The war on cash that is currently being waged in India and other developing countries is the culmination of a “financial inclusion”-campaign originating in the US in the 1990s. The purported goal and the US institutions pushing the agenda are the same as in two earlier financial-inclusion-drives, which have been thoroughly discredited: the subprime mortgage banking frenzy in the US and the microcredit-hype around Muhammad Yunus and his Grameen Bank.
5. 03. 2017 To “prepare the next generation of world leaders”, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) will hold its 2017 MIT India Conference, this time on “Digital India”. Members of the Indian government and CEOs are travelling to Cambridge to report on the “success” of the US inspired crackdown on the use of cash. As usual, the plight of the cash-using poor and the data-security and privacy nightmare resulting from mandatory biometric identification are unlikely to be discussed.
Microsoft’s Bill Gates is one of the richest and most influential people on earth. He announced in 2015 that his Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was aiming at achieving full digitalization of the payment systems of India and other populous developing countries by 2018. This “financial inclusion” program for India dates back to well before Narendra Modi came to power. It was elevated to official US policy by Executive Order in 2012, because the President saw vital US security interests are at stake.
Boston Consulting Group (BCG), the omnipresent US-consulting company, and Google, the global data miner, issued a joint report in July 2016 on the “$500 bn Pot of Gold”, which is the Indian digital payment market. Even though the authors deny it, the report gives much reason to suspect that the authors knew that something radical was imminent from the Indian government. The report is remarkably honest about the aims of the whole exercise.
On rediff, one of India’s most popular news-sites, Badal Malick, CEO of the US-Indian anti-cash-organization Catalyst, explains via a friendly journalist, what Catalyst is doing and that my writing on Catalyst and on Washington’s meddling in the fight against cash in India was bogus. He did not convince me. Maybe he will convince you.
When Prime minister Narendra Modi took the bulk of Indian cash out of circulation, he caused great hardship for many Indians, while a disruption-loving tech elite and political establishment asked for optimism and patience. In an earlier piece I have provided some indications for US involvement in that scheme. In this piece, I am adding some more, including earlier, evidence, summarize the evidence and ask if this evidence is reasonably compatible with the interpretation that the initiative was really Modi’s.
In early November, without warning, the Indian government declared the two largest denomination bills invalid, abolishing over 80 percent of circulating cash by value. Amidst all the commotion and outrage this caused, nobody seems to have taken note of the decisive role that Washington played in this. That is surprising, as Washington’s role has been disguised only very superficially.