According to financial expert Chris Martenson with PeakProsperity.com, the war on cash is really rooted in central banks wanting to push customers into a negative interest rate, meaning they would lose money sitting in the bank over time.
"They feel constrained by the idea that you could take your cash out of the bank and no longer be subject to their policies," Martenson said.
While governments and bank executives advocate for negative interest rates and a cashless society by gallantly saying they want to protect consumers from theft and nefarious players, it's really about controlling people's money.
What does Martenson recommend the average person do?
"Well, the average person, I think, needs to get into two things . . . which are assets that are outside of this crazy system. So, listen, you know, if you're on a ship called the Titanic and you see your captain playing slalom with icebergs, get near the lifeboats. And in this story, real assets are the lifeboats," he said.
Read below or watch the clip for answers to these questions:
• What is nonproductive debt?
• What's the one thing a government or policy official dreams of?
• Why should we think of a bank as a company?
Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it might contain errors:
GLENN: A guy I believe I've been looking for, for at least ten years. Chris Martenson. I've been looking for a guy that sees the world in the way that I do, that doesn't buy into the, quite honestly, Harvard Business School or the Wharton School of Business lies that the bankers are telling themselves right now about what's coming in the economy and how do we get out of this mess.
He's from peakprosperity.com. We're proud to have him as a Glenn Beck contributor now. Last time we talked about the collapse of pensions and getting out of your pensions and taking that lump sum if you have that ability. Today, I want to talk to him a little bit about digitizing currency. Because this is not being heard in the media anywhere. They're not talking about it.
And, you know, two weeks ago, when India, all of a sudden, you can't into anything in cash over the equivalent of $7 in India, with cash. When Australia's Citibank, our Citibank says they're now going to be introducing branches completely cashless, something is coming our way. And we want to get Chris on the phone with us now. Hey, Chris, how are you?
CHRIS: Oh, I'm doing very well, Glenn. Good to be back with you and all your listeners.
GLENN: Okay. So, Chris, tell me -- first of all, for anybody who hasn't heard this, it sounds conspiratorial and it sounds crazy, that we're going to live in a cashless society.
Can you give us any evidence that is -- that shows, no, the world is changing rapidly?
CHRIS: Well, you know, this war on cash actually began a while ago with seeing somebody like Andrew Haldane, who is an official at the Bank of England or Larry Summers here in the United States. They started with this war, talking about how the high denomination bills are being used by criminals, terrorists, tax cheats.
CHRIS: That's what it was wrapped in. But your listeners need to understand that the war on cash is really rooted in the idea that central banks would love to be able to push you into negative interest rate territory. They feel constrained by the idea that you could take your cash out of the bank and no longer be subject to their policies.
And they've been pretty open about it. They've been saying that, but they also use this criminal angle. So that's the same angle that was just used in India, by Prime Minister Modi to say, "Hey, we've got to get rid of these bills because criminals." Right? So that's the argument being used. But it's really to control the money of the people. That's really what it's about here.
GLENN: May I say, Chris, that it appears to me to be almost the angle of being able to steal our money as well.
They'll do it legally by a bail-in, as opposed to a bailout and negative interest rates. Can you explain negative interest rates and what that means to the average person that has any money in the bank at all?
CHRIS: Absolutely. I'd be glad to. It should be an easy concept, but it's hard to really understand. But a negative interest rate means, if I put a thousand dollars in the bank and there was a negative interest rate of 10 percent, in a year, I would have $900 left when we looked at it. So what happens with a negative interest rate is that you hand your money over to some institution or some entity, and you get less of it back in the future. That's the idea. And the reason they want to have a negative interest rate is if they put interest rates down at zero -- the idea is you want everybody spending. Borrowing and spending. But some people prefer to save. And those people aren't doing their job of cranking the economy up. So how do you force people to spend who don't want to spend?
Well, you punish them. And the way you punish them is with something called a negative interest rate.
GLENN: So you could -- because this is what I would do. I find out that the banks have changed their rules where they can have a bail-in, where we are now the -- the investor of last in line. Can you explain that? Do you understand what I'm talking about? If the banks go out instead of going to the federal government, they come to the people who put money in the deposits.
