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Samizdata quote of the day – Truly… truly… the state is not your friend

‘Let me issue and control a nation’s money and I care not who writes the laws.’

-Mayer Rothschild

If you asked the man or woman on the street whether they think we should have a ‘national conversation about the future of money’, they would probably say something like: ‘Yes, we need to talk about how we can have more of it.’

The Bank of England, however, has a different discussion in mind. It seems to be growing ever fonder of the idea that we should have this ‘national conversation’. But what it wants to talk about is not increasing wealth; it is ‘the future of payments’ (code for introducing a Central Bank Digital Currency or CBDC, the ‘digital pound’). The Bank of England, you see, lives on a rather different country to the rest of us – one in which the pressing economic problems we face are not to do with inflation, interest rates, quantitative easing, or overleveraging, but to do with how we pay for things. In the version of Britain which it inhabits, we have the national bandwidth to devote major resources to the designing of a ‘future payments ecosystem’ so that the UK can ‘remain at the forefront of payments technology’, and we also need to do this as a matter of urgency.

David McGrogan.

Read the whole thing.

20 comments to Samizdata quote of the day – Truly… truly… the state is not your friend

  • Cue fiat currency that can be cancelled at any time and for any reason, even when it’s sat in your bank account waiting to pay your bills.

    That ain’t “money”, by any stretch of the imagination.

    Welcome to Social Credit.

  • druid144

    Sorry, JG, but I think that horse bolted a while back – ask the Canadian truckers. I am sure the UK bureaucracy took note and have ‘recommendations’ all written up and ready to go.

    Also, have you read The Great Taking? https://thegreattaking.com/
    It seems some stealth legislation in the States means than any collateral of yours, stored in an organisation, IE. your stocks and shares held by a stockbroker, are not really yours. If the stockbroker makes some foolish gamble and goes bust, your stocks are part of their assets to pay the creditors. You are at the back of the queue.
    Apparently the EU is doing the same. He’s not specific about the UK, but I doubt we’re far behind.

  • Barbarus

    So, physical gold in a safe at home, or maybe share certificates ditto, are the only way to go.

    Now I’m starting to wonder how long it will be before a tweak to the legislation will enable the Land Registry to decide arbitrarily that your home is no longer yours …

  • Fraser Orr

    THe arguments in the paper are just silly. One need only look at the payments landscape, it has changed with unbelievable speed due to technology. The only payment systems that are difficult to use are the ones the government runs. For example, a wire transfer can take hours and extremely expensive, a bank to bank transfer can take literally days, international transfers are even more difficult and expensive.

    Pay by mobile phone is instantaneous and free. Paypal? Basically the same.

    The idea that the bank, who is doing the worst possible job of all these things like it is the 1950s, is somehow going to fix all this unbelievable innovation is would be fall on the floor laughable were it not so insidious.

    And the worst part is that all of this innovation is happening in a regulatory environment where it is impossible to maneuver, corrupt, rent seeking, and full of ridiculous banking innovations like “too big to fail” and “$250,000 insurance really means $500,000,000 insurance.” Which is to say, to keep the worst run, most inefficient and most obsequious to the government financial institutes in power.

    But we all know it isn’t about what is in the paper. It is all about government getting rid of that pesky cash, and getting control of the most intimate parts of your financial life. After all, who would object to shutting down the ability of terrorists to conduct financial transactions, right? You know, terrorists like your political opponents, or political protesters who are causing your inconvenience or making you look bad. Damn terrorists. But they wouldn’t do that, would they?

  • Kirk

    The fallacy here is that the idjit class thinks they’ve got a lock on something we just have to have…

    Uhm, no… You’re providing a convenience. The underlying reality of the transaction is still there, and if you’re not going to make it convenient, then it will go elsewhere. As in, underground economy.

    Can you say “barter”? Can you say “alternative medium of exchange”? Good… I knew you could!

    There ain’t nothing saying these transactions have to go through the Bank of England. Even if they pass laws to that effect, making you do it? How do you enforce it? “Oh, I’m giving this as a gift to my lovely neighbor, and he’s giving me that as a gift… Nothing is being exchanged, really…”

    Yes, it will really gum things up, and yes, it’ll be enormously inconvenient, but… If it means giving up control of our lives to these freakish dolts, we’ll likely do it.

    The root problem here is that we’ve allowed these control freaks to infest the institutions governing our daily lives. They need to be taught the lessons they’ve so obviously missed, which will likely be delivered in due course by the mob.

