Thursday, April 12, 2012

"Alas Poor Penny, I Knew Thee Well..."

The Canadian government has decided, as of the release of the federal budget last week, that the mint will no longer be producing the penny. That's right. No more penny. One of the wonders of living in our current time and place in history is the rapid change of things within our society. They have been discussing the removal of the penny for a long time now and like so many other things, it was assumed that it was just talk; that they would not actually get rid of it; they did.

Goodbye Penny
So why am I talking about the penny? Well for starters it is a somewhat historical event for those of us who are alive right now. I cannot recall there ever being a removal of any type of currency denomination anywhere in my lifetime. Ok the Euro I guess but that was an entire group of countries that amalgamated their currencies in the hopes of a brighter economic future. The penny, though not cost effective, has been a denomination of currency for hundreds of years. Losing it is a significant change for Canadians and if they think that it will have little impact, well they are sadly mistaken.

The most obvious question is how is this going to affect prices? Well this is where it gets kind of interesting. Prices are supposed to remain the same; business owners will be required to round all totals up or down to the nearest zero or five cent total when consumers pay with cash. So if your total ends with a 1, 2, 8 or 9 it gets rounded to the nearest zero; if it ends with a 3, 4, 6 or 7 it gets rounded to the nearest five. So there will be a significant amount of transactions where the consumer will pay a few cents extra and then others which will cost the business owner a few cents for each transaction. Now I assume the idea is that this will even out over time for both the consumer and the owner. As a business owner in a struggling national and global economy, do you really want to take on that risk? Pennies don't mean much; unless you have a lot of them.

We're not done there. Things get a little bit different when you decide to buy things with your debit or credit card. Yes, there are different rules of purchase when using plastic. When you go to buy something with your credit or debit card there will be no rounding off; you will pay right down to the exact penny. Why is this important? Well if you are savvy enough and patient enough you can essentially rob business owners and ensure you, the consumer, is always the one gaining. How? Well if you carry cash with you as well as your plastic payment methods when you have to pay you can make the determination to pay with either or as it benefits you. If the total would cause you to lose a few pennies, pay with plastic. Inversely if you can save a few pennies by paying cash, do it that way. Do you see where this is going to lead to? No? Keep reading.

So now I've established the possibility of working the system against business owners as consumers however consumers are not the only ones in a position to cheat. I can foresee that business owners, who are consumers as well, have come to the conclusion reached in the last paragraph. What will they do to avoid taking these losses? Well my first thought is that you will see a lot of price changes, though we've been told that prices will not change, so that all totals end in a number that will cause the total to round up, robbing from the consumer in somewhat the same way the consumer is able to rob the business owner. The simple removal of an essentially valueless one cent coin has created an environment in which our morals stand in the face of corruption.

It gets worse. I know, damn right? Sorry. I'm not trying to be negative or put a downer on your day. I am passing along the information I have so that you can know; so that you can fight. How is it going to get worse? Canada is now considering removing all forms of currency denominations and converting to a strictly digital economy. That's right: NO CASH. If this doesn't disturb you, it had damn well better start after this. Why is this such a bad thing? Read on.

A cashless society seems like it might be a good idea. No more cash to carry, no more cash to produce, reduction in fraud, reduction in criminal activity; all good things right? Sure but what about the flip side? Everything you buy will be purchased with an electronic transaction. What does that mean? It means that the last bit of privacy you might have had would be gone. Everything you buy, everywhere you go, every penny you spend will be tracked. Tracked by whom? By anyone who has the knowledge to do so; by the financial institutions you do business with; the government; all policing agencies who want access. Everything you do will be recorded. Everything. You will have no privacy.

Goodbye Privacy
But I don't do anything wrong. The only people who have to worry are the ones breaking laws. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Initially, yes, those people would be the ones who have to worry. However, as we have seen over the last few months, governments of the world have been cracking down on more stricter internet laws, crime laws and dissension. These laws invade your privacy, strip away your rights and turn you into slaves who are unaware of their enslavement. You don't see it now because it doesn't affect you yet; but it will. How long after they take care of the criminals (criminals because they passed laws that turned people into criminals) before they pass laws that make YOU the criminal?

This is a warning sign to you. A cashless society has only but one purpose as it is presented to us by the powers that be: total oppression and enslavement. Now is the time, if you were ever going to find it, to discover the strength and courage to stand up from the crowd; to raise your voice to the crowd and have yourself heard; to fight back now before the cost of dissension is your life. I am not a pessimist. I believe in Humanity and I believe in Humans Beings. I believe we can change. I believe we can overcome. My belief, however, is not enough to make that change happen. I need your help too.