War on Cash

Featured Article | Vol. 27 No. 5 | Jul-Aug 2017

Whether they realize it or not, the global elite are shaping our economies for the fulfillment of Bible prophecy.

By Hal and Betsy Mayer

Every year in January the planet’s wealthiest people gather at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland to analyze economic trends that affect their wealth. This year, Nobel Laureate and economist Joseph Stiglitz addressed the forum and urged the United States to “get rid of currency.” A cash economy, he warned, fosters drug dealers, terrorists, tax evaders, and money launderers; whereas in a digital economy the activities of unsavory elements can be tracked and hopefully thwarted.1

Joseph Stiglitz is not a lone voice. There is a relentless war being waged against cash by economic think tanks, big banks, and governments around the world. Societies as sophisticated as Sweden and as ancient as India are being restructured to use digital kroners and rupees as their primary form of payment.

The technologies to transform nations into cashless or “less cash” societies are already in place through phones, cards, and computers. These days, even street vendors offer non-cash payment solutions, like Stripe, Square, PayPal, or Apple pay. Vending machines and toll roads are quickly going cashless as well as restaurants, gas stations, convenience stores, inflight service, parking lots, and public transportation. In some places ATMs no longer stock cash. Online banking and shopping have drastically altered our need for cash, and fewer checks are being written. Churches that add e-giving options collect higher offerings.

While it’s unlikely that cash will ever entirely disappear, its role in the global economy is changing quickly and dramatically. Digital money is often more convenient than cash. And the standard reasons given for digitizing money are noble—drying up sources of cash that fund lawless elements in our world, and tracking terrorist activity. But make no mistake, whatever happens to cash, also happens to our fundamental freedoms as individuals and as societies.

The Bible predicts that at the end of time, global superpowers will seek to control the economic and religious activity of every individual and nation. It also predicts the collapse of the global economy and the futility of hoarding wealth.

We might not be able to change anything about the way our economies are being restructured, but we can study the fulfillment of these prophecies for insights on how to remain faithful to God during the trying times ahead.

DIGITAL ECONOMIES ARE GROWING

Scandinavia leads in developing cashless societies. Cash transactions made up only 2 percent of all payments in Sweden in 2015, and 6 percent of transactions in Norway. Many rural banks no longer have ATMs. Even churches have adopted cashless donations.2

The other European nations are watching and learning. Reducing cash first starts with withdrawing select currencies from circulation and prohibiting cash transactions above a specific threshold. The European Union (EU) has stopped producing the €500 note as it moves towards a cashless society. Italy and France prohibit cash transactions over €1,000; Spain banned cash transactions over €2,500. Many other nations are adopting similar policies.3

India recently “demonetized” its two largest denominations of cash overnight, the 500 and 1,000 rupee notes, leaving the entire nation in chaos. This surprise move wiped out 86 percent of the nation’s currency, pushing millions of new users onto the country’s digital economic grid, and leaving vendors at markets to suffer losses because few could buy their perishable products until they made it through long bank lines. Prime Minister Modi hopes that restricting currency and pushing electronic payments will help tackle corruption and regulate India’s untaxed, black market economy.4

In Kenya, millions of “unbanked” citizens store digital cash on their phones and transfer it by text. Ecuador and Zimbabwe have similar options.

The US is “digitally ready” to go cashless. Few Americans carry quantities of cash. Through points programs, airline miles, and cash back purchases, they’ve been incentivized to use credit cards. More and more shops and transportation services have a no-cash model. Paper checks have declined in favor of digital transactions.

Australia is also largely cashless. Electronic non-cash transactions have soared and check payments have dropped dramatically. Banks now use Apple pay, Samsung pay, and their own apps to provide internal payment.

South Korea is reducing cash by phasing out coins and allowing consumers to trade their value for prepaid cards.5

Central banks in other countries, like England, Canada, and China are researching cashless options. Israel has a special committee studying the best way to go cashless.

Major cities have joined the cashless revolution, leapfrogging ahead of their nations. London buses and many shops now refuse cash, preferring touch-and-go mobile technology using smartphones. The city of Bergamo, Italy is cashless. Amsterdam is nearly cashless.6

CASH AND CRIME

Former US Treasury Secretary, Larry Summers is totally convinced “on the linkage between high denomination notes and crime.” In a recent article, “It’s time to kill the $100 bill,” he recommends that Americans would be safer with $50, $20, $10, $5 and $1 bills.7

In his book, The Curse of Cash, Ken Rogoff, Harvard professor and former official at the International Monetary Fund and Federal Reserve, agrees about the link between cash and crime, adding that the US should probably eliminate its $50s and $20s, too. Ben Bernanke, former chairman of the Federal Reserve hailed it a “fascinating and important book.”8

Ironically, while these globalists cite cash as aiding illicit activity, drug dealers and prostitutes now accept credit cards! And the most notorious terrorist group uses both the world’s oldest currency, gold, and its newest, Bitcoin, an unregulated digital crypto-currency on governments’ radars since it removes the possibility of total economic control.9

The idea that we must accept an economy with less cash and more government oversight so that fewer criminals can operate sounds noble until we look at what happens to money once it’s parked in banks; then the true motives of the global elites emerge.

