Well, yes, quite

I have commented on the same theme, of course, recently, but Gillian takes the argument further, noting that in addition to the obvious advantage that taking cash out of the economy has in restricting the opportunity for crime it also helps enforce the negative interest rates that are almost bound to be a feature of the worldwide economy in coming years. She has a point, although I can still see a role for small denomination cash.

Nothing screams fascism more than the State only allowing us a bit of pocket money to spend without their vigilance, does it?

Quite apart from the fact that they’re getting this horribly wrong. They start from the true position that we have fiat currencies now. State created out of the aether. They then assume that if the state limited that currency then we’d all do whatever the state told us to. Which is entirely wrong: we use those fiat currencies because they’re useful to use. If they’re restricted then they will become less useful and we will go off an use something else. That fiat currencies exist is absolutely true, but the vast majority of human history did not contain them. And in their absence we’d all start using something else.

Whatever, gold, paintings, bags of heroin, mutual promises, reputation even.

It’s typical statism in fact. The thought that because we are using what the state makes then the state can direct, limit, what we use, even to the point that if the state does not provide then we will do without. We won’t. Money is simply too useful to us all for us to put up with the absence of it, we’ll just reinvent it.

41 thoughts on “Well, yes, quite”

  1. So Much For Subtlety

    That sounds like a plan. I am sure I have heard something like that before.

    [16] And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
    [17] And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
    [18] Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.

    Does anyone think that there are cultural reasons rooted deep in the Western tradition for limiting the power of the State?

    I left alone, my mind was blank, I needed time to think
    To get the memories from my mind
    What did I see? Can I believe that what I saw
    That night was real and not just fantasy?

  2. The War on Cash is on–all around the globe.

    As Tim rightly points out it is a war on the states own medium and the answer to it is new foms of cash not under the state’s control.

  3. If they ban cash in the UK, people will just use dollar and euro notes instead. Dollars are already widespread in many parts of the world; it’s hardly without precedent.

  4. From left wing experience (or the Truth as it is better known) the war on cash has been waged by the right-wing state-banking nexus since the 60’s .In the previous era workers got paid in cash, middle -class ponces got money put it into to their bank accounts , this being the ultimate class signifier That and homeownership: connected by bank mortgages.The proles managed with Post Office banks and building societies where possible.
    A series of wage heists , now referred to as the Golden Age of Armed Robbery featuring Bertie Smalls, was orchestrated into the Fix Everybody up with a Bank Account movement by the usual riff raff who run this country.As a young schoolmaster (class signifier) I got pissed off when the banks closed on a Saturday morning and before the era of Atm’s could not get any money.I asked my Headmaster to be paid in cash: I thought he was going to sack me for unprofessional conduct .Meanwhile, growing suddenly and violently left-wing, I fantasised that the armed robberies were being organised by the banks. As I said to the Headmaster ,there were Truck Acts to enforce payment in cash .Being Public School educated he had never heard of them . The Government abolished the Truck Acts though and so we now live in the resultant right -wing Utopia where every mortgage holder tries to parley his winnings on the property market into income; gets into debt with the backing of property collateral; watches wages drifting down with uninterest and disinterest : the whole festering shit heap.

  5. There’s a constant rumble about this. Cash is so damned inconvenient from a Managerialist point of view.

    I hate to agree blatantly with DBC Reed, but frankly I see the whole thing of basically forcing everyone to have a bank account to be a very great wrong indeed. Paying wages to a bank is giving them to a third party, not the employee. It should be an option, but not compulsory.

    In fact, to rant a bit further, it’s strange indeed that in the old days without computers one wages lady could make up all the pay packets in cash and do all the accounts, every week, but now we’re more efficient for some reason everyone gets paid monthly (which for overtime can somehow translate to over two months in arrears) and they can’t do cash.

    Fucking managerialist cunts with their shiny suits.

  6. Corporate socialism is evil. It is presently operating in the West in a milk and water mode –compared to the days of Adolf. But no one should doubt that it is evil and could turn just as nasty as its state socialist sibling at very short notice.

