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Swedes Stashing Money in Microwaves as War on Cash Heats Up

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Swedes are reportedly hiding money in microwave ovens in a desperate attempt shield it from the negative effects their central bank’s “war on cash.”

money microwave

As Business Insider puts it, the Nordic country is “shaping up to be the first country to plunge its citizens into a fascinating — and terrifying — economic experiment: negative interest rates in a cashless society.”

The Swedish central bank, the Sveriges Riksbank, on Wednesday held its benchmark interest rate at -0.35%, the level it has been at since July. Though retail banks have yet to pass that negative rate on to Swedish consumers, they face increased pressure to do so as long as the rates remain where they are. That’s a problem, because Sweden is the closest country on the planet to becoming an all-electronic cashless society.”

This represents another salvo in a “war on cash” quickly gaining steam around the world. Central banks and governments justify this war as a means of fighting terrorism, money laundering, and other illegal activities.

As we reported earlier this year, France announced severe new restrictions on cash transactions. As of the end of September, French residents can no longer make cash payments of more than 1,000 euros. The limit was formerly 3,000. Foreign visitors’ cash payments are now capped at 10,000 euros rather than 15,000. A proposed Danish law made public last spring would allow shops to refuse cash and require some form of electronic payment. Policymakers claim the law would “ease administrative and financial burdens.”

But as we’ve reported, the war on cash is about more than stopping terrorism or catching tax evaders. Central bankers yearn to abolish cash because they can more easily manipulate the economy in a cashless environment. This lies at the root of Swedish policy. Business Insider summarized the desired effects of Swedish central planning:

If banks charge customers negative interest rates in a cashless society, those customers are not able to withdraw their money as cash to shield it under their putative mattresses. Consumers’ only choice in such a scenario is to spend it or let the bank take it. (The theory is that by forcing people to spend cash rather than save it, you can spur economic growth.)”

Instead of forcing interest rates deeper into negative territory, Riksbank recently opted for another round of quantitative easing. But analysts say the pressure to drop rates deeper into negative territory in order to drive cash into the economy is growing. Switzerland has a similar policy. Negative rates cost Swiss banks $1 billion a year. So far, they have not passed the cost on to consumers, but it seems unlikely banks will continue to absorb these losses much longer.

So, we see two trends coming together in Sweden.

  • The country uses less and less cash.
  • The country is in an environment of negative interest rates.

That means many Swedes increasingly have no way to shield their money.

Apparently, some Swedes see the writing on the wall, according to Business Insider:

A resistance is forming, and some people are protesting the impending extinction of cash. Björn Eriksson, former head of Sweden’s national police and now head of Säkerhetsbranschen, a lobbying group for the security industry, told The Local, ‘I’ve heard of people keeping cash in their microwaves because banks won’t accept it.’”

It’s only a matter of time before these policies come to the United States. In fact, the war on cash has already crossed the Atlantic. Louisiana has made it illegal to use cash when transacting secondhand goods, and for years, American banks have been required to file “Suspicious Activity Reports” for cash transactions or withdrawals above $5,000. While US interest rates have not yet dipped into negative territory, they have hovered near zero for years.

One way to avoid the war on cash is by owning physical gold and silver. It keeps your savings safely in your possession in a liquid form that the government cannot manipulate. This provides some security should we evolve into a large-scale cashless society.

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21 thoughts on “Swedes Stashing Money in Microwaves as War on Cash Heats Up

  1. HenryR says:

    For many people, myself included, the answer is not silver or gold, but copper or bronze. Unfortunately, there are very few reliable suppliers of these metals. I would love to be buying bell metal (78% Cu/ 20% Sn) coins, but no one is making them. I have been buying as much scrap copper wire as I can find and afford instead.

      • HenryR says:

        Because I had a debilitating stroke and am living on a fixed income. I can barely afford groceries and medicine, but I am not alone in this particularly nasty trap. There are others as well.

