Posts Tagged ‘cashless society’

One of the “Oh Boy!” things we have to look forward to as preppers and survivalists is the coming cashless future we will all inevitably be forced to endure. In some aspects this can be a good thing, but in reality it means that we will no longer have individual sovereignty over our own finances. We won’t be able to spend as we wish without somebody else keeping track of our spending habits.

Current statistics indicate that approximately 60% of monetary transactions in 2010 were made by plastic of one sort or another, with cash and checks, or paper transactions dropping to just 40% of all transactions. The lure of the convenience plastic provides makes using it too easy. Whether you use a debit or a credit card, it is still an electronic transaction, or a paperless deal. Why will the loss of paper, both cash and check variety be such a blow to our society? In simple terms it means we will have given our freedom to choose over to a nameless computerized system of wealth redistribution. We will no longer be the proud owner of a pile of money, but merely the manager of our own bank account that uses electronic credits to transfer a payment to somebody instead of paying them with our money.

Credits will be still valued in dollar amounts, but we won’t have any dollars to use. And that’s where we will get burned in the future.

Many of us are storing up gold and silver in both coins and bullion as a hedge against the future collapse of the U.S. dollar even though that collapse has already begun. But in the future, where all transactions will be required to be conducted electronically, how do you expect to use this commodity to pay your bills? You won’t be able to drive up to a gas station and fill your car up with $15.00 a gallon gas and expect to pay the attendant with a gold coin. He won’t be able to accept it, at least not legally.

You may think I’m kidding and that there will always be money, and you’re right, there will always be money, just not the type we’re accustomed to using. As the ease and convenience of plastic catches on, more and more people use their cards, and as more and more people use plastic, the cost of processing these transactions continues to decline, in turn making plastic more desirable by retailers and others collecting payments for services or products.

Already we see a growing number of businesses refusing to accept cash for transactions, such as many cab companies and restaurants. Try buying something online with a bundle of cash or a check. And yes, checks are accepted for some online transactions, but that is only because those checks are processed as electronic transactions. Many stores will give you your check back with your receipt for the same reason. Social Security recipients get paid through either a government issued EBM or direct deposit into their bank account. Welfare recipients and the unemployed receive their benefits through EBM cards as well. Checks are becoming less and less necessary with the increase of electronic payment technology.

Cash is becoming risky to carry with the rise in violent crimes. As it becomes scarce, people that do still carry large sums of cash become walking targets, and the same goes for businesses. The huge sums of cash traded by the drug cartels lead government officials to agree that getting rid of cash would be of great benefit in fighting crime. It only makes sense to see the trend towards cashless that we are seeing today.

What this means for us, meaning preppers and survivalists, is that we need to be able to sail through life without the need to accumulate cash for our transactions, and that will cause no end of problems down the road. The government wants your money, and they will collect it in one way or another as taxes and fees. But if you don’t have a bank account, how will you pay your taxes?

That’s a question you’ll have to answer in the future. But for now, be aware of the fact that things will be radically different in the future, and unfortunately, most people prepare today for the future under the false assumption that things will carry on as usual, no matter what happens. This will not be the case. We are approaching the crossroads even today, and the decisions we make while developing our preparedness plans cannot be undone after the fact. That’s why careful research and consideration of the facts are so important as you do develop your long range plans.

Plan now to accommodate a future where barter will be the main source of transactional business in the future between like minded people. Cash is always good to have on hand, but it won’t always be useful. You can by a brick of 22LR’s for a few dollars today, but what about when there are no more 22LR’s on the market? If a man has one spare brick, but no food, how much gold will it take to get that brick from him? Suppose you had a 2 ½ pound can of coffee? Wouldn’t that make the deal sweeter than a few silver rounds?

Think of some things with a long shelf life that will become hard to get in the coming times. How much work can you get done around the homestead in exchange for a case of instant coffee? Have you ever thought of stocking up on simple hand tools such as saws, knives or axes to use as barter goods for other things you may need?

And then there are many useful skills that have become forgotten in today’s hurry up world of technology that you could use as a barter tool as well. After all, how many glaziers do you know?

The point here is that things are changing. The world is becoming a different place right before our very eyes. The things people told me would never happen when I was a kid have become reality, and that reality makes me very nervous for our future. Learn today to be prepared for those coming times when all will be different. Learn the fine art of barter, and learn how to weave that skill seamlessly into your lifestyle. The day when you may need those skills may not be so very far away as we want it to be.

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There’s a lot of talk on the waves by many so called analysts regarding the end times, and the so called apocalyptic terror we will be forced to live through. I hate to be the one to burst bubbles, but a lot of the hype certain TV networks like to portray as the end times is just hype. Granted, it ain’t gonna be no picnic, but they really go overboard with some of the graphics. But in spite of it all, there will be some unpleasant changes that we will have to survive, and there will be no choice in the matter.

