Bavaria’s father Markus Söder. Image by Michael Lucan via License: Creative Commons

The payment card for refugees is the harshest monetary repression in Germany to date. Many people understand this – but it is just the beginning. The editor makes no secret of this.

It’s 2024, and there are endless crises that someone should care about, but politicians disagree on almost everything.

There is only one thing that everyone agrees on, from right to left, from the SPD to the AfD: it is urgently necessary to stop refugees from saving a few euros from their pocket money in order to send them home to their families.

This is exactly what the payment card is supposed to prevent. This year, refugees will no longer receive social benefits in cash or on an account, but only on special debit cards.

The toughest payment card in Germany

Because, explained Bavaria’s Prime Minister Söder, “We need an effective limitation on uncontrolled immigration as quickly as possible. This requires a reduction in incentives to come to Germany.”

Bavaria wants to introduce a particularly tough payment card: “Only goods can be purchased in everyday shops. We stop online shopping, gambling and overseas transfers […] In addition, the card should only be used near the accommodation.”

So it didn’t take a week until it was no longer just about transfers home, but also about online shopping and trips to neighboring regions. Rarely has the term “slippery slope” been so accurate: anyone who gets onto a slippery slope will continue to slide.

Repression without benefit?

In discussions about payment cards, many Bitcoiners show a certain understanding: refugees only received benefits from taxpayers that ensure survival, i.e. a roof over their heads and food. There is no right to universally applicable money.

From a liberal perspective, this is a legitimate argument: If you redistribute tax money, then there can – or should – be control over what the money is used for.

But is this worth establishing and normalizing technologies of monetary repression? And does the payment card really solve the alleged problem of international transfers – how do you prevent refugees from buying voucher cards at Rewe – or is it just repression without benefit at the end of the day?

But above all: Why should it stay with refugees if you have already started on the slippery slope?

Why not for child benefit too?

For example, the recipients of citizens’ money: Why do we allow them to spend “our money” on liquor and prostitutes? Wouldn’t the payment card also prevent misuse by Mallorca-Malte and Istanbul-Ingo?

The economist Bernd Raffelhausen is already calling for exactly this: If he has his way, recipients of citizen’s money who refuse to work should only receive payment cards. But why only objectors? Why not everyone? It is only a matter of time before these demands make it into politics.

And why stop at citizen’s money? For example, students who receive BAföG. Can we allow them to squander half of their tax money in bars instead of studying in the library? And have we already talked about the journalists who are supported by the artists’ social security fund and the farmers who receive discounts on taxpayer costs through agricultural diesel?

Or what about child benefit? Shouldn’t this be spent exclusively on the child?

And so on and so forth down the slippery slope. Once you start regulating who can spend how much money on what, a wider horizon of monetary control opens up!

The editor’s clear message: It’s not just about refugees!

This normalization of monetary control through “payment cards” is not a dystopia. It’s already happening.

The company givve, which implements the payment cards together with MasterCard, makes no secret of this. They call the card “Social Card” and advertise that it was “specifically developed for use by refugees and benefit recipients.” Yes, benefit recipients!

givve explicitly mentions the “prevention of unwanted expenses” as an advantage of “Social Cards”: The Social Cards are intended to “prevent social benefits from being used for unwanted expenses such as gambling.” Yes, social benefits, yes, gambling!

It is no longer just about preventing one group – refugees – from sending money abroad. That was just the gateway drug.

Internationally, Groupe Up, the parent company of givve, is also trying to gain monetary control over the weakest members of society. It is already active in 23 countries and “is already providing refugees or social assistance recipients with payment cards in France, Belgium, Italy and Romania, among others.”

The monetary restrictions on social assistance recipients have already begun, and Germany is on the way to normalizing them too.


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