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Cash is freedom

by | Jun 7, 2024 | Office Space | 2 comments

If you live in a Western country, you will be under relentless and remorseless pressure to switch away from currency, toward cashless and even contactless methods of payment. In Australia, for instance, the banks are actively colluding to make it nearly impossible to use cash. They want to remove ATMs, stop handling cash in-house, and putting in ferocious monitoring standards to ensure you cannot deposit (or withdraw) large amounts of cash without tripping their algorithms.

That, of course, is Death-and-Convict-Land, where – as we are so fond of saying around here – LITERALLY EVERYTHING WANTS TO KILL YOU AND EAT YOUR EYEBALLS FOR JUJUBEES!!!, including all the local banks. But the situation in most other parts of the developed world is not really much better.

The “northern” European countries have been actively working to phase out cash for over a decade. In many mainland European nations, cash usage is a relative rarity – exacerbated by the fact that European banks charge ATM fees for their customers. The highly advanced payments infrastructures – well, for now, until the inevitable results of Wakandanism catch up with them – in the Scandicuck and Lowland countries allow for almost completely cashless payments.

Interestingly, Britain, of all places, is substantially more cash-friendly (relatively speaking) than many of its European peers – despite having one of the most advanced and innovative payments infrastructures in the world. This is due to a variety of factors, at least one of which is cultural – unlike in much of the rest of the world, Brits are used to the idea of free cash withdrawals from most ATMs, and they have a non-profit ATM operator called LINK that manages most of their ATMs for them. This sets PommieBastardLande apart from many other Western nations, where banks themselves own and operate their ATM networks.

I have not lived in the FUSA for many years now, but when I did live there, cash was still relatively commonplace. This is because the payments infrastructure in the US lags very badly behind that of other countries. For instance, when I came to the UK for a secondment arrangement about a decade ago, my US bank card had no chip-and-PIN functionality whatsoever – if I paid for anything using that card, I had to sign for it – but I was able to open up a UK bank account fairly quickly, and my UK debit card had that functionality built right in, along with contactless payment. It took my American bank another 2 years, at least, to catch up with the chip-and-PIN thing, and another five years after that to catch up with the contactless feature.

That very lag, along with the sheer size and geographical distribution of Amerikhastan, is ironically one of the greatest safeguards of American liberty – what little of it is left, anyway. You see, the US government has been trying, for years, to get a so-called “Central Bank Digital Currency” off the ground. I happen to know a thing or three about that concept, and I can tell you that, while it sounds brilliant in theory (to a bankster, anyway), the practical details of implementing it are extremely difficult, especially in a nation with a fragmented banking system and a substantial “unbanked” population that relies on and uses cash.

That very reliance on cash is precisely what The Powers That Be want to stamp out. In the minds of government bureaucrats, if people want to use cash, they must be drug dealers, prostitutes, gun-runners, and lawbreakers of various kinds – there is no such thing as an innocent person, to them, except themselves and their families, of course. They will argue that cash is outmoded and outdated, and that a cashless society is highly desirable, because it cuts down on tax evasion and avoidance, thereby giving more money to the government to invest in schools, roads, and social services.

This is, of course, a profoundly ridiculous argument. All you have to do is to look around any Western nation today, to realise how idiotic it really is. The observable FACT is that governments in the West have utterly failed to protect their nations, and they are now rapidly running into the upper limits of fiscal tomfoolery.

The truth is, governments do not want to stop you from using cash because they want to give you better services. They want to stop you from using cash, because then they can control you.

This is not very difficult to figure out. Again, based on my own personal experience with big data analytics, working for one of the giant global payment processors, I can tell you that every time you use your VISA or MasterCard plastic, the issuing bank knows where you spent that money, and how much you spent – which they can then use for their own compliance and enforcement algorithms. Further, the place where you spent that money, knows what you bought, and how frequently you visited that establishment, and can create a persona of your spending patterns based on all of those data points.

The implications are terrifying – or they should be, if you are paying attention.

Anyone who has brains enough to count time to music, can then figure out fairly quickly who you are, what you do, how you pay for things, and where you go about your daily life. This is why the first thing the police do when hunting criminals, is to run checks on their bank accounts. The moment those criminals make a transaction with a monitored credit or debit card, the Fuzz knows exactly where to find them and arrest them.

