Here are the latest news items and commentary on current economics news, market trends, stocks, investing opportunities, and the precious metals markets. We also cover hedges, derivatives, and obscura. And it bears mention that most of these items are from the “tangibles heavy” contrarian perspective of SurvivalBlog’s Founder and Senior Editor, JWR. Today’s focus is on western societies going cashless.
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Economy & Finance:
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At Wolf Richter’s Wolf Street: E-Commerce is Wiping Out Mall Retailers One by One. Here’s the Data
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Also from Wolf Richter: The Most Splendid Housing Bubbles in Canada Deflate
“The UK isn’t alone in facing this challenge of dwindling cash use. Across many advanced economies, from Sweden, Denmark and Finland to the Netherlands, Canada, France, and the United States, cash usage has fallen well below 50%. There are some important exceptions, of course, including Germany, Austria, Italy and Spain, where cash still accounts for over 80% of point of sale purchases.
But where cash usage is falling fastest, major risks are already becoming apparent, including financial exclusion and system vulnerability.
“There are some serious risks of sleepwalking into a cashless society before we are ready – not just to individuals, but to society,” said the review’s chair, former UK financial ombudsman Natalie Ceeney. “We identified risks to the viability of rural communities, the loss of personal independence and increased risks of financial abuse and debt.””
JWR’s Comments: As preppers, we should be concerned about western societies going cashless. A cashless society is a vulnerable society. Power failure, solar storms, or hacker attacks on the banking and transaction processing systems could make nearly all commerce impossible. Reversion to cash is fairly simple, as long as there is a still a circulating currency. But once that has been eliminated? Who knows. Most preppers have silver coins tucked away. But reversion to using them could be a shaky process, with a steep learning curve. Secondly, even if cashless payment processing works perfectly, then there are still the risks created by the loss of privacy when every transaction is tracked and cataloged in some database “somewhere in the cloud.” This should be food for thought and grounds for further research.
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The spot price of industrial nickel is continuing in its doldrums. I don’t expect a run-up like we saw in 2007 to repeat anytime soon. If anything, I expect a bit of a decline, in the next recession. And some would argue that this is inevitability is already built into today’s spot and futures prices. But I’m certainly not going to cash out my hoard of Nickels–U.S. five cent pieces. That is a long term hedge on the spending power of the U.S. Dollar. The lowly Nickel is the last circulating U.S. coin that has a base metal value that roughly matches its face value. All of our other currently circulating coins are mere tokens.
Forex & Cryptos:
At Zero Hedge: Will MMT Kill The Dollar As The World’s Reserve Currency
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SurvivalBlog and its Editors are not paid investment counselors or advisers. Please see our Provisos page for our detailed disclaimers.
Please send your economics and investing news tips to JWR. (Either via e-mail of via our Contact form.) These are often especially relevant, because they come from folks who particularly watch individual markets. And due to their diligence and focus, we benefit from fresh “on target” investing news. We often get the scoop on economic and investing news that is probably ignored (or reported late) by mainstream American news outlets. Thanks!