  7. @DBC Fuckface

    As a young schoolmaster (class signifier) I got pissed off when the banks closed on a Saturday morning and before the era of Atm’s could not get any money.I asked my Headmaster to be paid in cash: I thought he was going to sack me for unprofessional conduct .Meanwhile, growing suddenly and violently left-wing, I fantasised that the armed robberies were being organised by the banks. As I said to the Headmaster ,there were Truck Acts to enforce payment in cash .Being Public School educated he had never heard of them .

    You ought to have been sacked for not knowing the rules about spaces, commas, Oxford or otherwise, and full-stops, you cunt. Or for not knowing that ‘ATM’ is capitalised, and that the plural doesn’t require an apostrophe. Or for writing such garbage sentences as to imply that *you* got pissed off but the *banks* ‘could not get any money’. Or for indoctrinating your charges with your borderline incomprehensible leftist shite.

    By the way: ATMs. Didn’t they take jobs away from tellers? Class traitor! Running dog!

  8. Giving people access to a bank account is a very good thing. The sheer convenience of being able to pay bills through the electronic payments system and not via a deposit slip is a major improvement. That the existing banking system does not want the business of those with poor credit and uses charges to rob them if they do hold accounts is one of the greatest iniquities in the developed world. This is why poor people in America use check cashing places – they know they are being ripped off, but they know in advance how much they will be ripped off by.

    Cash is expensive to deal with – it will never disappear outright, but it will become ever more marginal since the cost of dealing with cash is high. Not a conspiracy, just economics.

  9. I’ve always assumed MPs would bottle voting for it when they realised how it would affect the retail narcotics and personal service businesses that they patronise.

  10. Hear hear, Interested. I shudder to think that DBC was ever involved in teaching children. I would add run on sentences and lack of paragraphs to the list of stuff he doesn’t know or doesn’t give a shit about.

    DBC – if you want people to take you seriously, write better. You can swear all you like, especially here. You don’t have to be formal. But at least adhere to some modicum of grammar, and make a little bit of effort to make your walls of text more readable.

  11. “Cash is expensive to deal with – it will never disappear outright, but it will become ever more marginal since the cost of dealing with cash is high. Not a conspiracy, just economics.”

    And the fact that the scum of the state can track your every move and every penny has nothing to do with it . At all.

  12. Cash is expensive to deal with

    Ken, I don’t know if it’s true, but I’ve always assumed that the reason supermarkets are more than happy to give you cash out with your purchase at no charge is because it reduces the cost and hassle of securing/depositing their excess cash.

  13. Cash is expensive to deal with

    That depends more on who you ask. If you have a small retail operation the cost of processing electronic transfers is relatively high. For a family owned shop with few employees(hence no employee theft) the cost of using cash is actually far lower.

    My local store is a good example. A few years ago the owners were considering selling and gave me a look at the books. The fact that 2.54% of all revenue went to pay the various fees associated with taking electronic payments was striking. I was told that the time spent managing the electronic payments was far greater than required for cash as well. If all customers paid in cash the store would be be far more profitable than the dual system we use.

    The mechanic I use gives a 5% discount to any costumers that pay with cash.

    The bar I frequent only accepts cash. There is an ATM, with a $3 fee plus what my bank charges, on site that manages to break even.

    I would say that the cost of cash is only lower for large retailers that have enough volume to negotiate better rates to go with unhappy employees that are more likely to steal.

  14. @DBC Reed “Meanwhile, growing suddenly and violently left-wing, I fantasised that the armed robberies were being organised by the banks”

    You need help.

    During my brief stint at teaching doing a PGCE I used to fantasise about the 6th form girls.

  15. So Much For Subtlety

    Ltw – “I don’t know if it’s true, but I’ve always assumed that the reason supermarkets are more than happy to give you cash out with your purchase at no charge is because it reduces the cost and hassle of securing/depositing their excess cash.”

    Credit card companies charge people a non-negligible amount of money. I expect that cash poses potential hold up problems. It has to be taken to the bank. But credit cards are prone to fraud and require expensive equipment.

    Also cash transactions can somehow disappear and never get declared. Can’t do that with a credit card transaction.

