We reported on this a couple of weeks ago when a friend of ours (and occasional contributor,) in Switzerland whose business involves liaising with government officials, knowing that we run an omnibus page on one of our other sited dedicated to reporting plans for cashless economies. If you want the news before it happens, follow any of the Boggart Blogs or The Daily Stirrer.
As in neighboring Germany and Austria, cash is still king in Switzerland albeit a much diminished one. But the Swiss will soon have the chance to vote on whether to preserve notes and coins indefinitely.
This is a rare positive news story that, perhaps unsurprisingly, has received next to no attention beyond Swiss borders. As far as I can tell, none of the legacy media in the US, UK, France, Germany or Spain have even bothered to cover the story. Indeed, it only registered on my radar a couple of days ago, over a week after the story initially broke, because an acquaintance of mine with family in Switzerland told me about it.
So, here’s the basic thrust of the story: 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.
FBS says cash is playing a diminishing role in many economies, including Switzerland, as digital payment methods come to the fore, making it easier for the State and central bank to track citizens’ behavior.
“It is clear that… getting rid of cash not only touches on issues of transparency, simplicity or security… but also carries a huge danger of totalitarian surveillance,” FBS president Richard Koller said on the group’s website. ... Continue reading >>>