    The odds are that the coming century will be full of these life-lessons for the elite, teaching them about the limitations of control, and how little they actually have. The Klaus Schwabs of the world imagine how nice it would be to pen all the rest of us up into little rental apartments while they continue to live large, but they forget: We don’t have to participate. And, we likely won’t… Schwab will wake up one fine day, or one of his successors, and discover that the proles didn’t bother to show up to pay their rent or do his dirty work, ‘cos they weren’t ever born in the first place. Those lovely cube farms Mr. Schwab imagines being filled with his employees that pay rent to pay off the mortgages on all his investment properties…? They’ll be empty, and the value he’ll have to exchange just to get his washing-up done will likely be enough to cause an aneurysm or two…

    Let me clue the idjits in to a few things: You can set these things up, and make your plans, but there’s absolutely nothing to say that I have to show up to play your stupid-ass games. Do note the current “recruiting crisis” in the American armed forces: You spend a generation maligning the “cis-white male”, and that’s what you earn for your trouble… They simply won’t bother showing up for your abuse. Good luck with the transgender/minority types filling the armed forces. They were never all that much use while I was in, and likely still won’t be. See, they’re all coming out of those schools you’ve so thoroughly infested with the incompetent ideologically-locked morons you thought were doing such a great job of teaching those kids… The ones, remember, who aren’t reading at grade-level and who can’t do math?

    Joe Biden loves to lord it over the “MAGA” types, saying that F-15 fighters are better than some guy with an AR-15. What he’s forgotten is who mans those things and who maintains them… If he thinks he’s going to get an F-15 into the air with the lower half of the population, in terms of education? All I can do is laugh heartily. It’ll be an ugly scene, for all concerned.

  • Paul Marks

    I am not sure that Rothschild quote is real – it may be, but I do not know.

    However, it is certainly true that money should be a commodity (gold, silver, or whatever commodity people voluntarily choose) that is valued before-and-apart-from its use as money.

    If money is just the whims (fiat – commands) of governments and Credit Bubble banking (Credit Bubble banking is different from money lending, being an ordinary “Shylock”, because the Credit Bubble banker lends out more “money” than they actually have – thus creating a Credit Bubble which must bust, hence “Credit Bubble banking”), then, yes, economic “boom-busts” and increasing government power (using the “busts” as a justification for the increase in government power) is inevitable.

    No country has a sound currency today – the currencies of all nations today are just the whims of governments and “partner” Credit Bubble bankers (people who insist on their right to “create money for the needs of trade” rather than just being money lenders of money that actually exists), a “Digital Currency” with the government and “partner” corporations deciding how much of this “Digital Currency you can have, and what you can spend it on.

    After all this is much older than computers – Henri Saint-Simon and others had these ideas of Collectivism via the rule of Credit Bubble bankers (“scientific planning” by them) two centuries ago.

    Accept fiat currencies and such totalitarian rule by governments and “partner” corporations will come – they will decide how much of this Digital Currency you can have, when you must spend it, and what you must spend it on. Much like the Chinese Social Credit system – or ESG and DEI in the West.

    So, for example, if you do not like their cultural products (films and so on) you must “consume” them anyway – as you will have no real choice.

  • Roué le Jour

    I suspect that the UK government (moto: You fucked up, you trusted us.) is simply trying to make its own life easier by simplifying the extraction of tax. They can already help themselves from your bank account or simply freeze it so that is not why they want a digital currency. They want to eliminate hard to tax cash transactions and any inconvenience caused to the livestock is irrelevant.

    I have long suspected that those who presume to rule us would be unable to pass Blade Runner’s Voight-Kampff empathy test for humans and so the Polish sniper’s argument applies.

  • Peter MacFarlane

    @Kirk, I am sure to an extent you are correct. Barter and things like it are probably how it will go for getting your lawn mowed or your dog walked or your laundry done. Fine, now try buying a house or a car. And remember that most people really really want to do those things and don’t care much about surveillance etc – they have nothing to hide after all.

    When I bang on about password or phone security, or the need to avoid snooping apps (to put it no higher) my sons say: “They know everything anyway so why bother?”.

    We are in a small minority, my friend.

  • Jon Mors

    To be frank, I care less about the economic cost of high tax and regulations, than I do about the fact that I have to share a country with the moronic sheep that vote for these things. You might say that we’re under the thumb of a technocratic elite, but really other people are the problem.

  • Runcie Balspune

    Perhaps governments have forgotten history, when Irish banks shut down for a year in the 1970s people used IOUs backed by pub landlords, all that was needed was a centralised trustworthy source, if the government fails to provide that, by for example, getting rid of cash, then people will just find another trustee and another way.

