Skip to main content

How Greece became a guinea pig for a cashless and controlled society

As Greece moves closer to becoming a cashless society, it is clear that the country’s attitude towards cash is reckless and dangerous. The supposed convenience of switching to a cash-free system comes with a great deal of risk, including needless overreach by the state.

by Michael Nevradakis

Part 2 - The IMF’s Greek experiment in austerity

These suggestions, which of course the IMF does not necessarily officially agree with, have already begun to be implemented to a significant extent in the IMF debt colony known officially as Greece, where the IMF has been implementing “socially fair and just” austerity policies since 2010, which have resulted, during this period, in a GDP decline of over 25 percent, unemployment levels exceeding 28 percent, repeated cuts to what are now poverty-level salaries and pensions, and a “brain drain” of over 500,000 people—largely young and university-educated—migrating out of Greece.

Indeed, it could be said that Greece is being used as a guinea pig not just for a grand neoliberal experiment in both austerity, but de-cashing as well. The examples are many, and they have found fertile ground in a country whose populace remains shell-shocked by eight years of economic depression. A new law that came into effect on January 1 incentivizes going cashless by setting a minimum threshold of spending at least 10 percent of one’s income via credit, debit, or prepaid card in order to attain a somewhat higher tax-free threshold.

Beginning July 27, dozens of categories of businesses in Greece will be required to install aptly-acronymized “POS” (point-of-sale) card readers and to accept payments by card. Businesses are also required to post a notice, typically by the entrance or point of sale, stating whether card payments are accepted or not. Another new piece of legislation, in effect as of June 1, requires salaries to be paid via direct electronic transfers to bank accounts. Furthermore, cash transactions of over 500 euros have been outlawed.

In Greece, where in the eyes of the state citizens are guilty even if proven innocent, capital controls have been implemented preventing ATM cash withdrawals of over 840 euros every two weeks. These capital controls, in varying forms, have been in place for two years with no end in sight, choking small businesses that are already suffering.

Citizens have, at various times, been asked to collect every last receipt of their expenditures, in order to prove their income and expenses—otherwise, tax evasion is assumed, just as ownership of a car (even if purchased a decade or two ago) or an apartment (even if inherited) is considered proof of wealth and a “hidden income” that is not being declared. The “heroic” former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis had previously proposed a cap of cash transactions at 50 or 70 euros on Greek islands that are popular tourist destinations, while also putting forth an asinine plan to hire tourists to work as “tax snitches,” reporting businesses that “evade taxes” by not providing receipts even for the smallest transactions.

All of these measures, of course, are for the Greeks’ own good and are in the best interest of the country and its economy, combating supposedly rampant “tax evasion” (while letting the biggest tax evaders off the hook), fighting the “black market” (over selling cheese pies without issuing a receipt, apparently), and of course, nipping “terrorism” in the bud.

As with the previous discussion I observed about Amazon being a satisfactory replacement for the endangered brick-and-mortar business, one learns a lot from observing everyday conversations amongst ordinary citizens. A recent conversation I personally overheard while paying a bill at a public utility revealed just how successful the initial and largely uncontested steps enacted in Greece have been.

In the line ahead of me, an elderly man announced that he was paying his water bill by debit card, “in order to build towards the tax-free threshold.” When it was suggested to him that the true purpose of encouraging cashless payments was to track every transaction, even for a stick of gum, and to transfer all money into the banking system, he and one other elderly gentleman threw a fit, claiming “there is no other way to combat tax evasion.”

The irony that they were paying by card to avoid taxation themselves was lost on them—as is the fact that the otherwise fiscally responsible Germany, whose government never misses an opportunity to lecture the “spendthrift” and “irresponsible” Greeks, has the largest black market in Europe (exceeding 100 billion euros annually), ranks first in Europe in financial fraud, is the eighth-largest tax haven worldwide, and one of the top tax-evading countries in Europe.

Also lost on these otherwise elderly gentlemen was a fact not included in the official propaganda campaign: Germans happen to love their cash, as evidenced by the fierce opposition that met a government plan to outlaw cash payments of 5,000 euros or more. In addition, about 80 percent of transactions in Germany are still conducted in cash. The German tabloid Bild went as far as to publish an op-ed titled “Hands off our cash” in response to the proposed measure.

Source, links:


[1] [3] [4]

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

WikiLeaks paper confirms biggest fear of the US empire and the Wall Street mafia

The WIKILEAKS Public Library of US Diplomacy (PlusD) holds the world's largest searchable collection of United States confidential, or formerly confidential, diplomatic communications. As of April 8, 2013 it holds 2 million records comprising approximately 1 billion words. The collection covers US involvements in, and diplomatic or intelligence reporting on, every country on earth. It is the single most significant body of geopolitical material ever published. The PlusD collection, built and curated by WikiLeaks, is updated from a variety of sources, including leaks, documents released under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and documents released by the US State Department systematic declassification review. 
globinfo freexchange
A cable from July, 2007, depicts the anxiety of US officials about the potential capability of North Korea to produce hardly detectable US counterfeit currency.

