How liberty is eroded under the cover of providing ‘safety’

Cash is one of the alleged banes of society that has long been in the sights of statist control-freaks everywhere. The debate over cash has recently received fresh input from none other than that paradise of socialism, Sweden. As reported in ‘The Local’, „Robberies raise prospect of retail cash ban“.

In it we learn that Sweden has something called the ‘Work Environment Authority’, one of the countless bureaucracies that tend to spring up in the modern-day State and then perpetuate themselves by constantly inventing new regulations.

 

Per the report in ‘the Local’:

 

“The head of the Swedish Work Environment Authority (Arbetsmiljöverket) has raised the prospect of a ban on cash in Sweden’s retail stores to help tackle the growing problem of robbery. The authority’s director-general Mikael Sjöberg refused to rule out the drastic measure in an interview on Wednesday. “You can’t rule anything out, it just depends on how risky the situation is. We have very extensive possibilities to explore,” Sjöberg told trade union publication Handelsnytt. The authority is set to conduct an inspection of 3,000 small stores across Sweden to chart opportunities aimed at improving the working environment. “It is not acceptable that people go to work in fear and concerned that they could be subject to a robbery, which does actually happen in this sector,” Mikael Sjöberg said. The Work Environment Authority has previously pushed through cash bans on buses in Sweden after a spate of hold-ups. Robberies against retailers accounted for 9 percent of all robbery cases reported in Sweden in 2007, according to statistics from the National Council for Crime Prevention (Brå). From just under 400 cases per annum in 1987, the number of cases had more than doubled by 2007 after a peak in 2005.“

 

We don’t want to give them any ideas, but one might naively ask, why not forbid cars on account of the prevalence of road accidents? A poster named Molly on the EeeUser-forum has put together a number of arguments forwarded by Swedish politicians and bureaucrats in the past in support of banning cash.

While we could not independently verify this list of statements, it certainly rings true, and in part mimics the spurious arguments heard elsewhere before (Molly’s own comments in italics):

 

Marie Löök, Policy Officer at the financial sector union of Sweden, has this to say:”It’s ‘Game Over’ for cash”! “2 out of 3 Swedish crowns are circulating in the ‘shadow economy’.” “Folks using cash usually have something to hide, you don’t pay prostitutes with a credit card.”

Carin Götblad, Police Commissioner of Stockholm County: “Cash is the lifeblood in the veins of criminality.”

Martine Syrjänen-Stålberg of the Swedish Work Environment Association: “A cashless society is a less criminal society.” “It will improve the tax morale.” (and this I find most insulting): “And wouldn’t cashless shopping be much better for senior citizens since they tend to loose their purses/wallets?”

Considering these arguments, which law-abiding citizen could possibly be against a cashless society? As they say: if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear … Amen!

 

We have news for Sweden’s bureaucrats: without the so-called ‘shadow economy’ you’d probably soon have no more economy, period. We’re not quite sure if politicians are generally aware of this, but most of the highly taxed welfare/warfare states have an enormous ‘gray’, or ‘shadow’ economy, i.e. a large part of economic activity takes place outside of the purview of the bureaucratic red tape and onerous taxation that marks ‘official’ business activity.

Without this shadow economy, the population’s living standards would suffer a large setback and incomes would shrink across the economy due to the inevitable knock-on effects. This means that if governments were in fact to succeed in strangling the gray economy, government revenues would likely collapse as well (income from consumption taxes like VAT and sales taxes would crater right away, and other types of tax revenue streams would follow as the economy weakened).

Furthermore, the assumption that citizens should not have a right to financial privacy (which cash helps to provide) just because there are criminals for whom cash happens to be useful too (we wonder why there is so much violent crime in the socialist paradise by the way?) is wrong a priori.

Note here that there is another important function that cash provides, besides financial privacy – it allows people to remove themselves from the banking system. After all, deposits held at banks are definitely not 100% reserved. The modern day fractionally reserved banks are basically de facto bankrupt all the time (this is to say, they could most definitely not back all depositor claims at short notice). While there are government guarantees on deposits nearly everywhere (a misguided policy that furthers unnecessary risk taking on the part of both depositors and banks), such guarantees can become worthless in case the government becomes insolvent too.

In addition, these guarantees are usually limited. Eliminating cash would remove people’s right to take physical possession of their property – the savings or cash holdings that the banks are supposed to warehouse for them. Fear not though – no government can really eliminate cash anyway, even though many would probably like to do so. The reason is that the shadow economy would then simply move toward using the cash issued by a foreign nation, or would move to a gold payment system.

Of course all these avenues could, and likely would, be declared illegal as well, but e.g. not even the death penalty was enough to enforce Diocletian’s price control edicts in the third century, so we can already state that this won’t work either. The main point remains though that statists everywhere are always eager to attempt to misuse a perceived threat to safety to further roll back individual liberty.

Such attempts by the bureaucratic nanny state to encroach upon the rights of allegedly free people should always be resisted – because it is exactly as Benjamin Franklin has famously said: “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. “

 

 

 

Emigrate While You Can... Learn More

 


 

 
 

Dear Readers!

