Here in New Zealand we are perhaps still a little way behind some other nation states in terms of loss of privacy.
For instance as we wrote back in 2014 there is currently no need to report precious metals purchases in New Zealand to anyone. This might well change in the future as we have written about here (Privacy: Are purchases of gold and silver in NZ reported?), but for now purchases are not required to be recorded or reported in NZ by dealers or by the purchasers themselves. (Perhaps it’s a case of get it [privacy] while you still can?).
Read on to see why the current outcries about tax havens – and here in New Zealand about the “tax dodging” Foreign Trusts – will likely lead to a further loss of financial privacy for everyone…
You’ve likely heard that unknown hackers recently attacked Mossack Fonseca, a law firm in Panama that helps people set up offshore companies and bank accounts. They later leaked 11.5 million documents.
Almost immediately, central economic planners at the G20 and OECD—international organizations of the world’s largest economies—took advantage of the “Panama Papers” incident to shove GATCA down the world’s throat.
GATCA is a new “global standard” for the automatic exchange of financial information between governments. It’s modeled on an overreaching U.S. law, FATCA, which forces every financial institution on earth to give the IRS information.
Think of GATCA as FATCA on steroids. If countries widely adopt it, GATCA will deliver the final deathblow to financial privacy.
The G20 and OECD are even threatening to blacklist and sanction countries that don’t sign up for their privacy-killing scheme. Most have already caved. Notable holdouts include Panama, Lebanon and Bahrain.
Ramon Fonseca, a founder of the hacked Panama law firm, has said, “We believe there’s an international campaign against privacy. Privacy is a sacred human right (but) there are people in the world who do not understand that.”
I think Fonseca is absolutely correct.
George Orwell once wrote, “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever.”
Not exactly a cheery thought, I know. But this dark future is, unfortunately, where we may be headed…and soon.
It’s a world where privacy is dead, where the government knows everything about you.
And we’re already almost there.
Today, the government knows what you watch on TV, what you read on the Internet, whom you call, and everything you do on your smart phone and computer. It has a record of every penny you’ve ever earned, saved, borrowed or spent. It knows where you’ve been, where you are and where you’re going.
All this government tracking is possible thanks to the mountain of laws and regulations that sprouted from the war on (some) drugs, the war on terror and so forth. Over the years, these schemes have incrementally destroyed privacy. Now, they’re going in for the kill.
There’s not much about your life the government doesn’t know already. The last vestiges of privacy may vanish very soon. Once that happens, governments will have almost unbreakable control over the individual.
This is exactly the opposite of how a free society works.
This meddling is not about protecting you from drug dealers or terrorists, it’s about the government seizing more power. This is why proponents of big government invariably support measures that kill privacy.
There’s also a psychological aspect to this relentless anti-privacy campaign. The government and its media allies have convinced the average person that “privacy” is a dirty word.
They’ve duped people into believing that only criminals and wrongdoers want privacy. “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about,” as the popular, but wrongheaded, adage goes.
Many have forgotten that privacy is fundamental to preserving human dignity and protecting individuals from government overreach.
Financial privacy is by far the most demonized aspect of privacy. This is a huge clue. Governments wouldn’t hate financial privacy so much if it weren’t so important to individual liberty.
Politicians around the world see citizens as milk cows…they merely exist to be squeezed to the last drop. That’s why politicians are so eager to kill financial privacy. They’re building a giant tax farm and erecting electric fences to keep the cows and their milk from escaping.
Overzealous governments have been attacking financial privacy for decades. Now, they’re within striking distance of killing it once and for all.
I think they’ll use the suspicious Panama Papers incident as the pretext for their final push.
The death of privacy in general, and financial privacy in particular, will have far-reaching sociopolitical consequences. It will irrevocably skew the balance of power in favor of the government and against the individual.
I call it “the new feudalism.”
A world without privacy is a giant step backward for human freedom. It’s the new Dark Ages that George Orwell grimly predicted.
While the forces pushing to centralize power have won battle after battle, their victory isn’t yet complete.
Technologies that empower the individual and push toward decentralization—including the Internet, encryption, 3D printing and cryptocurrencies—offer a powerful ray of hope. There are reasons to be optimistic about the future.
So, the tug of war continues…
Politicians around the world are working hard to make the new feudalism a reality. But it’s still possible to escape.
We recently released a guide explaining how. Click here to download the PDF now.