    We will probably get a half-way house in the end. I am willing to bet that the next round of currency reform will include a unique RFID tag in each and every note. So the government will know who had it and where they spent it.

  16. Liberal Yank said:
    “I would say that the cost of cash is only lower for large retailers that have enough volume to negotiate better rates to go with unhappy employees that are more likely to steal.”

    I don’t think it’s mostly that, it’s more that smaller businesses can use more cash, so are happy to accept it:

    a) the owner can use it for beers after work, or whatever (the boss of Tesco probably doesn’t go out for a beer after work, and even if he did the bar would run out of beer before he spent much of his day’s pay).

    b) there’s a more direct relationship between the money coming in and going out; if a car mechanic goes to get parts from a car parts shop, he may as well take some of the cash along and pay, rather than everyone having to make separate trips to the bank to pay via them. But the big supermarket buys centrally, so the cash would have to be trucked to head office first and then trucked out to the supplier.

    c) Small businesses tend to have small suppliers, big businesses tend to have big suppliers, and the same approach to cash also applies to them, so small business is more likely to find that its suppliers want cash, multiplying the above effects.

    d) Big businesses are bigger, so there’s more money, at which point cash becomes a big security risk and there are costs to manage that – once you need Group 4 to take the stuff to the bank (or to your supplier, if you were going to pay in cash), cash becomes expensive.

  17. Bloke in North Dorset

    @DBC

    “The Government abolished the Truck Acts though and so we now live in the resultant right -wing Utopia where every< mortgage holder tries to parley his winnings on the property market into income;”

    What’s the “every”, kemosabe? I know plenty of people who just treated as a way of buying a house to live in.

    You lefties are first to the barricades whenever a gross and offensive generalisation is made, perhaps you should practice what you preach?

  18. My local shop and my local newsagent both charge 50p for using a card. Electronic money requires infrastructure. And perhaps the key point is that it belongs to somebody else. When you pay for something electronically, you are not giving money to Mr Patel. You are transferring money from your third party to his third party (in fact, transferring debt, which all electronic money is).

    Get rid of cash, and nobody has any money, and cannot have any money other than approved banking institutions. Which of course is what that cartel wants. It is a fundamental change to what money is.

    Considering the appalling disregard with which the banks treat their creditors, we should be looking at ways to disentangle the money supply from them. Not finalising their total ownership of it.

  19. Richard you did see my point. Thank you for adding my reasons that support my argument that cash is better for small business.

    I do have to disagree about auto parts. Mechanics have an account with several parts suppliers which is used instead of day to day cash. Most suppliers include a delivery service and do not want these low paid employees accepting cash. Even if an employee of the mechanic does pick up parts the get charged to the account. Large value transactions are better left to electronic exchange.

  20. DBC Reed said:
    “As I said to the Headmaster ,there were Truck Acts to enforce payment in cash”

    The Truck Acts only applied to manual workers. It genuinely was a class divide and you were too posh to benefit from it. Unless you were a PE teacher I suppose; that might count as manual work.

  21. We will probably get a half-way house in the end. I am willing to bet that the next round of currency reform will include a unique RFID tag in each and every note. So the government will know who had it and where they spent it.

    Paranoia SMFS. You talk about expensive equipment – is my local chippie going to scan every note I give them and pass the info on to the government? Including who they got it from (verified how?) and who they passed it on to, in change perhaps. Good luck with that one. What if I ask you to change my 50 for two 20s and a 10? Who is going to track that transaction?

    Plus, if you’ve ever seen how beaten up circulated cash gets until it’s returned to a bank to be destroyed and replaced, you would understand why embedding RFID is ludicrous. No one is going to accept, in the short term, that their tenner is invalid because the chip won’t work.

    Richard makes way more sense.

    I wasn’t talking about credit charges btw. I don’t know where you got that from. Totally irrelevant to the discussion.

  22. To get a bit economics-y about it, one could say that this is the problem you get when one class rules a country, and thus impose their understanding of the world on everyone else. The better off you are, the lower your time preference. So you get people with a low time preference imposing their preferences on poorer people whose time preference is higher. (Now taken to absurd lengths by Iain Duncan Fuckwit with monthly dole payments).

