertising revenue alone is insufficient. You can help us reach our modest funding goal by donating either via paypal or bitcoin. Those of you who have made a ton of money based on some of the things we have said in these pages (we actually made a few good calls lately!), please feel free to up your donations accordingly (we are sorry if you have followed one of our bad calls. This is of course your own fault). Other than that, we can only repeat that donations to this site are apt to secure many benefits. These range from sound sleep, to children including you in their songs, to the potential of obtaining privileges in the afterlife (the latter cannot be guaranteed, but it seems highly likely). As always, we are greatly honored by your readership and hope that our special mixture of entertainment and education is adding a little value to your life!

   

Bitcoin address: 1DRkVzUmkGaz9xAP81us86zzxh5VMEhNke

   
 

One Response to “Sweden discusses ‘cash ban’”

  • gerg:

    it is strange that outlawing cash of all things would be the solution to a spate of robberies. isn’t that letting the bad guys win?

    in the good old days shareholders in US banks were jointly and severally liable for bank debts. this tended to sharpen the mind of the underwriting department.

Your comment:

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Most read in the last 20 days:

  • TMS-2 fast versionA Date Which Will Live in Infamy
      President Nixon’s Decision to Abandon the Gold Standard Franklin Delano Roosevelt called the Japanese “surprise” attack on the U.S. occupied territory of Hawaii and its naval base Pearl Harbor, “A Date Which Will Live in Infamy.”  Similar words should be used for President Nixon’s draconian decision 45 years ago this month that removed America from the last vestiges of the gold standard.   Nixon points out where numerous evil speculators were suspected to be...
  • Perfect-InvestmentInsanity, Oddities and Dark Clouds in Credit-Land
      Insanity Rules Bond markets are certainly displaying a lot of enthusiasm at the moment – and it doesn't matter which bonds one looks at, as the famous “hunt for yield” continues to obliterate interest returns across the board like a steamroller. Corporate and government debt have been soaring for years, but investor appetite for such debt has evidently grown even more.   The perfect investment for modern times: interest-free risk! Illuustration by Howard...
  • CorporateMediacontrolTrump's Tax Plan, Clinton Corruption and Mainstream Media Propaganda
      Fake Money, Fake Capital OUZILLY, France – Little change in the markets on Monday. We are in the middle of vacation season. Who wants to think too much about the stock market? Not us! Yesterday, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump promised to reform the U.S. tax system.   This should actually even appeal to supporters of Bernie Sanders: the lowest income groups will be completely exempt from income and capital gains taxes under Trump's plan. We expect to hear...
  • mania1The Great Stock Market Swindle
      Short Circuited Feedback Loops Finding and filling gaps in the market is one avenue for entrepreneurial success.  Obviously, the first to tap into an unmet consumer demand can unlock massive profits.  But unless there’s some comparative advantage, competition will quickly commoditize the market and profit margins will decline to just above breakeven.   Example of a “commoditized” market – hard-drive storage costs per GB. This is actually the essence of economic...
  • Mark Carney starts work as Bank of England governor in Dave Simonds cartoonBank of England QE and the Imaginary “Brexit Shock”
      Mark Carney, Wrecking Ball For reasons we cannot even begin to fathom, Mark Carney is considered a “superstar” among central bankers. Presumably this was one of the reasons why the British government helped him to execute a well-timed exit from the Bank of Canada by hiring him to head the Bank of England (well-timed because he disappeared from Canada with its bubble economy seemingly still intact, leaving his successor to take the blame).   This is how Mark Carney is seen by...
  • web-puzzled-man-scratching-head-retro-everett-collection-shutterstock_91956314News from TINA Land
      Distortions and Crazy Ideas We have come across a few articles recently that discuss some of the strategies investors are using or contemplating to use as a result of the market distortions caused by current central bank policies. Readers have no doubt noticed that numerous inter-market correlations seem to have been suspended lately, and that many things are happening that superficially seem to make little sense (e.g. falling junk bond yields while defaults are surging; the yen rising...
  • old friendsAn Old Friend Returns
      A Rare Apparition An old friend suddenly showed up out of the blue yesterday and I’m not talking about a contributor who had washed out and, after years of ‘working for the man’, decided to return for another whack at beating the market. Instead I am delighted to report that I am looking at a bona fide confirmed VIX sell signal which we haven’t seen for ages here.   Hello, old friend. Professor X and Magneto staring each other down in the plastic...
  • tortoiseThe Fabian Society and the Gradual Rise of Statist Socialism
      The “Third Way”   “Stealth, intrigue, subversion, and the deception of never calling socialism by its right name” – George Bernard Shaw   An emblem of the Fabian Society: a wolf in sheep's clothing   The Brexit referendum has revealed the existence of a deep polarization in British politics. Apart from the public faces of the opposing campaigns, there were however also undisclosed parties with a vested interest which few people have heard about. And...
  • Lighthouse in Storm --- Image by © John Lund/CorbisSilver is in a Different World
      The Lighthouse Problem Measured in gold, the price of the dollar hardly budged this week. It fell less than one tenth of a milligram, from 23.29 to 23.20mg. However, in silver terms, it’s a different story. The dollar became more valuable, rising from 1.58 to 1.61 grams.   Who put that bobbing lighthouse there? Image credit: John Lund / Corbis   Most people would say that gold went up $6 and silver went down 43 cents. We wonder, if they were on a sinking boat,...
  • storming the storeRetail Snails
      Second Half Recovery Dented by “Resurgent Consumer” We normally don't comment in real time on individual economic data releases. Generally we believe it makes more sense to occasionally look at a bigger picture overview, once at least some of the inevitable revisions have been made. The update we posted last week (“US Economy, Something is Not Right”) is an example.   Eager consumers storming a store Photo credit: Daniel Acker / Bloomberg   We'll make an...
  • The CongressThe Fed’s “Waterloo” Moment
      Corrupt and Unsustainable James has been a big help. Trying to get him to sleep at night, we have been telling him fantastic and unbelievable bedtime stories – full of grotesque monsters... evil maniacs... and events that couldn’t possibly be true (catch up here and here).   He turned his head until his gaze came to rest on the barred windows of the main building. Finally, he spoke; as far as I was aware these were the first words he had uttered in more than five years....
  • Zimbabwe_$100_trillion_2009_ObverseGood Money and Bad Money
      Confidence Gets a Boost OUZILLY, France – Last week’s U.S. jobs report came in better than expected. Stocks rose to new records. As we laid out recently, a better jobs picture should lead the Fed to raise rates. This should cause canny investors to dump stocks.   Canny investors at work (an old, but good one...) Cartoon via Pension Pulse   But the stock market paid no attention. It follows logic of its own. Headlines told us that last Friday’s report “boosted...

Austrian Theory and Investment

Support Acting Man

Own physical gold and silver outside a bank

Archive

j9TJzzN

350x200

Realtime Charts

 

Gold in USD:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

Gold in EUR:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

Silver in USD:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

Platinum in USD:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

USD - Index:

[Most Recent USD from www.kitco.com]

 

THE GOLD CARTEL: Government Intervention on Gold, the Mega Bubble in Paper and What This Means for Your Future

 
Buy Silver Now!
 
Buy Gold Now!
 

Oilprice.com