Money

If You Don't Need Those Big Bills, You Probably Don't Need Cash At All. Do You, Now?

Harvard and other elites take aim at any possibility of financial privacy in the name of curbing criminals flashing their big cash.

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The elites know what they want: a trackable record of every transaction that happens on planet Earth. Those who stand in the way or object are just facilitating "bad guys." Some evidence this week from Harvard University, where Peter Sands, president emeritus of Harvard, has issued a new paper on the topic of "Making it Harder for the Bad Guys: The Case for Eliminating High Denomination Notes."

The heart of Sands' argument:

Such notes are the preferred payment mechanism of those pursuing illicit activities, given the anonymity and lack of transaction record they offer, and the relative ease with which they can be transported and moved. By eliminating high denomination, high value notes we would make life harder for those pursuing tax evasion, financial crime, terrorist finance and corruption. Without being able to use high denomination notes, those engaged in illicit activities – the "bad guys" of our title – would face higher costs and greater risks of detection. Eliminating high denomination notes would disrupt their "business models".

The argument could in all its particulars apply to cash in general. If it's dead wrong to allow "bad guys" to move their property across state lines in a potentially undetectable fashion when it is lighter than some elite thinks appropriately, why let them do it at all? Make sure there is a potentially state-viewable electronic record of everything. You aren't pro-crime, are you?

Time reports on the growing movement on authorities' part in both the European Union and the U.S. to crush those criminally convenient bills, noting that "In 2000, Canada got rid of its $1,000 bills and Singapore ditched its $10,000 bills" and that even the U.K's 50 pound note is in the crosshair.

Former Treasury Secretary Lawrence H. Summers is explicit in The Washington Post: the $100 bill must die, concluding, hooked off of the Sands' paper, that:

Even better than unilateral measures in Europe would be a global agreement to stop issuing notes worth more than say $50 or $100.  Such an agreement would be as significant as anything else the G7 or G20 has done in years. 

Given its implications for big state's power and willingness to smash any possibility of conducting transactions outside their all-seeing eye, that's true. Summers is positively pleased with his arguments and their implications. You can decide for yourself if you are as well, despite his insisting such a move would be "the global financial groupings [standing] up against "big money" and for the interests of ordinary citizens."

I don't know if it's scarier to think Summers is being cold-bloodedly Orwellian or if he actually believes that crap.

I wrote back in February 2014 on the bitterly amusing ironies of how state complaints against Bitcoin map complaints they might have about cash.