You may have noticed that our so-called “semiannual” funding drive, which started sometime in the summer if memory serves, has seamlessly segued into the winter. In fact, the year is almost over! We assure you this is not merely evidence of our chutzpa; rather, it is indicative of the fact that ad income still needs to be supplemented in order to support upkeep of the site. Naturally, the traditional benefits that can be spontaneously triggered by donations to this site remain operative regardless of the season - ranging from a boost to general well-being/happiness (inter alia featuring improved sleep & appetite), children including you in their songs, up to the likely allotment of privileges in the afterlife, etc., etc., but the Christmas season is probably an especially propitious time to cross our palms with silver. A special thank you to all readers who have already chipped in, your generosity is greatly appreciated. Regardless of that, we are honored by everybody's readership and hope we have managed to add a little value to your life.

   

Bitcoin address: 12vB2LeWQNjWh59tyfWw23ySqJ9kTfJifA

   
 

2 Responses to “Sweden discusses ‘cash ban’”

Your comment:

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Most read in the last 20 days:

  • The Credit Market Powder Keg
      Credit Market Bifurcation By all accounts, credit markets remain on fire. 2019 is already a record year for corporate bond issuance, beating the previous record set in 2017 by a sizable margin. Demand for the debt of governments and government-related issuers remains extremely strong as well, despite non-existent and often even negative issuance yields. Even now, with economic activity clearly slowing and numerous  threats to the post-GFC recovery looming on the horizon, the occasional...
  • Japan's Yield Curve Control Regime is Coming to America
      Monetary Lunacy, Nipponese Version Earlier this month, Bank of Japan (BOJ) Governor Haruhiko Kuroda commented that Japan’s central planners are considering a 50-year government bond issue as a long-term means of putting a floor under super-long interest rates.  How this floor would be placed is extremely suspect; we will have more on this in a moment.  But first, the dual benefits – according to Japan’s central planners...   Kuroda-san: the man with a plan, or...
  • Repo Market, QE4 (a.k.a. Not QE), the Fed and Gold
      Incrementum Advisory Board Discussion of 23 Oct 2019 In late October the Advisory Board of the Incrementum Fund held its quarterly meeting (a transcript is available for download at the end of this post). This time the board was joined by special guest Dan Oliver, the manager of Myrmikan Capital and president of the Committee for Monetary Research & Education.  Myrmikan inter alia publishes excellent and quite original research on gold which we hereby highly...
  • Eating the Seed Corn - Precious Metals Supply and Demand
      Misguided Incentives The price of gold subsided a few bucks, and the price of silver blipped a few pennies. Not much action last week, groceries neither pumped into nor drained out of this asset class. Those who look to exchange capital goods for groceries need to find a different asset.   The best-laid plans... [PT]   Not even the S&P 500 Index provided a gain in groceries this week. It certainly wasn’t the much-vaunted store of groceries, Bitcoin, which...
  • The Fed’s Answer to the Ghastly Monster of its Creation
      The Bubble Machine The launch angle of the U.S. stock market over the past decade has been steep and relentless. The S&P 500, after bottoming out at 666 on March 6, 2009, has rocketed up over 370 percent. New highs continue to be reached practically every day.   S&P 500 weekly, since the low of 2009. A party of roaring 20s proportion in terms of duration, extent and end point valuations (a post-war inflation episode triggered a devastating bear market from November...
  • Gold Moves from Vault A to Vault B - Precious Metals Supply and Demand
      Poland's Gold and the Conspiracy Theorists The price of gold was up enough to buy a bottle of Two Buck Chuck wine, and the price of silver was up enough to buy a wooden nickel (well, not enough to buy a real nickel nickel).   Poland's gold bars are packaged by employees of G4S International Logistics to be transported from London to Poland. Poland's gold was originally transferred to London at the beginning of WW II, when Stalin and Hitler invaded and partitioned the country...
  • Every Bubble Eventually Finds its Pin
      Panem et Circenses The transfer of wealth from workers and savers to governments and big banks continued this week with Swiss-like precision. The process is both mechanical and subtle. Here in the USA the automated elegance of this ongoing operation receives little attention.   Give them bread and circuses and they will never revolt... so said Juvenal, reportedly [PT]   NFL football. EBT card acceptance at Del Taco. Adam Schiff’s impeachment...
  • The Most Innocent Man Ever in the White House
      Great Moqueur Poor Donald Trump. The Chinese won’t play ball with him. The Democrats are trying to impeach him. And now, other world leaders are laughing at him!   Mesmerized by his glorious radiance - the shepherd alights amid his flock. [PT]   L.A. Times:   “President Trump, who views norms like a teenager does curfews, shattered another tradition Wednesday when he became the first U.S. president to be laughed at by some of America’s closest...
  • Steam Punk Animals - Precious Metals Supply and Demand
      Re-Purposing of Tractor Parts in South Dakota   The price of gold was all but unchanged, but the price of silver dropped another 46 copper pennies last week. We came across an article showing pictures of something we have previously described: sculptures made from parts taken from farm tractors. Here is a picture I took:   The good old Predator made of tractor parts – looks almost like the real thing! Here is background information on the artist and more pictures...

Support Acting Man

Austrian Theory and Investment

j9TJzzN

The Review Insider

Archive

Dog Blow

THE GOLD CARTEL: Government Intervention on Gold, the Mega Bubble in Paper and What This Means for Your Future

Realtime Charts

 

Gold in USD:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

Gold in EUR:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

Silver in USD:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

Platinum in USD:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

USD - Index:

[Most Recent USD from www.kitco.com]

 

Mish Talk

 
Buy Silver Now!
 
Buy Gold Now!