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Cash means freedom

The End of Cash; The End of Freedom

Recently the Indian government took high value bills out of circulation, in order to fight corruption. This has been bad for the economy, not just because the gray economy is large in India, but because India is a place where a ton of business is done by cash, not by credit.

In France, because of “terrorism”, cash purchases are now limited to one thousand euros.

In many countries there is a push to move away from cash, towards electronic payments. Electronic payments are, of course, easier for governments to track.

The obvious point is about taxation; you can tax money you know about. But the less obvious point is about control and surveillance: if everything is done electronically you can know who is doing what, because spending is doing. Nothing meaningful can be done in the modern world without money following it: people need money to live and money must be used to buy any goods involved.

If everything can be seen, everything can be controlled. Readers may remember when PayPal, Visa and Mastercard all decided to cut off payments to Wikileaks. I know it’s common on the left now to hate Wikileaks, but only a fool doesn’t understand the power involved in stopping someone from getting money.
     — Ian Welsh

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