    And then they wring their hands when those high time preference people take out high time preference payday loans.

    If you’re on a generous monthly salary and live in a house provided by Betsy’s dad, it doesn’t much matter when you get paid. If you’re at the skint end, doing some overtime and getting paid next week is a major difference to getting paid two months later.

    There should at least be a law that the delay between some work done and payment received must never be longer than 28 days. Which would be a start.

  23. Is it really that common that overtime pay takes more than a month to actually get paid?

    I’ve never had a job that didn’t put it on the paycheck for that period.

  24. “The bar I frequent only accepts cash. ”

    Bars are far more convenient since pay-by-rfid came in over here. The biggest reason I prefer card payment is that change is so inconvenient.

  25. LY-

    Yes, I’ve seen it take two months, because of cutoff dates for putting the overtime in. A particular instance when I was agency (paid weekly) and my colleague was full time.

    All that “efficient” monthly payment means is that employers can pay you whenever the fuck they like, basically. This is why the current crowd don’t like anything approaching full employment, it’s a fucking brilliant way to drive down wages and conditions for the plebs and turn having a job into a Precious Thing.

  26. Matthew I prefer to use cash for bars. I find that when I don’t I end up spending far more than I should at the end of the night. The closest watering hole is a beer and shot joint so a tab over $50 for two means we are drinking to much.

    Ian I thought that three weeks was a long wait, two months is something I would leave an employer for. Of course my favorite paying job was the summer I sold t-shirts at flea markets. Pay was cash daily which my supplier accepted. It took me a long time after college to have a better three month stretch than that.

  27. Liberal Yank, yes, I remembered after I wrote it that my mechanic has car parts delivered on account, and he’s a very small business. I picked a poor example. A better one would have been a small shop or restaurant buying goods at the cash & carry.

    “Is it really that common that overtime pay takes more than a month to actually get paid?”

    Sadly yes. Sometime it’s even worse, with work in month 1 not being paid until the end of month 3:
    Month 1, overtime work is done;
    Month 2, timesheets are filled in, approved by the manager, and processed by the accounts department. But by the time that’s done, they’ve missed the cut-off date for the Month 2 payroll, so it can’t be paid then.
    Month 3, overtime approved in Month 2 is added to the payroll and paid at the end of Month 3.

    Horrendous, particularly if you’re on a zero-hours contract so you don’t have any base pay.

    It’s something I’ve tried to get changed in an organisation I’m involved in, but the practicalities make it very difficult in a monthly system, and the accounts department hate the idea of going back to weekly.

  28. I have to admit by the way that back in my boozing days, I cashed an awful lot of cheques over the bar rather than run out of beer money.

  29. @Ian B
    I don’t know if you noticed but the incredibly patronising speech by Lord Harris you quoted, in which he confidently asserted that wage payment in cash was a thing of the distant past, was meant to move emendations of the previous Payment of Wages Act that did allow payment by cheques or direct bank credits but only if the worker agreed in writing, with the right to change his/her mind at four weeks’ notice.Basically what you say should happen did happen (between 1960 andl 1983).
    I cashed cheques at the Union Bar at University several times because I needed to catch a train next morning before the banks opened .

  30. Bloke in Costa Rica

    I get paid once a week, with a cheque. I take it to the bank and cash it, or deposit it free of charge since it’s drawn on the same bank. Works just fine for me. It certainly makes keeping track of expenses a bloody sight easier.

    I’ve said it before: all the AML legislation out there has got nothing to do with terrorism or narcotics or people trafficking. It’s to counter tax evasion. That’s why the cutoff for reporting is such a nugatory sum.

  31. So Much For Subtlety

    Ltw

    That seems a remarkably bad tempered response.

    “Paranoia.”

    You think? We shall see.

    “You talk about expensive equipment – is my local chippie going to scan every note I give them and pass the info on to the government?”

    Around where I used to live in London a lot of shops were putting in UV scanners. Because, obviously, it was a vibrant and diverse neighbourhood. Credit card machines are not cheap either. The equipment to scan an RFID is much cheaper and going to go on getting cheaper.