    In Africa when mobile phone companies allowed airtime allowances to be transferred between accounts they became a form of money, something that has been standardised into mobile money, you didn’t need a bank account, just someone who would exchange cash for airtime or vice versa.

    Then there are all those various hippy communes that use some kind of favour chit, and the thousands of established local community currencies like the Chiemgauer or Brixton Pound.

    I suppose those who thought they can change the global climate or stop a pandemic virus would not even stop to consider if changing cash was actually viable.

  • Kirk

    @Peter McFarlane,

    I think you misunderstand the point. I’m not saying that this thesis of mine is theoretical; it’s factual.

    Let’s say you can’t buy a house without involving state-supported currency. What’s the obverse of that? You can’t sell a house without it, either…

    If there’s anything that the drug trade should have taught us, it’s that there will be a market in whatever the people want. You can’t avoid that, and if the Almighty State says that you cannot buy or sell without their approval/participation? Do remember that that same “Almighty State” also forbade the sale and use of drugs… How’s that been working out, for the state?

    The imposition of control is something that all these idjits try for, and inevitably fail at. Napoleon tried his “Continental System”, and promptly started bleeding goods and money to the UK, whose smugglers made themselves wealthy satisfying French markets, while keeping Britain in wine and Belgian lace…

    Observe what happens with the Chinese “social credit” scheme… Guarantee you that if that entire system isn’t already compromised and pointless, it soon will be. It’ll have to be, because if it isn’t, then the creation of a vast disenfranchised class with no interest in participating in the system grows up, the death of the CCP won’t be too far behind.

    The more control you reach for, the less you have. Not sure whether that’s cause or effect, but it is a certainty nonetheless. It’s one of those things… Do the idjits reach for more control because they feel their hold on things slipping, and the attempt at control is how they try to keep it going, or does the push for more control wind up causing the inevitable blow-up…?

    Either way, it happens. You can bank on that, or barter. Those transactions will wind up happening, no matter what. Ain’t nothing they can do besides slow them up a little bit.

    This is another one of those cases where they think they’re taking control over something that’s essentially uncontrollable. An older couple needs to sell their house, downsize to something manageable… A younger one needs a bigger house for their growing family. You either expedite that happening and make it possible, or you wind up doing long-term damage. Wonder why the birth rate is so low…? Yeah; it is a thousand-and-one things like this. The idjits think they’re in control, but all they’re really accomplishing is their long-term self-destruction. Who’re they going to control once they’ve caused the birth rate to fall well below replacement, again? Oh, yeah; the thing that they forget, at their peril, is that the proles ain’t gotta show up.

    And, looking at the fertility rates around the world? They’re not. Huh. Go figure. Klaus Schwab et al really have no idea at all what they’re doing. They’re locked into this “exploitative aristocracy” mindset, thinking that’s how it all works. The reality is that until and unless they start nurturing the supposed “lower classes” in their construct, they’re going to have nothing to lord it over… Much like many in the nobility during the aftermath of the Black Death. Ain’t nothing to say those proles gotta stay down on the farm, or even raise new wage-slaves for their idjit “masters”, is there?

    Until, of course, they manage to bring in artificial wombs and all the trappings of Brave New World… Which I think is going to prove to be a bit too hard to pull off, technologically. At least, before these idiots manage to crash the entire system, which we’re only at the beginning stages of.

  • I sneeze in threes

    Digital currency is all part of the plan (adjusts tin-foil hat).

    “ Pal says he believes BTC’s pseudonymous founder was actually just groups of government employees in the US National Security Agency (NSA) and the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) who were tasked with experimenting with possible solutions to game out future threats to the West’s international monetary dominance.”


  • Paul Marks

    This is not a British government thing – it is an international thing, and anyone who thinks (for example) that the Chinese Social Credit system is harmless (or pointless) needs to wake up and smell the coffee.

    Digital money is the next logical step after fiat money – and a digital money system would lead to totalitarian control over human life “from the cradle to the grave”.

    The Prime Minister is said to be a firm supporter of it – but so would be the leader of the Labour Party if he became Prime Minister – because this is an international Corporate State policy.

    People who stand against world Corporate State governance get smashed – for example Liz Truss (the most unjustly smeared British politician of modern times) and Donald Trump (endless false charges – backed up by juries made up of establishment vermin), very different people – but both enemies of the world governance international Corporate State.

  • Paul Marks

    As for what Mr McGrogan says about crypto currencies – I am too old to understand crypto currencies (the “special numbers” and so on, leave me cold) – I am an old fashioned physical gold and silver man. But I do understand that government (and banker) currencies are a swindle – “money” created from nothing, nothing-at-all.

