Germans say “Hands off our cash!”

One of Germany’s largest daily newspapers, Bild, has published an emotional appeal to its readers. I asked our resident German speaker, Nickolai Hubble, to read the article and translate the salient points. You’ll find them below.

The paper printed the remarks in the form of a postcard, which readers were encouraged to mail to finance minister Wolfgang Schauble. The appeal came in response to an official move to limit cash transactions in Germany to €5,000 (£3,860) and to abolish the use of the €500 note.

An increasing cacophony of academics, politicians and various other shills are advancing the claim that only drug dealers, tax cheats and terrorists need large denomination bank notes. It’s a measured approach to slowly phasing out cash. Bild has had enough. Nick translates the major points:

Hands off our cash!

Experts and ordinary people are both against it.

Bild gives five reasons why there shouldn’t be a limit:

  1. Germans love cash. They pay four out of five bills with cash. In a digital world it’s the only way to protect your privacy from the government and banks’ data collection.
  2. Slippery slope effect. Today it’s €5,000. Tomorrow it’s less. And then less again. In France they went from €3,000 to €1,000.
  3. It creates a false premise of guilt. You couldn’t possibly have earned €5,000 honestly. Just because some break the law doesn’t mean we should all be under suspicion.
  4. Cash always works. Technology doesn’t.
  5. Experts say banning cash won’t actually reduce black market and illegal transactions. Criminals have mastered electronic fraud better than cash fraud.

Good luck Germans. Nick O’Connor submitted a petition in September of last year against the abolition of cash. The petition needs 10,000 signatures to get the government to respond. We’re not even half way there yet. And if we fail to secure the 10,000 signatures before 13 April, the petition expires. You can sign it here.

Of course, once you sign it, the government will know you’ve signed it. But I rate that as a low risk. The government is coming for your cash anyway, whether they know you’re against it or not. Might as well stand up and be counted while it still matters.

Dan Denning's Signature

Category: Central Banks

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