The End for Cash and COVID-19 Testing Our Liberty: Give an Inch and They’ll Take a Mile

Life in Australia is a far cry from what it was just three months ago.

Most of us have been forced into isolation. Human contact is now a fineable offence. And soon we’re set to have our phones tracked.

A new app known as TraceTogether is set to be made available in the near future. Giving the government an easy way to monitor who people are coming into contact with.

What this app does is scan for other devices near it. Letting it know who you have been in contact with, and ideally whether they have or haven’t been in contact with someone with the virus. That information is then shared with authorities so they can notify people if they’re at risk.

It’s smart, simple, and troubling…

This invasion of privacy is a high price to pay. But, I’m sure for many, they will gladly take it.

COVID-19 is testing us. Testing just how much liberty we’re willing to give up in the name of safety.

My concern though, is how far are we willing to go?

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Over Easter we saw 433 people fined for breaching coronavirus measures. Many probably deserved it, some definitely didn’t — but my gripe is with the precedent it sets.

We are effectively living in a quasi-police state. Or at least the early stages of it.

Whether it is necessary or not during this virus, you’ll have to decide for yourself.

But, what happens after this crisis is over?

Will we roll back all these draconian measures, or is it the beginning of a new, more controlled way of life?

The beginning of the end for cash

What I can tell you is that when it comes to money, control is already here.

You may have already heard of the Australian government’s plans to ban cash payments over $10,000. That bill first emerged last year — to much criticism might I add.

That didn’t stop it from going ahead though. In late February, just as the coronavirus was dominating headlines, the senate gave their seal of approval for the bill. Meaning it is now all but set to become a law.

So if you’re planning to splash an ‘excessive’ amount of cash, you may want to reconsider. Because if you do you’ll wind up facing a two-year stint in jail.

It hasn’t got much better for cash either. Today, in the height of the COVID-19 panic, cash is even more maligned.

Of the few stores left open, many are no longer accepting cash. As retail official Gerard Dwyer states:

We would like to see us move to card only, no cash. Cash is a carrier.

Again, it makes sense. You can’t fault the reasoning behind the ban, but it is a slippery slope to go down.

By normalising these practices we gradually head down the path of more control. And as we’ve seen in the past, once we go down this path it is very hard to go back.

Taking back (some) control

I truly hope I am wrong about all this. I hope the cynic in me is just that, a cynic.

But, the responses we are seeing from governments and central banks to this virus are worrying. They are trying to control people, money, and even markets. Distorting the boom and bust cycle in unprecedented ways.

See QE for a first-hand look at just how messed up this intervention is. Money that has made investing practically risk-free for the powerful, while we bear the costs.

Because of this, I and many of my colleagues believe it is important to take back some control. Especially when it comes to preserving your wealth.

You absolutely should keep at least some money outside of the system. In whatever way you see fit.

Gold for instance is a tried and true avenue. An investment that can not only get your money out of the system, but, if the price rises, also grow it too.

As we’ve seen recently, gold has been on a tear. Both in Australia and the US. Moves that have increased the wealth of those who bought at a lower price.

Indeed, Shae Russell who writes for The Daily Reckoning Australia believes gold will continue to boom. Just not for the reasons you might think. But I’ll save this topic for later, because as you read this, Shae is preparing her thoughts; putting together a strategy designed to take advantage of the changes that are coming to our world.

Keep an eye out for more on this later in the week.

My point though, is that we all need to be wary of control in our lives. Be it for our actions, money, or whatever else.

We must never take liberty for granted. Otherwise we are doomed to lose it.

And that is a far greater long-term threat than this virus will ever be.


Ryan Clarkson-Ledward,
Editor, Money Morning

PS: In this free guide, discover how a currency crisis could drain the supply of circulating cash…and how you can keep your standard of living when going through it. Download the free guide now.

Ryan Clarkson-Ledward is an Editor at Money Morning.

Ryan holds degrees in both communication and international business. He helps bring Money Morning readers the latest market updates, both locally and abroad. Ryan tackles all the issues investors need to know about that the mainstream media neglects.

Ryan is also the Editor of Australian Small-Cap Investigator, a stock tipping newsletter that hunts down promising small-cap stocks by dissecting the latest events affecting the world.

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