I AM so sick of hearing about the petrol shortage. Suspiciously timed to coincide with the Government’s attempts to make us switch from traditional to battery-powered vehicles, the hyped-up fuel crisis is yet another example of the reign of terror which drives us to behave in ways that promote an official agenda.
Looking at how morality narratives playing on fear and guilt have pushed the public into deemed estimable behaviours such as donning a sweaty mask, submitting to an experimental injection or replacing perfectly functional boilers, would a logical next step be to instil a mistrust of cash to further the cause of a universal digital payments system?
If there exists a roadmap to convert consumers into making their payments by gadgets and QR codes, the most efficient way to do so could be via the creation of a cataclysmic event around the reliability and desirability of cash. It would have to render inaccessible banknotes and coins due to limited supply (say with queues outside high street banks) perhaps with an ecologically based mass self-flagellation over the use of plastic bank cards.
It appeared in the spring of 2020 that this was the direction of travel, at least in the case of physical currency. At the outset of the pandemic very few wanted to touch cash and many shops displayed a ‘cards only’ sign. But the germophobia did not last long enough to get rid of the cold hard stuff.
So let’s take a step back and ask why would the Government have an interest in promoting cashless payments? To answer that requires a pretty paranoid mind. Replacing cash with e-money would hand the authorities a wealth of personal information about their loyal subjects, their weaknesses and proclivities, their addictions and aspirations.
Further, the use of cash hinders the ability of data miners to track your location in real spend time. Since most people repeat their routes throughout the week, your transactions build a profile of habits and a record of who you might have crossed paths with throughout the day. It is rather like stalking you through your smartphone, but without the danger of protest from pesky freedom lovers who would baulk at the idea of Google or your mobile network providers knowing your every move.
And besides, Apple Pay is so darned convenient. The other day I was running late for an event and discovered when I got to the Tube station that my purse was still at home. Though I have not yet figured out how to use the phone to pay for things, luckily where I was going I didn’t need money for drinks, so I just hopped in an Uber with zero hassle. (In a pinch with no mask, by the way, a tissue serves fairly well to cover the face.)
If one thing has been made clear over the last 20 months or so, it is to expect the unexpected, and inherently the next crisis which follows on from the previous. Each one proceeds to a crescendo that further stokes the flames of hysteria.
But here is the thing, a run on cash could trigger a leg up into the digital dystopia. It would be the crowning achievement for our dear leaders: a culmination of building blocks to construct a population management machine. This looks more and more to have been precisely engineered for such purpose.