There are numerous references about the effort of the US government to stop the production…

While Trump cuts food stamps, USAID bankrolls Venezuela regime change with half a billion in tax dollars

The Trump administration has spent $654 million in “aid” to try to overthrow Venezuela’s government, including $435 million through USAID and $128 million directly to Juan Guaidó and his corrupt coup gang — all while imposing crippling austerity at home.
by Ben Norton
Part 5 - Falsely accusing Venezuela of the hemisphere’s worst migrant crisis

In addition to directly participating in regime-change efforts and bankrolling right-wing opposition groups, USAID has helped to popularize demonstrably false talking points demonizing Venezuela, which have been breathlessly echoed by corporate media stenographers.

In its press statements announcing tens of millions of tax dollars in support for Venezuela’s right-wing coup regime, USAID has accused Venezuela of creating “the largest external displacement in the history of the Western Hemisphere.

Mainstream media outlets have frequently repeated this claim, citing the US regime-change organization without investigating its veracity.
It is impossib…

Εξωτερική πολιτική για κλάματα: το Μητσοτακικό καθεστώς βάζει τη χώρα σε νέες περιπέτειες

globinfo freexchange

Πιστεύαμε ότι η κυβέρνηση Τσίπρα 'το είχε τερματίσει' όταν αποφάσισε (προφανώς μετά από έντονες Αμερικανικές πιέσεις) να προβεί στην ανήκουστη και απαράδεκτη ενέργεια να απελάσει τους τέσσερις Ρώσους διπλωμάτες. Το Μητσοτακικό καθεστώς όμως φαίνεται ότι έχει κάνει νέο ρεκόρ πλήρους υποταγής στους Αμερικανούς ιμπεριαλιστές, δίνοντας το τελειωτικό χτύπημα στην ευελιξία της εξωτερικής πολιτικής που θα έπρεπε να έχει, έτσι και αλλιώς, κάθε σοβαρή και ανεξάρτητη χώρα. 
Όμως η δήλωση Μητσοτάκη απλώς επιβεβαίωσε ότι η νεοφιλελεύθερη Μητσοτακική δεξιά, η χειρότερη που γνώρισε η χώρα μεταπολιτευτικά, είναι απόλυτα υπόδουλη στα Αμερικανικά συμφέροντα. Και τελικά, πως η ίδια η χώρα, είναι ένα Δυτικό προτεκτοράτο και μια κανονική αποικία (και όχι απλά αποικία χρέους).
Ο χειρότερος Μητσοτάκης όλων των εποχών αποφάσισε να επισκεφτεί τον Ντόναλντ Τραμπ για να κάνει το πιστό του 'ρομποτάκι', δηλώνοντας ουσιαστικά ότι επικροτεί την εγκληματική ενέργεια - πέρα από κ…

Το Μητσοτακικό καθεστώς βυθίζει τη χώρα στο χάος

globinfo freexchange
Αμέσως μόλις η κυβέρνηση Μητσοτάκη ανέλαβε τα ηνία της χώρας, είχαμε προειδοποιήσει ότι, είτε με την ψήφο του, είτε με την αποχή του, ο "σοφός λαός" έδωσε το ελεύθερο στη χειρότερη δεξιά της μεταπολίτευσης να σαρώσει σαν 'οδοστρωτήρας' τα πάντα στο πέρασμά της. Μετά από τέσσερα χρόνια νεοφιλελεύθερης λαίλαπας, το τοπίο καταστροφής θα έχει κάνει τη χώρα κυριολεκτικά αγνώριστη.
Δεν μπορούσαμε όμως να φανταστούμε ότι η Μητσοτακική δεξιά θα παρήγαγε τέτοιο χάος σε τόσο μικρό διάστημα. Κι όμως, θα έπρεπε να το είχαμε προβλέψει.  
Διότι ένα τέτοιο καθεστώς, που ουσιαστικά επιβλήθηκε με τη βοήθεια της μιντιακής χούντας μέσα από μια εικονική πραγματικότητα αδιάκοπης επικοινωνιακής προπαγάνδας, ήταν θέμα χρόνου να τα βρει σκούρα όταν θα προσγειώνονταν απότομα στον πραγματικό κόσμο. 
Και το προσφυγικό ζήτημα ήταν αυτό που κυρίως επίσπευσε την αποκάλυψη της απόλυτης ένδειας του καθεστώτος και την πλήρη ανικανότητά του να χειριστεί σχεδόν οποιοδήποτε πρόβ…