        I have already concluded that digital do is even worse than the toilet paper issued by the Federal Reserve Bank. The need to have something to barter with is about to become acute. So, I am buying as much scrap wire as I can.

        Stop and think about this for a moment. I am reasonably sure that the only reason that copper and alloys of copper are not being sold as a store of value is because they are not seen as being valuable enough. It’s just copper, right? Have you looked at the price of copper lately? Try buying a piece of thin walled 3/4″ copper tubing of the standard length of ten feet, and you will see what I am talking about. Better yet, go to the local hardware store and price new copper wire. Their prices will be eye openers for you.

        Gold and silver have a place, but then so does bronze and copper. Silver is forty times more common than gold. Copper is about 29,000 times more common than gold, while tin is only about 750 times more common than gold. Tin by itself is ill suited for coinage. Pure copper is better suited, but it is much better when it is alloyed with tin. It is harder and more resistant to corrosion.

        Copper and bronze have both been in common use as money for about as long as gold has. In fact, I’d say that they have been in use longer than silver has, because there have been numerous deposits of native copper metal and native gold found and exploited but little to no native silver. The nearest thing to silver has been deposits of what is known as “electrum” which is an alloy of gold and silver.

        But, let’s say all you have are one ounce gold and silver coins as a store of value. With what will you purchase things that are worth less than an ounce of silver or gold? Are you going to clip the coins you have on hand? Are you certain that anyone will sell you anything for part of a coin?

        Once things get completely out of hand, you will see the need for both bronze and copper.

        • Merle Kensinger says:

          Sir my problem with your logic is that during an economic collapse copper will have little or no value due to the crash of industry and building. Look at how few jobs there were during the great depression. Gold and silver on the other hand have been a storehouse of wealth for 5000 years. They have been used to purchases goods and services during the darkest times and if you had to leave your home you could take your wealth with you. I say this with all due respect.

          • HenryR says:

            Copper will always have better value than just about anything else you can trade, save silver or gold. It has been used as money for thousands upon thousands of years. Working class people have been paid in copper coins for forever up until we rediscovered paper as currency.

        • jrj90620 says:

          Kind of interesting,that I should see your message,when I’m about to take a bunch of wire,mostly copper with insulation,to a local metal recycler.The problem with copper,is that it takes up so much room,for it’s worth.You can save in silver or gold,without taking up most of your house.Also,with common silver U.S. coinage,you don’t need to assay it,to know the amount of silver.

          • HenryR says:

            So, what will you buy with your one ounce quantities of silver and gold with? What do you expect to receive as change? I happen to have more storage space than I really need, but do not have the cash to spend on silver or gold.

            For large purchases, silver and gold make good sense, but for smaller purchases? Would you be willing to buy a one ounce piece of silver for an apple? Or pair of underwear? Really?

    • Ivan Berry says:

      HenryR,you might look to the common nickle coin as it contains about 75% copper plus nickle for hardness and costs but half a dime or 1/20th of a paper dollar. That’s much less than the value at this time of what the metals would cost. Cheeper too than copper wire.

      • jrj90620 says:

        Just did a Google search and found out that the nickel has about .03 worth of metals,so not a great deal.A few years ago,there was over .05 worth of metal.Here’s link.
        http://www.coinflation.com/

        • Ivan Berry says:

          Thanks, JRJ. Guess being around a long time isn’t always an asset since changes in price can always cancel earlier assumptions. I should have rechecked.

      • HenryR says:

        I am saving nickels, dimes and quarters, but not pennies. The new penny is made of copper plated zinc and is worth next to nothing.

        Additionally, I full expect US minted coins to be accepted by nearly everyone. They are tangible and are made of copper with cupro-nickel plating. They are also easily recognized. There will be a transition period immediately after the crash. People such as we are looked upon as being a bit odd at a minimum, and downright nutty otherwise. Many people accuse me of crying wolf.