One of these changes will be the conversion to a cashless society, as some like to call it. Some folks say that there will always be money, and that’s true, there always will be. The Scriptures tell us there will be, so there will. The aspect, or type of currency, is the part of money that is changing. Revelation 6:6 says And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine(KJV). This tells me that there will be financial trade in the final days, and for financial trade to take place there must be money to exchange hands. Otherwise, the verse would have suggested a barter type of transaction, wouldn’t it?

But for those of you who are not convinced that there will indeed be a cashless society, you’ll need to follow along on my podcasts, which can be found here on Maine Talk Radio. A few of the recent news clips I have shared is the fact that the UK has passed a law eliminating the paper check by 2018. Many countries, including the U.S. are investigating, and some are instituting a national ID card containing RFID chips containing much personal information. Some are even including biometrics within these cards.

As an added incentive, many cards also function as a debit card as well for non cash currency transactions. Makes it easier to take public transportation and so forth. A recent NY Times article describes a restaurant in New York that now refuses to accept cash. Many stores do not accept checks as payment as well. Online commerce relies solely on credit cards for payment. Even fast food joints such as McDonalds have contactless payment terminals for your touch and go debit cards. These cards, in case you did not realize it, contain RFID chips with your account information.

So, it is clear that we are in fact headed for a cashless society, but there will still be currency to be traded. The big problem with this idea is that this currency will not be actual paper or coins, it will be credit placed in your bank account, and that credit will be based upon the value the nation’s currency has on the market. The value of the dollar, or whatever denomination of currency you use where you live, will be based upon the strength of that nation’s wealth in the world market. You will have little to no control over your own finances. If you do not have one of these cards in the future, you will not be able to do business in the conventional sense.

Even government provided welfare such as unemployment and foodstamps are provided for via a debit card today. There will be no paper checking, or draft style financial transfers in the future. There will be next to none, or none at all, hard cash available to be distributed. All transactions will be electronic.

So what kind of survival plan can we develop to live through this part of the coming times? Actually, none, in real terms. We can either do as the government says, or we can become an outcast with no way to pay for a roof over our heads, buy groceries, or obtain health care. And don’t even think of gassing up the family sedan. But that’s not such a bad alternative if enough people of a like mind can band together and form their own communities. And this plan, in and of itself will cause grave problems for the survivalists who choose this course.

The governments of the world will rely upon your tax dollars right up till the Second Coming. Have you noticed how large this government has become, and that it is growing larger and more powerful every week that goes by? You will be required to pay what they consider your fair share. Unless of course you are poverty bound and then they’ll pay all your bills. But there is a way around the problem, at least partially. For one thing, you will be required to work. No problem there, just make enough to get your income and property and sales taxes paid for.

I’ve talked before about bartering, and this is one way of getting by when things get tough. But for a barter system to really work there must be enough people involved to cover all possible needs required by a community. You’ll need to consider medical care, housing, transportation, clothing and food. And then you’ll need to give consideration as to how you intend to achieve all of these things. You can plant seeds for food, but where will the seed come from? How about fuel for the tractor? Where will the power come from to light your home? How about the books to educate the little ones?

And then there’s always the time when somebody breaks their leg or an appendix bursts. These are all things to consider, along with much more. There are two degrees of survival mindset. One degree addresses the immediate emergency, such as a hurricane or civil breakdown. And then there is the long term degree that pushes you to live apart from conventional society, either alone or in a community of like minded believers. I would suggest the latter, for obvious reasons.

The cashless future is steamrolling towards us, and in some ways is already here. There are many cases where you cannot do business without a credit card already. It will only be a matter of time before everyone becomes indoctrinated into the wisdom of possessing an RFID card because of the security it supposedly provides, and because of the convenience they provide at the checkout counter.

You’ll have to eventually decide whether or not to buy into that wisdom. When that time comes, you need to be ready to play or pay. Prepare for that time now, and you’ll be able to pay and play your own way then.

Not so long ago I wrote a post called Welcome to Bartertown  where I discussed the possible future of non cash financial transactions. I made reference to the extreme, but unlikely, development of communities in the future resembling trading posts of the past by way of Mel Gibson’s movie, Beyond Thunder Dome. Set in a gritty, filthy environment, Thunder Dome was a closely run outpost in the Australian outback in the post apocalyptic future. While it was a good movie, there is a lot about the scripting that is wrong for a realistic future.

