The citizens of Sweden are perhaps closer to completely giving up a component of their individual sovereignty than any other country on earth. In a world where government’s abuse of power and intrusion into the personal lives of its blissfully ignorant enablers grows more disturbing by the day, at least for now, cash offers the one opportunity to transact in a truly anonymous way.
That said, Swedes are ditching their physical currency at a breakneck pace with notes and coins in circulation dropping consistently for the past 6 years and down over 15% in 2016 alone.
According to the following chart from Bloomberg, notes and coins in public circulation dropped to an average of 56.8 billion kronor, just $ 6.4 billion, in the first quarter of this year, the lowest level since 1990 and more than 40% below its 2007 peak with the pace of the decline accelerating to its fastest ever in 2016.
As Bloomberg notes, the avoidance of cash has become so prevalent in Sweden that churches, and even the homeless, now accept plastic and/or digital payments.
A growing number of Swedish parishes have started taking donations via mobile apps. Uppsala’s 13th-century cathedral also accepts credit cards.
The churches’ drive to keep up with the times is the latest sign of Sweden’s rapid shift to a world without notes and coins. Most of the country’s bank branches have stopped handling cash; some shops and museums now only accept plastic; and even Stockholm’s homeless have started accepting cards as payment for their magazine. Go to a flea market, and the seller is more likely to ask to be paid via Sweden’s popular Swish app than with cash.
“Fifteen years ago I would withdraw my entire salary and put it in my wallet, so I knew how much I had left, but these days I never really carry cash,” said Lasse Svard, the acting vicar at the parish of Jarna-Vardinge, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) south of Stockholm.
“A drive for innovation has been created in Sweden to come up with cost-effective and user-friendly alternatives to cash,” Skingsley said. Cash is likely to “more or less disappear” as a means of payment in the private sector, she said.
Of course, we should all promptly ignore the negative, unintended consequences of a cashless society in the name of “innovation.” Forget about the ultimate power and control it gives to governments to track your every move and to Central Banks to ram their reckless policies down your throat.
And you shouldn’t t worry too much about those cyber attacks either…because those things rarely happen these days…”Worst-Ever Recorded” Ransomware Attack Strikes Over 57,000 Users Worldwide, Using NSA-Leaked Tools“.