SWITZERLAND TO HOLD REFERENDUM ON MAINTAINING CASH
The news has not been entirely bad this week, and this story shared by E.E. says why:
What's of interest here is the two-fold nature of the referendum:
At the beginning of last week, a Swiss pressure group with libertarian leanings called the Swiss Freedom Movement (FBS) announced it had collected enough signatures (111,000) to trigger a national vote on preserving cash for posterity. If passed, the initiative would require the federal government to ensure that coins and banknotes are always available in sufficient quantities. What’s more, any attempt to replace the Swiss Franc with another currency — quite possibly a reference to a central bank digital currency — would also have to be put to popular vote.
Swiss citizens will get the chance to try to ensure their economy never becomes cashless, a pressure group said, after collecting enough signatures on Monday to trigger a popular vote on the issue.
The Free Switzerland Movement (FBS) says cash is playing a shrinking role in many economies, as electronic payments become the default for transactions in increasingly digitised societies, making it easier for the state to monitor its citizens’ actions.
It wants a clause added to Switzerland’s currency law, which governs how the central bank and government manage the money supply, stipulating that a “sufficient quantity” of banknotes or coins must always remain in circulation…
Under Switzerland’s system of direct democracy, the proposal would become law if approved by voters, though government and parliament would decide how that law was implemented.
Notice that there is a twofold approach in this referendum: (1) requiring by law to maintain a certain amount of actual paper and coin cash in circulation, which implies a legal mandate to require businesses to transact in cash, and (2) not allowing "another currency" and (2) any attempt to replace the national currency with a digital one must also pass a vote.
In taking this step what it intriguing to note is that the money-as-physical-medium of exchange movement is not confined to those American states passing bullion or specie or "constitutional money" resolutions, or establishing their own state bullion depositories. Switzerland is joining the growing revolt against more centralization and central bankster control and surveillance.
While this movement is heartening to watch grow, I repeat the warning I made last week: these measures must be given teeth, and one necessary enforcement mechanism is to establish by law that transactions in cash cannot be refused by any business, and, for those countries or states contemplating bullion-as-money laws and resolutions, convertibility of notes must be established in law.
Even before such measures can be enacted, however, we can all do our part to use cash as much as possible, and in this respect I have an anecdote to share.
I have taken to using cash or a check in any transaction in which I am personally involved. I pay cash for gas, groceries, eating out, dining in, buying a book at a bookstore, or a fountain drink from a convenience store, or what-have-you. In all these I've taken to using cash. About the only time any more I use a debit card (never a credit card) is when I am buying books or some other thing for research on line. I've tried to limit, as far as possible, reliance on those as well, and where possible, to purchase such materials from local shops and retailers, though it's becoming more and more difficult.
But in any case, I've noticed something quite interesting that has begun to happen in the past couple of years, and I'm curious is anyone else out there is noticing this. As everyone knows, one of my least favorite things in the whole world to do is grocery shop. And besides the inevitable experience of being stuck in the checkout line behind someone who has filled the cart with mispriced items, and who has a pile of coupons, a debit or credit card that doesn't work, and who wants to pay part of the bill on credit, and part on food stamps (which card also doesn't work), and part of the bill in - yes - cash, my other pet peave has been the modern young cashier, who, when making change, has to look at the cash register screen several times, and who gets together the cash, then, tears the receipt off, and plops the whole pile - receipt and bills and coins - into your hand with a less-than-enthusiastic "your change is" such and such an amount... leaving you to push your cart out of the way of the next customer, and then standing there to separate bills from coins from receipt, and count your change.
In other words, the cashier has no clue on how to count back or make change unless the register tells him or her how much to give back. It doesn't even occur to them that, if the bill comes to $120. 12 cents, and you hand them a one hundred dollar bill, a twenty dollar bill, and a five dollar bill, that all they have to do is start to make change by taking out three pennies and a dime, three quarters (one hundred and twenty-one dollars) and then four one dollar bills, placing each in your hand as they count it back to you. No thinking, no addition-and-subtraction-in-the-head required. "One hundred twenty dollars and twelve cents, thirteen cents makes one-twenty twenty-five, fifty, seventy-five, and one-twenty-one, twenty-two-twenty-three-twenty-four, twenty five. Thank you sir (or ma'am), have a nice day." Those whole process takes no longer than the current practice of looking at the computer screen, and plopping the whole mess in one's hands with the announcement "your change is four dollars and eighty-eight cents".
I know, I know... I'm old fashioned. But it literally happened to me once in a grocery store that, just as the cashier and finished scanning my order, taken my money, and opened the cash register door, that the power went out briefly, and the amount of change was not visible on the screen. The look of frustration and helplessness on the kid was too much. So I showed him how to count back change after calling the manager over to watch the process.
Since that incident, which was a few months ago, I've noticed something happening. Not only are more and more people using cash (I've even seen people writing checks in line again), I've noticed more cashiers giving the courtesy of counting the change back to customers, in stead of just plopping the whole mass - cash, coins, and receipt - into customer's hands.
So I've started making it a point to thank those cashiers for doing so, and occasionally even letting the store manager or cashier supervisor know that I appreciate the effort.
See you on the flip side...
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