Norbert Haering holds a PhD in economics and is co-founder and co-director of the World Economics Association, the second largest association of economists worldwide. Dr Häring is a financial journalist, blogger and author of popular books on economics.
His two most recent books covered the campaign to abolish cash. The latest “Schönes neues Geld” (Brave new money) published in German in 2018 just came out in Chinese.
Dr Häring initiated a lawsuit in 2015 for the right to pay his fees to public broadcasters in cash, which has since made its way to the European Court of Justice (CJEU). The date for the oral hearing at the CJEU is set for 15 June 2020.
Sputnik: Please explain – for those who know nothing about the subject – what the campaign to abolish cash is all about and who the main players are.
Norbert Häring: Starting about 2005 the “war on cash”, as they were calling it, was just a declared business strategy of Visa and Mastercard to push back [against] the use of cash, because they see it as the main competitor for their credit cards. From about 2011 this kind of talk stopped completely.
Instead they entered into a coalition with the US-government, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Citibank and formed the Better Than Cash Alliance to pursue the elimination of cash. But now, they do it under the pretended goal of helping the poor by financially including them.
There are very many academic institutes, standard-setting institutions and governments that have been enlisted in this fight against cash, either with the money of Gates and the other members of the Better Than Cash Alliance or with the diplomatic muscle of the US-government, or both.
Sputnik: Why are they doing this?
Norbert Häring: The interest of the financial sector in selling their own products instead of cash is obvious. The IT-companies want the data that [goes] with digitalisation [of cash] and the US-government wants the surveillance and sanctioning power that goes with digitalisation of payments. The other countries that co-operate also like the aspect of gaining more surveillance power over their populations.