By FS Staff
What do you think of when you hear the expression, “the death of money”? Hyperinflation, financial collapse, runaway gold prices, or perhaps Jim Rickard’s new best-selling book? We recently had a very interesting discussion with Ross Hansen, head of the world’s largest private mint, about another type of monetary collapse taking place, which also happened to be a key topic at this year’s meeting between world bankers and national mints.
Here are a few excerpts from his interview (click here for audio) that recently aired to our subscribers.
FSN: Ross, you recently returned from this year’s Mint Director’s Conference where a lot of important topics are discussed on the future of money and where things are headed. Can you tell our listeners what the Mint Director’s Conference is, who attends it, and what this year’s meeting was about?
Hansen: The Mint Director’s Conference is held every two years…two years ago it was held in Vienna, Austria and this year it was held in Mexico City, Mexico. And what it is is the world’s heads of the mints and usually the heads of their national banks getting together in a kind of a high security meeting and we talk about everything from monetary policy, bullion production, coin production, the technical issues, and the outlook of money. Then, of course, there’s the vendors that show up and want to sell us coining presses and paper and things like that, so it’s a very enlightening meeting. And this year if I had to pick a topic it was basically talking about the collapse of physical money.
FSN: When most people think of “the collapse of money,” they usually think hyperinflation, Weimar Germany, runaway gold prices, etc.; but from this and past meetings you’ve attended, heads of the world’s mints and central banks are preparing for and discussing a much different sort of monetary collapse than what most are probably expecting. Do you mind explaining?
Hansen: The mints nowadays are producing less coins than they have in modern history. And even the paper money that’s being created—because most of the world’s mints are also handling printing money—they’re seeing less and less paper and less and less coins being made because it’s all going electronic…and this has been a concern of the world mints, but to the delight of the world money policymakers.
FSN: We can all understand why this is a problem for the mints, since they produce physical coins and cash, but can you explain why world policymakers are delighted in this trend?
Hansen: One of the world bankers told me the cost to handle money—the cost of physical money—is considered a huge deferment. Most modern countries spend about 2.75% of their GDP moving physical money and guarding it. That means having bank-tellers to disperse the money. That means the armored cars to haul money. It means people to guard and people to count it and the people that do all these different cash transactions, which costs most of the modern countries about 2.75% of their GDP every year. And in some of the non-developed countries that number has skyrocketed to 15-20% because you can imagine trying to move cash in a place like Somalia or some place like that…it’s very dangerous. So, they view this as a security issue. Putting together the economies of your country you can make them more efficient if you eliminate cash. You add about 2 points to your growth, and your revenue that you capture through your tax system is so much greater. And the control that you have on your people—in the past if you wanted to control somebody you had to go find them. Now, you can just punch it up in a computer and you can see, hey, well they’re standing right now in a Starbucks. Let’s go out and pick them up. And if you really want to control them just cancel all their electronic money. This is what I see, what I’m taking out of the Mint Director’s Conferences and talking to the world’s banks, and talking and looking at money supply, they are actually envisioning a time when physical money is non-existent.
FSN: What is the most worrying part of this trend as you see it?
Hansen: Everything is being tracked. And also what it allows them to do—and they spoke about this in one of our private meetings on security—if you are a person of interest, they can track all of your spending habits and movements now by following your debit card. And a lot of these debit cards…if you walk by a terminal, your card is being read. You don’t even necessarily have to use it. […] They were proudly talking about how a number of criminals are being caught because they just look at their debit card, and they can follow their debit card—even if it’s not being used. They can track their debit card where it’s at. To me, this is globalism and one world government on steroids.
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