        I bought silver the last time things go this hairy and would do so again, but I would also buy a good deal of copper or bronze as well if they were available. I have run across a vendor two who is selling copper coins and “ingots,” but they want outrageous prices for their products — something over ten times the spot price.

        If I could find copper coins between the weights of 24 to 30 grams each I would be willing to pay two to three dollars a piece for them.

  2. karl says:

    Naturally. The concept is simple: Nowhere to hide and go.

    Essentially a orwellian state of TOTAL control. But there is more to it than simply “control”. In essence there is a permanent “corralito” Argentine “style”- whereas the government can control your money at ANY time and there is nothing you can do to prevent it. You can no withdraw, transfer – nothing. Regardless of how much you have, you are now poor. High inflation? too bad. Essentially, the socialist-communists (crony capitalists) are working diligently for the “new world order” of economic enslavement unless you are part of “the privileged”- if not: tough luck. This is evident in Greece, whereas party member families took their money out before capital controls. The truth of the matter is that the EU has lost all credibility. It has violated its charters, its laws and ECB simply ignores all rules.

    This is evident particularly in spain whereas the common thief or tax “fraudster” is jailed and or fleeced, but politicos (their minions and “benefactors”) like Pujol and family who are walking the streets free – with their loot untouched despite of publicly admitting tax fraud, theft, kickbacks, illegal party funding etc etc. Yet the spanish government – like the others – limit cash payments and wage “war” against the “rich” tax fraudsters and the people are stupid enough to believe that the goverment is working for their interests – as IF government (politikos, officials and workers) were selfless as mother Teresa of Calcutta. Might as well believe in the tooth fairy, Santa Klaus and the fairy god mother.

    • HenryR says:

      And most Argentinians are getting by on barter or some sort of “underground” currency. They simply do not use the official currency for anything but paying taxes.

  3. Nicklas says:

    Im swedish and I have not heard that people would be stashing cash at home. Maybe in the microwave company Electrolux? The main problem with the swedish intrest rate is a growing house bubble. After subsidies we pay just 1%

  4. Per says:

    One important fact about stashing at home. It’s not to save the cash, it’s because nobody accepts them!
    Nobody keeps cash because they want it, but because they can’t be used anywhere. Cash has become worthless. Nobody accepts it as it can’t be used or deposited. This is a big victory in the war on cash. Not even my 12 year old kids want their pocketmoney in cash, as they can hardly be spent…

  5. Jake says:

    I’m sorry. I just don’t see people bartering with copper, tin, or bronze in a crisis. Gold, Silver, Freeze Dried food, cigarettes, liquor, etc. make sense to me. If cash is gone, people are going to panic and that means desperate people will clean out supermarket shelves within hours and settle into doing whatever it takes to cope day to day. The US is headed for hard times and we need to embrace reality if we and our families are going to weather the storm.

  6. Paul from Texas says:

    -and not surprisingly, the major tech companies are pushing a cashless society.

  7. Marco says:

    The problem is with CITIZENS……that accept all this crap!!!
    Try growing some balls and just say ENOUGH…..then find every way possible to live outside this contrived financial system….while resisting this big government control…..!!!

  8. Here in Denmark, the War on Cash also has the consequence that in Århus, the 2nd largest city, only two branches of Danske Bank are willing to handle cash on demand – as in “Walk in from the street to do currency exchange”. It has a micropayment application named MobilePay which is hugely popular (and very well made), again working to eliminate the need for a bit of cash in the pocket for minor trades and expenses.

    It’s the policy of our national bank to follow the euro into the abyss. While the Swedish Krone is declining faster (it used to be more worth than the Danish, now it’s at 0.80), voluntarity binding yourself to something real large that is sinking does not look like a good idea.

    A century ago, we had honest money, wealth and very low crime rates, while living conditions were soaring. Now we have endless amounts of money, lots of hard work and large expenses, high immigration, welfare expenses and high crime, with living conditions stagnant at best. I guess that’s the reward for letting the State run pretty much everything as it sees fit.

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