WHEN PER­SONAL FREE­DOM IS STOLEN

Bangkok Post - - EDITORIAL & LETTERS -

Dig­i­tal bank­ing risk man­age­ment is a hot topic in the fi­nan­cial sec­tor. Fin­tech and the ac­cel­er­at­ing tran­si­tion to a cash­less econ­omy present risks the av­er­age ci­ti­zen can­not imag­ine let alone eval­u­ate re­spon­si­bly.

Con­sider the Bangladesh Bank cy­ber heist of 2016, and imag­ine how much more crim­i­nals have learned since then. When tar­gets are spread across the en­tire global econ­omy, span­ning ev­ery­thing from con­sumers to cen­tral banks, the like­li­hood that some­one’s money will even­tu­ally dis­ap­pear with a key­stroke is be­yond cer­tainty, it is now built into the sys­tem. Cash is be­com­ing illiq­uid in many na­tions.

But the greater dan­ger loom­ing takes an­other form. Sov­er­eign own­er­ship is be­ing steadily trans­ferred from or­di­nary in­di­vid­u­als to the state and its cor­po­rate min­ions.

Owe back taxes? No, ac­tu­ally you don’t be­cause the state has al­ready seized your funds elec­tron­i­cally. Bought a pack of cig­a­rettes yes­ter­day? Your health in­sur­ance pre­mium went up three sec­onds af­ter the pur­chase and the ad­di­tional money has al­ready been cred­ited to your in­surer. Your fu­ture debt to the state will be known to the penny and cal­cu­lated on the day of your birth.

A cash­less so­ci­ety is the hand­maiden of so­cial­ism and an es­sen­tial com­po­nent in the pro­gres­sive demise of in­di­vid­ual sovereignty. In short, the risk to the in­di­vid­ual is far greater than a mere theft of as­sets, it is your soul they are af­ter. Per­sonal free­dom and the un­fet­tered pur­suit of hap­pi­ness will have been stolen like a ma­gi­cian pulls a rab­bit out of a hat.

Michael Set­ter Bang Saray

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