Looking the reality of what may be the future in relation to the everyday task of making simple everyday financial transactions like buying a gallon of milk, I can see some grave differences between what Hollywood presents and what the trends of finance present. Some futurists present a story whereby bartering may become the way of life after the financial breakdown occurs that we are all waiting for. In the past, if you needed medical attention, the doctor would treat you and you would give him a chicken in exchange. The doctor, needing a new hat would trade it at the general store for a new hat, and the store would sell the chicken to a farmer, or perhaps a homeowner looking for a good supper. If you were a farmer and needed some lumber, you cut some acreage and bring the trees to a sawmill. The miller would cut your lumber in exchange for a quantity of the trees for his own use. The miller would then sell his new lumber to those who had cash to pay for it.

A thousand years ago, bartering was the main method of conducting business in most of the world. Currency was relegated to those areas that were more heavily populated. But as time went by even bartering transactions ended with currency being traded at the end. Today, bartering is a forgotten art, even though it is growing in popularity in some corners. But in the near future, bartering may well become an illegal act.

There are many conspiracy theorists floating a wide range of reasons for the current financial affairs of the world, and especially damning are those who suggest that the economy is being specifically controlled by one faction or another. The fact is, the current financial crisis we are undergoing is hardly the worst economic downturn we have ever been through. While it approaches the great depression of the thirties, it really does not have the same impact. But even before that time was the collapse of the 1850’s, and in fact the worldwide economies suffered declines in the eras of 1825, 1836, 1847, 1857, and 1866. So dips and peaks are nothing new to the world’s economies.

However, what is new is the governments increasing compulsion to draft legislation imposing new, and not really necessary controls over our lives under the pretense of saving us from calamity and financial ruin. But the damage has been done, and there is no going back. We have allowed our public servants to become our masters, and now we have to pay the price.

With the advent of government controlled health care, and soon to be passed carbon legislation which will ultimately result in our energy needs also being doled out by the government, the nationalization of our banking system and other, numerous rules, laws, regulations and controls we will soon find that cash has become useless. While some say that we’ll never have a national ID card, they are wrong. Not only will we have a national ID card, that card will also be our ticket to buying and selling. RFID is on the way, and in fact is being implemented in various communities even now.

At first you’ll see bank issued cards with the RFID chips offered for use as a more convenient way to pay via contactless payment methods called touch and go. You need only place your card near a reader at a point of sale and the transaction is completed. Communities are beginning to use them for convenience of public transportation. Colleges are using them as combination ID and debit cards. It’s only a matter of time before we all use these cards every day without question. And we’ll like it too.

Once we have come to accept the ease of using contactless payment and having RFID chips in our back pocket, it will be a simple matter to combine these cards with an ID factor or component. As the occasions of terrorist attacks increase and security measures become more stringent we will insist upon more and more safeguards to protect our well-being. The latest occurrence with the attempted destruction of Flight 253 in Detroit, and the scurry to increase and tighten airport security after the event only proves that point.

And of course, when we arrive at the point whereby our ID and banking needs are all self-contained in one little plastic card, there will be no need for other forms of tender in financial transactions. The UK has already announced that paper checking will be eliminated by 2018 in that country, and other nations will follow suit. Credit will be our only source of money. Our paychecks will be automatically deposited into our bank account, and bills that we owe will be electronically processed through that same card and account. So won’t our taxes. And we all know how much the government loves to collect taxes.

And here’s the danger to the idea of bartering for our needs in the future. The government will not be able to track these transactions and will attempt to control them, or make them illegal. I believe the government will increase the surveillance and tracking of us to the extent that all we possess will be on record, and any changes to those possessions will ultimately be taxed. We can already see the trend to do so by the way local and state governments tax us through what we call the property tax. Included in that assessment is the value of appliances and other major possessions that we may own. Businesses generally pay a large percentage of taxes on equipment they own year after year, and that tax changes when new equipment is purchased and/or old equipment is sold.

Bartering will be closely watched for as this will be an area for loss of tax revenue by the government. Therefore, if you do wish to include this as a means of getting by in the coming times, you’ll have to learn how to do so without giving any indication that you are bartering. In a sense, you’ll need to learn how to become an income tax evader. The smart way to get ready for financial calamity is to prepare yourself to not need any financial support at all. Of course, property and income tax needs will eliminate your idea to live with no income at all. Unless of course you are willing to live off the welfare dole. But since you are reading this blog I doubt that you will be willing to give your freedom away for free beer and cable TV.

Bottom line here is that no matter what kind of end time scenario you want to believe in, it probably won’t be what you think it will be. If you want to be truly prepared for the coming times, you have to be able to see beyond the hype that many marketers and publishers are pushing today. Examine carefully what you see, hear and read for validity beyond selling some manual or survival commodity. Get yourself out-of-town and onto some rural land were you will be able to grow your own crops and trees for fuel. If you have everything you need, then your need for bartering will be minimized, thus reducing your financial profile.