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Norway's Largest Bank Proposes a Raid on Cash

  • Viking Raid

Norway's largest bank, DNB, has joined the relentless campaign by governments and big banks the world over to abolish cash, the physical embodiment of a nation's monetary unit and the last tangible, if tenuous, link to the 19th-century gold standard.  Almost all of today's national currency notes, notably excluding the euro,  originated as claims to a definite weight of gold (or silver).  Predictably, a DNB spokesman justified its proposal to completely eliminate the use of cash in favor of digital checking accounts by claiming that the abolition of cash would reduce crimes such as money laundering:

Today, there is approximately 50 billion kroner in circulation and [the country’s central bank] Norges Bank can only account for 40 percent of its use. That means that 60 percent of money usage is outside of any control. We believe that is due to under-the-table money and laundering.  There are so many dangers and disadvantages associated with cash, we have concluded that it should be phased out.  

Note the ominous implication of this absurd statement: any large or even moderate-sized financial transaction that people manage to keep private must involve criminal activity.  Indeed, in 2013, a Norwegian man had his home ransacked by police  after he purchased a PC, TVs and a washing machine for 80,000 kroner in cash from an inheritance he had received. 

DNB suggests that the first step in implementing its program to abolish cash is to get rid of the 1,000 kroner note (worth about $114 at the current exchange rate).  The aim of progressively withdrawing larger denomination notes from circulation is, of course, to make cash payments less convenient and to habituate the public to paying for even small transactions electronically. DNB and the second largest bank in Norway, Nordea, have already stopped handling cash in their branch offices.

What is the real reason for the all-out war against goal by government bureaucrats and their crony banksters?  The answer, according to Zero Hedge, is chilling:  

The answer appears to be that the banks and government authorities are anticipating bail-ins, steeply negative interest rates and hefty fees on cash, and they want to close any opening regular depositors might have to escape these forms of officially sanctioned theft. The escape mechanism from bail-ins and fees on cash deposits is physical cash, and hence the sudden flurry of calls to eliminate cash as a relic of a bygone age — that is, an age when commoners had some way to safeguard their money from bail-ins and bankers’ control.


Contact Joseph T. Salerno

Joseph Salerno is academic vice president of the Mises Institute, professor emeritus of economics at Pace University, and editor of the Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics.

Note: The views expressed on Mises.org are not necessarily those of the Mises Institute.
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