CHRIS: Well, sure. It's easy to understand if you think of a bank, not as a bank, but it's a company. And when a company goes into receivership, it's entered bankruptcy, it no longer -- its assets are vastly exceeded by its liabilities, well, you have to break that company up for whatever's left.
And there's a chain of -- a hierarchy of people who are in line to divvy up the spoils of what's left at this broken company. So what you're referring to is that most people have this wrong. They think that when they put money in a bank, they have money in a bank account. That's not true. What you've done is given an unsecured loan to the bank. And your asset is the bank's liability.
So in a bankruptcy or if a bank goes into what's called technically a receivership, you're actually at the -- almost at the very bottom of the list of people who are in line to receive the spoils of whatever is left of that company because you are an unsecured creditor of the bank.
GLENN: So it is a way for the bank to gamble, really, with your money, and make these crazy investments that we all know are dangerous. And they get away with it because they say, "Well, the government is going to pay -- the FDIC will pay everybody back." So they'll get their money through the government. And then we can take that money and pay off any of our debts or whatever. So when I heard about that, my first instinct is, "Well, I don't want my money in those risky banks. So I'm going to take my money out."
Well, if you do that, then the economy really collapses. So you have to trap the money in the bank. And how do you do that? Especially if they want to have negative interest rates and make sure that you're spending all of your cash.
CHRIS: Well, absolutely. For a government official or a policy official, the thing they dream about most is to have you completely trapped and contained so they can do whatever policies makes sense to them at the time. So cash gives you, as a private citizen, an outlet, a way of not being in the banking system.
But, Glenn, you've characterized it just right. So they're saying, "First of all, you have to be in the banking system. We're going to move to a cashless society. So you have to have all of your funds within this system. And then we're going to set the rules of the system," which basically comes down to, heads we win, tails you lose. Banks take big risks. The risks pay off. They pay themselves massive bonuses.
Risks don't work out. They don't get paid off. Then they come after your funds. And we've seen this happen already. That's what happened in Cyprus. That's what happened in some of the Greek banks. We're soon to see it in the Italian banks. It's spreading. It's a concept. It's coming here.
GLENN: All right. It's already happening in Australia. It's already happening in India. It is already happening in Sweden. They're talking about doing it now. Seriously moving in that direction.
Is this just a fluke that these things are happening, or is this wheel now in motion rolling down a hill and it's not going to stop?
CHRIS: Well, it really just started actually probably 15 or 20 years ago. So what's happened is that instead of allowing normal business cycles to happen -- under the Greenspan fed -- remember that name from way back -- decided, hey, we're going to defeat the business cycle. But what they really did was they blew bubbles. One bubble. Then another. Then another.
And the whole world kind of got addicted to it.
And I think the policymakers -- they feel trapped, Glenn. They're looking at this, saying, how do we possibly deal with all this money we've printed. What do we do? It's binary. It either expands, or it collapses at this point. That's, I think their fear.
And 2008 really scared them. Got a lot of people in very high places, very worried that they were looking at the proverbial light in the tunnel, coming at them.
So I think this is a reaction. I would also almost call it a normal reaction. But people need to be aware that at the same time these people, I think, were legitimately concerned, wouldn't you know it, by the time all the rules got written, they were really written in favor of the elites, the very powerful, the well-connected, and really at the disadvantage of everybody else. And that's just classic sausage-making in Washington, I think.
PAT: So, Chris -- we're speaking from Chris Martenson from peakprosperity.com. Chris, this is Pat Gray. You've said it's taken 15, 20 years to get to this point. Does that mean we still have time, or what would you consider the time line?
GLENN: May I suggest that we are one 2008 away from this happening.
PAT: Yeah. Is it something that can just start cascading now due to some -- we talk about it all the time. Some sort of event. Terrorism or whatever. Or will this draw out for a while longer?
CHRIS: Well, Pat, it's really hard to make that prediction. Because what we're talking about here is a complex system. And here's what we know about complex systems: You can't predict what's going to happen or when.
It's like a fault line is a complex system. Scientists study them like crazy. Because we'd love to know, when is the next earthquake? How big is it going to be?
