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Sweden declares war on cash, punishes savers
Among the endangered species in Sweden are the gray wolf, European otter—and cash. Back in June, I shared with you the story of how, in 1661, the Scandinavian monarchy became the first country in the world to issue paper money. (It was an unmitigated disaster, by the way.) Now it might be the first to ban it altogether.
All across Sweden, cash—the physical kind, not cash in the bank—is disappearing. Many if not most businesses have stopped accepting it. ATMs are now as uncommon as pay phones. Churchgoers tithe using mobile apps. Fewer and fewer banks even accept or dole out cash.
Here’s the chart showing the decline in the average yearly value of Swedish banknotes in circulation:
So what’s going on?
For one, the Swedish people have enthusiastically embraced mobile payment systems. Even homeless newspaper vendors now carry card scanners.
But that’s not the concerning part.
Cash’s demise appears to be orchestrated by Sweden’s central bank, which of course stands to benefit from the switch. In a purely electronic system, every financial transaction is not only charged a fee but can also be tracked and monitored. Plus, taxes can’t be levied on cash that’s squirreled away in Johan’s sock drawer.
Since July, interest rates in Sweden have lingered in negative territory, at -0.35 percent, forcing accountholders to spend their money or else see their balances slowly melt away. Negative rates can also be found in Denmark and Switzerland, where they’re as low as -1.25 percent. The Swiss 10-year bond yield plummeted to -0.40 percent on Tuesday, which means people are paying the government to hold their “investment.”
Nick Giambruno, senior editor of Casey Research’s International Man, calls negative interest rates in a cashless society a “scam.” His perspective is worth considering:
If you can’t withdraw your money as cash, you have two choices: You can deal with negative interest rates… or you can spend your money. Ultimately, that’s what our Keynesian central planners want. They are using negative interest rates and the “War on Cash” to force you to spend and “stimulate” the economy.
The War on Cash and negative interest rates are huge threats to your financial security. Central planners are playing with fire and inviting a currency catastrophe.
Sovereign Man goes even further, writing:
Financial privacy has been destroyed. Banks are now merely unpaid spies of bankrupt governments, and they will freeze you out of your life’s savings in a heartbeat if some faceless bureaucrat orders them to do so.
Read more in ValueWalk