Imagine what happens when your government treats you like it does any other criminal. You end up with a country that is very much like… well, China, where mobile banking and payments are truly enormous in both volume and value.

We all remember, or should, what happened when the Kung Flu hit there. The entire country turned into one giant prison camp for over a billion people. And the Chinese exported that particular brand of insanity – along with the Chinese Chicken Pox – to the entire world. We all suffered the inanities, indignities, and stupidities of their government’s colossal cock-ups for two long and terrible years. We are still paying the price for that idiocy today.

Under no circumstances should we seek to repeat those mistakes.

Which brings me to the real point of today’s missive:

If you keep cash on you, then you have a degree of flexibility and freedom that you will never have if you insist on using plastic – or, worse, your phone. And if you value that freedom, then you must be willing to put up with the comparatively minor inconvenience of having to keep track of all the change in your pocket or wallet.

That is a small price to pay, for being able to visit the grocery store, or the local wine shop, or your favourite coffee place, without being tracked by some snooping algorithm.

And that is before we get to the fact that, in the event of a serious power outage or solar flare, the payment networks are not hardened enough to withstand a serious punch like that. The people who will thrive in such a situation, are the ones who had the foresight to carry some cash on them.

In my case, I do carry cash with me, and I keep a bigger stash of it in my home – just in case. I have not yet broken the habit of whipping out my debit card for most transactions, but where and when I can, I try to use cash for as many transactions as possible now.

Yes, it might take a bit longer. Yes, it might be mildly irritating to carry around coins – and my British friends, who have to deal with GIGANTIFEROUS and unusually heavy coinage in their country, know quite well what I mean by that.

But the convenience of cashless payments is not worth the loss of freedom that comes with it.

Also, if you are using your phone for payments in stores… just STOP.

Your mobile phone may well be one of the greatest inventions of all time, but it is also, in many ways, a portal to Hell itself. Switch back to using a plastic card, at first, and eventually, move to using cash. Your phone is for taking pictures, reading sites like Didactic Mind, and doomscrolling through the Didactic Mind Telegram channel. It also apparently has some sort of, y’know, phone function, though relatively few people use it for that these days.

If you want to preserve your freedom, and prevent data miners and brokers from taking your transaction history and using it to construct a frighteningly accurate portrait of you, then go back to using cash wherever possible.

Now, this is not practical in every case. The fact is, you will still need to pay for things online with credit and debit cards. You will still have to use your credit and debit cards to buy most expensive items. This is inevitable. It is also actually a good thing, because – as anyone who has ever lived in a low-quality, low-trust Shitholistan, like India, can attest – you get a receipt for those items, and that means, if anything goes wrong, you can get your money back.

This is not to be underestimated. If, as I pointed out, you live in a low-trust country – and much of the West is reverting to low-trust standards, which is partly why everything just gets shittier around us by the day – then you NEED that receipt as a means of seeking recourse when something inevitably goes wrong with whatever you bought.

But, for small, everyday purchases… stop pulling out your plastic, or your phone, and go back to using paper. (We shall ignore for the moment the fact that most countries print their currency notes on cloth or plastic these days.)

And, if you come across an establishment that refuses to take cash… refuse to do business with them.

In many Western countries – certainly in the UK, probably in the US, and likely in many others – businesses can choose whether to accept cash or not. If they do refuse, and you want to pay in cash, do not do business with them. Punish them for their stupidity, and go elsewhere.

Freedom is power, and like power, it is only useful or valuable when you do something to maintain it. So stop giving away your power to others. Take it back. Use cash. And be free.

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  1. Robert W

    “This is due to a variety of factors, at least one of which is cultural – unlike in much of the rest of the world, Brits are used to the idea of free cash withdrawals from most ATMs, and they have a non-profit ATM operator called LINK that manages most of their ATMs for them. ”

    This is excellent and should be replicated more broadly.
    The godzilla sized coins, they can keep to themselves.

  2. Robert W

    Secondary issue: The AI Art has the man staring off and away from the “camera” while the cash wielding tradmom is busy looking right at the “lens”

    AI has picked up expertly on women and men with a camera:



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