We can't know that. But we can know is that the earthquake hasn't let go in a while, and it's supposed to. That the chance of the next earthquake happening sooner is higher. And it being larger is also higher. So what's happened since 2008 is we've just piled up the risks. We've just made them larger.
PAT: Because what you're saying, what the government counts on then is that, yeah, we can draw this out a lot longer. And that's what they're hoping for, right? They're just hoping to continue the policies that we've had which have led us here. But they're just going to keep going until we're --
GLENN: Right. We're already 18 months past a point where a natural recession should have happened.
STU: So now we never really got out of the problem that we had in 2008. We made it much worse. And going into a natural recession is going to cause all -- wreak all kinds of havoc and will -- they will try to solve it with things that will just make this bubble even more dangerous down the road.
Chris, what do we do? What does the average person do?
Like, for instance, when I saw Australia and India both go within two weeks to basically a cashless society in India, my first thought was, "Okay. I want to get gold. And I also want to get crazy things like possibly bitcoin."
What do you recommend? What does the average person do?
CHRIS: Well, the average person I think needs to get into two things you've just identified, which are assets that are outside of this crazy system. So, listen, you know, if you're on a ship called the Titanic and you see your captain playing slalom with icebergs, get near the lifeboats.
And in this story, real assets are the lifeboats. So I'm counseling people, get out of debt, stay out of debt if it's nonproductive debt. Don't do it.
GLENN: Wait. Wait. What's nonproductive debt? Like your house?
CHRIS: You know, buying a $40,000 car if you can still get to work in a $20,000 car and be happy as you can be. But anything that you're going to take on what's basically for consumption. Right?
GLENN: Right. Okay.
CHRIS: So rack up the credit card and take that nice trip. That's not going to be helpful here.
For many people, unfortunately, Glenn, it includes student loans. If you're getting a degree that doesn't really have a job attached to it, that may also be nonproductive.
CHRIS: So lots of things to think about. Because what we've learned in the 1930s was that when -- not if, but when these bubbles blow up, debt is a stone-cold killer. Being out from under that, very helpful if people can get there.
GLENN: And what do you do? Like assets, that's gold, that's silver, is that land? Is that, what?
CHRIS: It is. It's land. I particularly love productive land. It's either got timber on it. It's farmland. It's good commercial properties that happen to have excellent rental histories. Things like that can make a lot of sense. And this is because, what's going to happen when these currencies finally give way is there's going to be a big scramble for the exits. There's trillions and trillions of dollars floating around that are going to go out and look for real things.
And we've been down this path before in history. We've seen it a bunch of times. And it's happening -- I've seen you mention it before. It's happening right now in Venezuela.
GLENN: Chris, I would love to have you on next time. I want to talk to you a little bit about -- because I'd like to build the case on the -- you know, Donald Trump is talking about saying to China that they are currency manipulators. Well, I don't know how we have the balls to say that to China. We're the biggest currency manipulator on the planet right now. And it always leads to the same kind of thing. Trade barriers. Trade wars. Currency wars. And if you could explain that a little bit. Because what I would like to do over the next few episodes with you is get to the point to where people can understand that this currency -- what -- at least what I'm feeling, Chris -- and I'd like you to think about this and then we could talk maybe off the air -- but what I think we're headed towards is what we went through in the 19 teens, '20s, '30s, and into the '40s, where currencies were devalued, destroyed, hyperinflation happened, the gold standard. Then that was manipulated. And the whole world shifted during a war, that nobody really understood, "Wait a minute. The real power shifted with the currencies." And I think that's happening again. Would you agree with that?
CHRIS: I absolutely agree with that. And it takes a little while to go through the parts.
GLENN: Explain. Yeah.
CHRIS: But people need to understand what those big pieces are so they can decide for themselves what to do about it.
GLENN: Right. Okay. So could you -- let's -- why don't you and I talk off the air here, and maybe next week, we could have you and do one other segment and start to lay those segments out so people really understand what you and I just said and how that's going to work.
CHRIS: Fantastic. I'd love to.
GLENN: Okay. Chris Martenson. He's with peakprosperity.com. Peakprosperity.com. Chris Martenson. He'll join us again, hopefully next week.
Featured Image: People walk past Bank of America branch in Washington, DC on October 19, 2016. (Photo Credit: ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images)