God’s faithful remnant will not worship the Beast or his image, or receive his mark—even if their bank accounts are frozen and their lives are on the line.

 FOLLOW THE MONEY

When citizens hold cash balances outside of banks, this limits the potential “new money” bankers can make. But by reducing the amount of cash available, bankers force citizens to hold their digital dollars in bank accounts, which bankers can use to prop up the unsound fractional reserve banking system and make “more money.”

In turn, central bankers share the digital activity of their clients with their governments. A society with less cash and more digital money allows governments wider surveillance over their citizens. If they can track your money, you are not free.

But probably the most brazen move ever made by central bankers is their use of “negative interest.” Instead of paying you interest to borrow your money, the bank charges you interest to use your money. The more digitized a nation’s money is, the easier it is for banks to impose negative interest and take more from you.

Sweden, Denmark, and Switzerland all have negative interest rates. And their economies are already largely digital. The US Federal Reserve recently discussed using negative interest rates, too. Negative rates destroy the motivation to save and build capital, which is the basis of prosperity.

If you can’t withdraw cash, you have two choices: You can accept negative interest rates, or spend your money. That’s what central planners want. They use negative interest rates to force you to spend your money, otherwise you will have it taken from you a little at a time.

But there is an even bigger threat to holding digital balances. In June 2013, when the government of Cypress was up against a wall to pay back its bail-out debt to the EU, it froze all bank accounts, declared a bank holiday, and then took between 40 to 80 percent of the assets of bank clients with accounts €100,000 or above. The bank told the affected depositors they had done them a favor and it went something like this: “If Cypress had defaulted on its loan, the EU would have seized all our assets. But thanks to you and a lot of other good folk, we stayed afloat; you lost something, but you didn’t lose everything. Be grateful!”10 Indeed!

After the Cypress crisis, we should remember that in the new economy where banks and nations are not held accountable for bad financial decisions, when you deposit money into a bank account, it is no longer yours. It becomes the property of the bank. You are merely an unsecured creditor. And in a crisis, your government can twist your bank’s arm to freeze you out of your life savings and take whatever they want without even giving you a courtesy call.11

It serves bankers and governments well to play on our fears of crime and terrorism so that they may radically reduce cash. But removing cash from society isn’t ultimately about solving tax evasion or crime. There will still be plenty of that.

A cashless economy allows central bankers to manipulate global economics with millions of unsecured digital deposits that they don’t even own. It allows “democratic” governments unprecedented control over their citizens. That’s called totalitarianism—taking away your personal property, your power of choice, and your freedom to live as you choose.

But stockpiling cash might not be the wisest alternative either. Cash can be devalued. It can be stolen. In the event your nation goes cashless, bank notes might be difficult, if not impossible to use.

Faced with these options, it’s easy to understand why people are afraid of the future and are buying up gold bullion and building escape bunkers. Does the Bible provide any guidance about what God’s people should do under these circumstances?

The technologies to transform nations into cashless or “less cash” societies are already in place through phones, cards, and computers.

BIBLE PRINCIPLES FOR END-TIME FINANCES

First, the Bible repeatedly warns us not to put our trust in earthly treasure. Jesus said:

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth…, But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Matthew 6:19–21.

Second, the Bible encourages us to be self-reliant and diligent in providing for our present and future needs.

“Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.” Proverbs 8:6–8.

We should stabilize ourselves financially by eliminating debt as much as possible and living within our means. We should set money aside for emergencies. If we have space for a garden, we should learn how to grow and preserve our own food. We should keep ourselves healthy and fit so that we don’t develop diseases brought on by our own poor health choices, limiting our ability to work and becoming dependent on others.

Third, the Bible encourages us to be generous to those who have fallen on hard times and need assistance. God records our acts of love and unselfishness towards others and promises to provide for us when we are in need: “Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble.” Psalm 4:1.

Fourth, when we put God first we may trust Him to handle the future things we cannot see:

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:33, 34, NKJV.

However, when God reveals the future to us, we must heed His message. The Apostle John was given a prophetic message for God’s last-day people. It involved faith, perseverance, and loyalty in the face of economic persecution and possible death. Speaking of a great persecuting superpower at the end of time, John writes,

“And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast,…and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. 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: 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.” Revelation 13:15–17.

God also gave John a distinct warning that whoever receives this mark will receive His undiluted wrath. Revelation 14:9–11.

Caught between their loyalty to God and their very lives, what do God’s true people do? They endure. Verse 12. No doubt their bank accounts are frozen and they face certain death, yet they will not worship the Beast or his image, nor will they receive his mark.

The rise of cashless societies and financial surveillance is precipitating the fulfillment of this prophecy. It will be easy for governments to track God’s people and bar their access to the digital economy. Only those who have learned to seek God first, above every other earthly desire, will trust Him when their lives are on the line and the vast majority of the world is against them. Here is what God promises He will do for them in that trying time:

“Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” Revelation 3:10.

I want to be a part of God’s faithful saints who will not compromise their allegiance to God despite anything the global elites and the devil throws at them, don’t you?

For more information and activities by Lana Ash, visit kidshealthandhappiness.com.

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