  • J.P. Morgan stated in his testimony before Congress in 1912, “Gold is money. Everything else is credit.”

  • Kirk

    J.P. Morgan stated in his testimony before Congress in 1912, “Gold is money. Everything else is credit.”

    In J.P. Morgan’s world, that may have been a truism. The problem is that we don’t live in J.P. Morgan’s world, anymore. I’m unsure as to what world we do live in, but it ain’t that one for sure.

    Gold holds value because of its rarity. On the surface of the Earth, and because it’s difficult to acquire elsewhere. That ain’t always going to be true, now is it? We’re on the verge of being able to go out and riffle through the rest of the solar system and/or recover all the soluble gold in our oceans. What then, for the value of gold?

    I fear that the real truth is that gold is merely a marker for value, a symbol. When that symbol no longer has meaning, it no longer has value. Imagine being a dinosaur after Chicxulub, flush with gold, trying to buy food. What sort of idiot would exchange food for gold, under those circumstances? Entire planetary ecosystem is down for the count, likely for decades or centuries, and you’re going to trade away the stuff of your life for inert gold whose value expired with the civilization that just died?

    You have to face the fact that the economy is a game, always has been, always will be. Everyone ceases to agree that gold has value? There it goes… pfffft. Gone. Buh-bye. It’s a game; a willing suspension of disbelief. In the final analysis, gold is a moderately useful metal, good for a bunch of industrial uses. It’s also pretty, and giving pretty baubles made of it away can get you access to pretty girls. Or, boys… That’s really about it.

    The real deal is that the store of value in an economy is in the minds and labor of the participants, nothing else. Those things go away? Gold, silver, whatever… All useless. All meaningless.

    If you’re around after the great population crash that’s coming? Watch and see what happens, with regards to the value of all these things that everyone is so enamored of these days. We’re at the edge of that transition, right now; there’s no telling where the hell that’s going to wind up taking us. Massive human populations of the planet are an artifact of the transition era between industrialization and the old scarcity-based economies. In the future, people are going to have to be persuaded to breed, just to keep things going. Do you see any of our current elites as being able to learn that lesson ahead of time? Do you see them taking steps to reduce the immiseration of their peoples? Encourage even replacement breeding?

    It’ll be interesting to watch, for some of us. I won’t be around to see it play out, but the trends are there for you to observe. Point 78 fertility rates in Korea; China’s are probably lower, but the reliability of their stats make it difficult to say. The real lesson here is that the idjit class we have running things are still operating as though the conditions of yore obtain still, and they likely won’t figure out that the base assumptions they’ve made are fundamentally out of whack with reality until it is far, far too late for them to reform. They’re going to be like the dinosaurs after the comet, when the implications and bills finally come due. We’re not going to be living in a world where there are too many people; the reality is, there are going to be too few, and everyone is going to have to work their ass off to keep things going, even the Klaus Schwab types. I look forward to their fates, having to live in the servant’s quarters and do their own laundry, because even they can’t afford the wages of servants to care for them. That’s what is coming; consider what Japan will look like with only 60-80 million people, and a steadily declining population from there. And, since Japan is only one of the first countries to experience this…? Extrapolate that out across the rest of the world.

    I ain’t sure what the medium of exchange will be in a world where the population is steadily declining, but… It won’t be what you think it will be. I suspect that there will be such a thing as “labor futures”, wherein people will get paid for having kids. And, that even heroic measures ain’t going to work, because the socialist “bread-and-circuses” BS we’re so enamored and addicted to won’t encourage anyone to bother having kids.

    The statists forgot that little detail: When you take over as surrogate family, you have to make sure that the incentive structures don’t change, or you’re not going to have people to feed in at the bottom of your social Ponzi schemes…

  • The gov not only wants to control how we pay for things, but what things it allows us to pay for. Buy the wrong thing, and a marker appears on your credit card statement alerting the government where to go to confiscate the naughty items. After 30 years of making payments to a bank for my house, I now pay about the same amount to the government in rent, which they are pleased to call “taxes”. The house was never mine.

  • SteveD

    What happens when the technology fails, the electricity goes out or the internet goes down? Because it will.

  • dmm

    @Kirk re: population crash hurting elites

    One word: robots.

  • Runcie Balspune

    Gold holds value because of its rarity. On the surface of the Earth, and because it’s difficult to acquire elsewhere. That ain’t always going to be true, now is it?

    Consider the endless quest for cheap energy, seeing as gold can be extracted from anything between human faeces to sea water, and the only thing stopping it commercially is energy costs.

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