    “Including who they got it from (verified how?) and who they passed it on to, in change perhaps. Good luck with that one.”

    Easily done. When it passes through a back, it is reported. So if my employer took it out of a bank, or I did at an ATM, and it turned up in Turkey, where someone deposited it in another bank, the government knows to ask some questions

    “Plus, if you’ve ever seen how beaten up circulated cash gets until it’s returned to a bank to be destroyed and replaced, you would understand why embedding RFID is ludicrous. No one is going to accept, in the short term, that their tenner is invalid because the chip won’t work.”

    I have never ceased to be amazed by what sh!t the White middle class population will put up with. The RFID is likely to be the last thing damaged. And I expect the money will be plastic by then. What do countries with plastic money do when their holograms are damaged? Give people a new one I expect.
    Richard makes way more sense.

    “I wasn’t talking about credit charges btw. I don’t know where you got that from. Totally irrelevant to the discussion.”

    The card companies charge the shops that take credit cards. Of course it is a massive incentive to use cash. They seem to have gone a bit too far because you see a lot of people rejecting American Express – I believe they now charge too much.

  32. An easy way to discourage cash would be to withdraw all notes and issue five and ten quid bits. (Come on, you know the five quid bit is only a matter of time. I saw it on Dr. Who.)

  33. So Much For Subtlety

    Roue le Jour – “An easy way to discourage cash would be to withdraw all notes and issue five and ten quid bits. (Come on, you know the five quid bit is only a matter of time. I saw it on Dr. Who.)”

    I am sure they will get around to it. But this is a half measure. The West has tried this before:

    Allegedly, Spartans were prohibited from possessing gold and silver coins, and according to legend Spartan currency consisted of iron bars to discourage hoarding.

    So it is time to make the pound a pound again. Of steel. A bit hard to tip anyone but even harder to avoid VAT.

  34. I can understand LY’s bafflement about delayed overtime.

    On moving to our US division, I was surprised to be paid every two weeks. Everyone on a salary is paid every two weeks, CEO downwards, and the idea of giving your employer a month’s credit simply does not compute.

    On overtime, time-sheets are completed in time to meet the first available pay day. I don’t have to get involved in that, but do know that it’s massive bad form for a manager to delay someone’s pay.

    Oddly, paying people promptly does NOT seem to cause particular stress, or additional HR. Maybe the use computers or something.

  35. I did have an option of taking a job with monthly pay. That wasn’t the only problem but when I found out I walked out of the interview.

    Both AmEx and Discover are not accepted in many locations just to avoid adding another set of fees. I don’t think it’s a great idea having only two companies that process most electronic payments but it is the result of the market.

  36. SMfS,

    And then you lash the iron bars to your right forearm to build up your sword wielding muscles? Or am I getting confused again?

  37. This is the most sensible statement on here about the banks: ” We should looking at ways to disentangle the money supply from them. Not finalising their total ownership of it.” (Ian B above.)

    Another way the banks moved in to achieve total ownership was their replacement of building societies for mortgages. Bank finance for mortgages is by the creating-money method or what Libertarian hero Murray Rothbard calls fraud. Building societies practised 100% banking with full reserves to back loans ,not the (always inadequate) fractional reserves used by the commercial banks.
    If we were to have some genuine Conservatism in British politics, we would have a movement for a return to payment in cash and building society loans for house purchase.

    What has happened to the British economy and the household economies of those who work for a living makes nonsense of Tim Worstall’s excited blather about the efficiency and responsiveness of market forces. The “total ownership of the money supply by the banks” ( BTW legally your money in the bank is their property) was achieved by conspiracy. There was no demand for it, in any sense, and no open political discussion .

    Let us have an end to banks too big to fail and a return to people entirely free of them and the state violence that enforces austerity and a level of poverty that is not natural (to use Adam Smith’s economic vocabulary).

    The only alternative is complete nationalisation which has the state violence but not in support of the banks .(Despite Keiser’s endless propaganda ,I don’t get Bitcoin or the blockchain.)

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