It's official: the oligarchs and the corporate media declare war on Sanders' progressive movement

globinfo freexchange
We can safely now say that Bloomberg's propaganda ad against Bernie Sanders' supporters marks the establishment's official declaration of war on the progressive movement. Previously, corporate media revived the "BernieBro" myth in order to open the road for the war.
As we already mentioned, the anti-movement hysteria reached unprecedented levels when MSNBC anchor Chuck Todd compared Sanders' supporters to Nazi brownshirts! Todd's preposterous comparison wasn't accidental. He was specifically targeting moderate voters of the Democratic party. The aim was to scare them and prevent further popular-vote leakage from the establishment nominees towards Bernie during the next primary battles.
Michael Bloomberg grabbed the chance and tried to amplify further the BernieBro-scare through a blatantly propagandistic sample of negative advertisement. He doesn't have any movement behind him, but he has a lot of money to spend for smear camp…

We can't just wait for robots and 3D printers to overthrow capitalism

by system failure

During a speech four years ago, Yanis Varoufakis ended with some interesting views about the future of the capitalist system. As he pointed out:
The world we live in, is increasingly rudderless, in a constant slow burning recession, while at the very same time, the increasing concentration in the IT sector is creating the new technologies that will do that which the Left has failed to do: overthrow Capitalism. It is really very simple. The moment machines pass the Turing test properly, and you pick up the phone and you do not know whether the person you are talking to is a human being or a machine˙ the moment we are going to have 3D printers operating as public utilities - you can send any blueprint to it and it can print from one pin to a motorcycle, or to a car - the moment that this happens, we have not just a process of Schumpeterian creative destruction, but we have a process where economies of scale and the whole logic of corporate Capitalism colla…

As Houthis close in on Al-Qaeda in Yemen, US drone strikes target its leaders

An escalating campaign of U.S. drone strikes in Yemen has sparked anger from residents and tribal leaders. The drone strikes, according to the victims’ relatives, not only killed suspected members of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) but also killed and injured a number of civilians. The recent escalation comes after the commander of the U.S Central Forces, Joseph Votel, handed ousted former Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi a list of al-Qaeda military commanders and their supporters being targeted by the United States, according to local news outlets close to Hadi.
Last week, a suspected C.I.A. drone targeted a home alleged to contain al-Qaeda leader Qassim al-Rimi in Marib Province, allegedly killing not only al-Rimi but some innocent civilians as well. By Washington’s standards, residents told MintPress, just because they were near the house, those civilians deserved to die alongside al-Qaeda. 
The drone strike took place in the al-Hazmah region in the eastern province…

Julian Assange - Public Rally Event with Wikileaks, Nils Melzer, Tariq Ali and more

acTVism Munich
The complete public rally event for Julian Assange that took place on the 4th of February 2020 at the Royal National Hotel in London. This event was organised by the "Don't Extradite Assange Campaign". 

Capitalist factions continue tough bargain in the beginning of the post-Brexit era

globinfo freexchange
Johnson's victory in the recent UK national election marked the definite "divorce" between the UK and the EU. Yet, the real "show" starts now as we begin to realize the toughness of the Brexit negotiations and the war between the capitalist factions, which is expected to become wilder. 
As we already mentioned, the pro-Brexit faction sees a potential Labour government under Jeremy Corbyn, also as a major threat. This is one of the few common views it has with the globalist faction. Now that the Corbyn "threat" has been removed, capitalist factions are free to focus on the war between them.
Johnson's big victory gives an additional advantage to the Brexiteers who are now seeking to impose their terms in this very tough bargain. 
In this merciless war, first signs show that Boris Johnson seeks a decisive strike at the heart of the globalist faction. That is, the financial sector and the City financial capital. Another decisive v…

The DNC establishment looks desperate and ready to accept defeat in the civil war with Bernie and his progressive army

globinfo freexchange
It is no secret anymore. Various anchors, pundits and opinion writers in the corporate media admit that Bernie Sanders has gained a great momentum. Super PAC donors and their DNC proxies are out there in plain sight and full force to stop Bernie, right before the first critical battle in Iowa. Yet, all signs show that dirty tricks won't work this time.
The establishment apparatus exhibits an elevated panic as realizes that whatever it tries against Bernie not only doesn't work, but instead, sometimes backfires badly.
The most recent and perhaps loudest example, is an attack that has been orchestrated by CNN in co-ordination with the pseudo-progressive candidate, Elizabeth Warren, using the identity-politics weapon. This whole 'political drama' was so poorly directed - by a medium that has already lost its reliability - that it backfired very badly. Independent progressive media immediately recognized the dirty trick, as well as, people in social me…