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!

You may have noticed that our so-called “semiannual” funding drive, which started sometime in the summer if memory serves, has seamlessly segued into the winter. In fact, the year is almost over! We assure you this is not merely evidence of our chutzpa; rather, it is indicative of the fact that ad income still needs to be supplemented in order to support upkeep of the site. Naturally, the traditional benefits that can be spontaneously triggered by donations to this site remain operative regardless of the season - ranging from a boost to general well-being/happiness (inter alia featuring improved sleep & appetite), children including you in their songs, up to the likely allotment of privileges in the afterlife, etc., etc., but the Christmas season is probably an especially propitious time to cross our palms with silver. A special thank you to all readers who have already chipped in, your generosity is greatly appreciated. Regardless of that, we are honored by everybody's readership and hope we have managed to add a little value to your life.

   

Bitcoin address: 1DRkVzUmkGaz9xAP81us86zzxh5VMEhNke

   
 

2 Responses to “Sweden discusses ‘cash ban’”

Your comment:

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Most read in the last 20 days:

  • Speculative Blow-Offs in Stock Markets – Part 1
      Defying Expectations Why is the stock market seemingly so utterly oblivious to the potential dangers and in some respects quite obvious fundamental problems the global economy faces? Why in particular does this happen at a time when valuations are already extremely stretched? Questions along these lines are raised increasingly often by our correspondents lately. One could be smug about it and say “it's all technical”, but there is more to it than that. It may not be rocket science, but...
  • Speculative Blow-Offs in Stock Markets – Part 2
      Blow-Off Pattern Recognition As noted in Part 1, historically, blow-patterns in stock markets share many characteristics.  One of them is a shifting monetary backdrop, which becomes more hostile just as prices begin to rise at an accelerated pace, the other is the psychological backdrop to the move, which entails growing pressure on the remaining skeptics and helps investors to rationalize their exposure to overvalued markets. In addition to this, the chart patterns of  stock indexes...
  • India: Still the Fastest Growing Large Economy?
      India’s Currency Ban - Part X It has now been four months since Narendra Modi declared about 86% of monetary value of currency illegal. Linked here is the last in my series of updates, which was written soon after the deadline to deposit the demonetized currency. Most of the banned currency was eventually deposited, making a mockery of Modi, who had claimed that unaccounted money would not reach the banks.  Perhaps 3% of the cash never reached the banks.   A cunning plan...
  • Gold Sector: Positioning and Sentiment
      A Case of Botched Timing, But... When last we wrote about the gold sector in mid February, we discussed historical patterns in the HUI following breaches of its 200-day moving average from below. Given that we expected such a breach to occur relatively soon, the post turned out to be rather ill-timed. Luckily we always advise readers that we are not exactly Nostradamus (occasionally our timing is a bit better). Below is a chart of the HUI Index depicting the action since the January...
  • They're Worried You Might Buy Bitcoin or Gold - Precious Metals Supply and Demand
      Bitcoin Mania The price of gold has been rising, but perhaps not enough to suit the hot money. Meanwhile, the price of Bitcoin has shot up even faster. From $412, one year ago, to $1290 on Friday, it has gained over 200% (and, unlike gold, we can say that Bitcoin went up — it’s a speculative asset that goes up and down with no particular limit).   Bitcoins are a lot less tangible than this picture implies, but they are getting a lot of love recently...
  • Welcome to Totalitarian America, President Trump!
      Trump vs. the Deep State If there had been any doubt that the land of the free and home of the brave is now a totalitarian society, the revelations that its Chief Executive Officer has been spied upon while campaigning for that office and during his brief tenure as president should now be allayed.   Image adapted from the cover of “Deep State #5” - depicting an assassin from the future   President Trump joins the very crowded list of opponents of the American...
  • The Long Run Economics of Debt Based Stimulus
      Onward vs. Upward Something both unwanted and unexpected has tormented western economies in the 21st century.  Gross domestic product (GDP) has moderated onward while government debt has spiked upward.  Orthodox economists continue to be flummoxed by what has transpired.   What happened to the miracle? The Keynesian wet dream of an unfettered fiat debt money system has been realized, and debt has been duly expanded at every opportunity.  Although the fat lady has so far only...
  • Boosting Stock Market Returns With A Simple Trick
      Systematic Trading Based on Statistics Trading methods based on statistics represent an unusual approach for many investors. Evaluation of a security's fundamental merits is not of concern, even though it can of course be done additionally. Rather, the only important criterion consists of typical price patterns determined by statistical examination of past trends.   Fundamental considerations such as the valuation of stocks are not really relevant to the statistics-based trading...
  • Searching for Truth
      Heresy or Truth? RANCHO SANTANA, NICARAGUA – In the fifth century, Christian scholars counted 88 different heresies. Arianism. Eutychianism. Nestorianism. If there was a way to “offend” God, they had a name for it. One group of “heretics” argued that there was no such thing as “original sin.” Another denied the trinity. And another claimed Jesus was not divine. Which one had the truth?   Depiction of the first Council of Ephesus in 431 AD, convened by Emperor...
  • Why the 21st Century Sucks - Turtles All the Way Down
      A Truly Sucky Century BALTIMORE – What an awful century! Worst we’ve ever seen. Household incomes are down. Employment is down, with 7 million people in the U.S. of working age without jobs. Productivity growth is down. GDP growth is down – to only about 0.5% per capita last year. Even life expectancies are down. Drug overdoses are up. Suicides are up. One out of every eight children lives in a family getting food stamps. One of out every eight adults takes psychoactive drugs...
  • Gold and the Fed's Looming Rate Hike in March
      Long Term Technical Backdrop Constructive After a challenging Q4 in 2016 in the context of rising bond yields and a stronger US dollar, gold seems to be getting its shine back in Q1. The technical picture is beginning to look a little more constructive and the “reflation trade”, spurred on further by expectations of higher infrastructure spending and tax cuts in the US, has thus far also benefited gold. From a technical perspective, there are indications that the low at $1045.40,...
  • India: The next Pakistan?
      India’s Rapid Degradation This is Part XI of a series of articles (the most recent of which is linked here) in which I have provided regular updates on what started as the demonetization of 86% of India's currency. The story of demonetization and the ensuing developments were merely a vehicle for me to explore Indian institutions, culture and society.   The Modimobile is making the rounds amid a flower shower. [PT] Photo credit: PTI Photo   Tribal cultures face...

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