When we go through the checkout line at the grocery store, pay for fuel at the gas station, or stop by our favorite eatery, how many of us reach into our wallet and pull out the plastic to pay for our purchase? It’s quick, it eliminates the need to carry cash, and depending on card and the payment method chosen, we might even get a small rebate, or be credited with some travel miles for using our plastic. Pretty easy, and arguably more convenient, but when we engage in this practice are we promoting the use of a monetary system that will destroy our privacy and place us under the all controlling hand of our ever growing and controlling government?
Our government’s interest in having a cashless society is nothing new; I remember the push back in the 80’s to promote the concept. Originally the arguments in support of having a cashless society focused on controlling the laundering of money related to the illegal drug trade and to make it more difficult for some individuals/companies to avoid paying their fair share when tax season rolled around each year. What good, honest, citizen would/could possibly complain about such noble purposes? Although the movement was not successful in eliminating the use of cash, it was very successful in promoting that convenient and alleged cost saving process called direct deposit. Once people had their paycheck going directly to the financial institution of their choice the financial community went out of their way to make it easy and convenient for us to access our money through the use of ATM’s.
In our current environment there are any number of additional reasons why our government wants a cashless society, and maybe that could be a topic for discussion another day, but if anyone doubts the world is moving toward a cashless society just look at what is happening in Europe. In some countries purchases over a certain amount must be made electronically. If that doesn’t get your attention think about the recent proposals in this country to eliminate the $50 and $100 bills or the recent acknowledgement by the Federal Reserve that they have been discussing negative interest rates; and this just begins to scratch the surface of the issue.
Think about it, a cashless monetary system would eliminate any and all privacy. There would be a record of every purchase you make, and, if you spent any money, there would be a record of every place you have been. You would have absolutely no privacy from the prying eyes of BIG BROTHER.
At our February Statewide Meeting/Training our guest speaker, Claire Gastanaga, when talking about stingrays and her response to people who ask why she was opposed to them (the proponents argument being if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to worry about), said, “Because without privacy you can have no freedom.” What a powerful statement!!
In my opinion, anyone interested in liberty and freedom should be alarmed about the conversations taking place about adopting a cashless monetary system, so, the next time you approach that cashier and reach for your plastic think about it; is it really worth the convenience? I think most of us are familiar with, and agree with, Benjamin Franklin’s well known words, “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” (There are several versions of this statement, this one came from a letter he wrote in 1755; he may well have used similar words on more than one occasion.) Given the significance of both Franklin’s and Claire’s words, I do not think it would be inappropriate to combine them to make a point; so, when you are standing in that checkout line ask yourself if you are one of those who are willing to give up privacy for a little convenience?