Money

Cash Means Freedom, Which Is Why So Many Officials Hate It

Opponents and proponents of folding money agree that the stuff protects you from the state-but they differ about the value of that protection.

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Cash—the familiar, anonymous paper money and metallic coins that most of us grew up using—isn't just convenient, it's also a powerful shield for our autonomy and our privacy. That's the argument of cash advocates of course—but also of those economists and government officials who want to abolish the stuff. Cash's power to protect people from meddling and tracking motivates both parties, either to shore up our defenses against the state, or to squish them under their thumbs.

And yes, you need to follow this debate. That's because the elimination of physical cash isn't some hypothetical possibility for the distant future; it's a goal actively sought by many international movers and shakers, and one that's nearing fruition in several countries.

Arguing that cash "facilitates crime" and "is also deeply implicated in tax evasion" Harvard University's Kenneth S. Rogoff, former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, favors"moving to a society where cash is used less frequently and mainly for small transactions."

Rogoff likes the power that eliminating bills larger than $10 would give the government over the economy, including manipulating people's spending and saving habits. "Take cash away, however, or make the cost of hoarding high enough, and central banks would be free to drive rates as deep into negative territory as they needed in a severe recession."

Such negative interest rates, he and other economists believe, could be used to spur people to spend their money rather than keeping it in the bank.

Peter Bofinger of the German Council of Economic Experts agrees. "Stand up for the abolition of cash, since coins and bills are obsolete and only reduce the influence of central banks," he proposed last year.

Citigroup chief economist Willem Buiter also goes along with the belief that abolishing cash is a necessary step for giving governments the economic power they need to monitor and control economic activity.

There's a price for abolishing cash, as you'd expect. In a world without the stuff, "You'd have no choice but to conform to the intermediaries' automated bureaucracy, giving them a lot of power, and a lot of data about the microtexture of your economic life," Brett Scott warns at OpenDemocracyUK.

"To eliminate cash is to say to hell with financial privacy," cautions Conor Friedersdorf at The Atlantic. "An end to cash would mean that every financial transaction is exposed to a third party."

Cash is "printed freedom," German economist Lars Feld pithily offered as a direct rebuttal to his Council of Economic Experts colleague. People "should be entitled to an escape from all-out state control," Deutsche Welle clarified with regard to Feld's views.

There's really no argument here. Cash abolitionists fully understand that cash shields individuals from the state—and they hate that protection.

"But where does one draw the line between this individual right and the government's need to tax and regulate and to enforce the law?" objects Rogoff, whose book, The Curse of Cash, came out last

week. He knows where he would draw it—to encompass a lot more enforcement and much less privacy.

Buiter also acknowledges charges that abolishing cash would be "shockingly illiberal"—and dismisses them. "[T]he net benefit to society from giving up the anonymity of currency holdings is likely to be positive (including for tax compliance)."

"I confess to not being surprised," sniffed former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, "that resistance [to eliminating high-denomination euro notes] is coming out of Luxembourg, with its long and unsavory tradition of giving comfort to tax evaders, money launderers, and other proponents of bank secrecy."

Any resistance should be suppressed, Rogoff emphasizes, as he notes that people may try turning to substitutes, such as foreign currencies, cryptocurrencies, and gold coins.

"Won't the private sector continually find new ways to make anonymous transfers that sidestep government restrictions? Certainly. But as long as the government keeps playing Whac-A-Mole and prevents these alternative vehicles from being easily used at retail stores or banks, they won't be able fill the role that cash plays today."

Increased scrutiny and control over people's lives are very much desirable outcomes in the eyes of the economic policy makers who favor eliminating cash.

But even as the debate over money and autonomy takes place, the experiment in transitioning to easily tracked electronic transactions moves forward.

"Eighty per cent of all transactions in Sweden are made by cards," the country's official website boasts. "Digital payments via card or apps are so widely accepted that many Swedes no longer carry cash… Cash is already scarce, and card will become even more king."

Cash is declining so rapidly in Sweden that the central bank actually put on the brakes. Officials are worried that with half of bank branches refusing paper money, older Swedes are being left behind.

Denmark's government is vigorously prodding the transition from cash to electronic payments. In 2014, Danmarks Nationalbank announced it, "has decided to initiate a process to discontinue internal printing of banknotes and minting of coins during 2016." Danish officials openly say they want to eliminate cash payments by 2030.

Norway's largest bank has the same goal, with the hope of eliminating "under-the-table money and laundering."

While Europe as a whole isn't quite ready to dump folding money, the European Central Bank is joining the U.S. and other countries in eliminating higher denominations.

Perhaps it's not surprising that Scandinavians are leading the way toward a future devoid of financial privacy. The region's inhabitants are stereotyped as submissive to governmental whims—to the point of "benign totalitarianism," as a British writer described Swedish political norms. That's a bit unfair, given free market reforms in Denmark and Sweden that make the private sectors in those countries rather robust. But Scandinavians do seem to have more faith in their rulers, and less experience with truly hideous regimes, then some of their neighbors.

Neighbors like Germany, for instance, where people know exactly what can happen when the state can monitor everything you do. "For historical reasons," Deutsche Welle noted delicately about the

country's lack of enthusiasm for disposing of anonymous payments, "Germans place a high value on privacy and data security." In fact Germans are more likely than Americans to keep and use cash for transactions.

"Abolishing cash would hurt consumer sovereignty–the free choice of citizens about their payment instruments," German central banker Carl-Ludwig Thiele proclaimed as he joined economist Lars Feld in rebutting the call to abolish paper money.

On that point, proponents and opponents of cash agree. It's the value of that free choice about which they differ.

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  1. “Won’t the private sector continually find new ways to make anonymous transfers that sidestep government restrictions? Certainly. But as long as the government keeps playing Whac-A-Mole and prevents these alternative vehicles from being easily used at retail stores or banks, they won’t be able fill the role that cash plays today.”

    Or, you know, more and more of the economy will move underground, like we’ve already seen in Italy and Greece. Even the former communist bloc countries that enforced economic and banking regulations by putting bullets in people’s heads had thriving black markets. It’s going to be at least another generation before we finally round the corner of authority worship far enough that we match the sophistication of the Scandinavian social democrats.

    1. Largest black markets in the world:

      http://www.countrydetail.com/t…..ets-world/

        1. I can’t find a link to an article I read years ago breaking it down by percentage of GDP.

          In any event, Norway seems to have quite the informal economy:

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Informal_sector

          1. Okay, last one I promise. This looks interesting; comes with formulas and everything!

            http://www.gfintegrity.org/sto….._world.pdf

    2. Europe is way more cash centered than the US. I wonder how much has to do with the fact that pretty much everyone hides as much of their income from tax collectors as possible.

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  2. How would bitcoins fit into this analysis? At this point, keeping your savings in bitcoin would be pretty dumb, but its not like your savings are actually safe in USD either. I would be the least surprised to see us just innovate our way around the issue and figure out some way to store value that’s beyond govt fuckery, but in a world that’s this online burying a box of whatever isnt terribly practical. Just guessing from past experience, it will probably be something more surprising than I can imagine

    1. “Savings” is just another word for “where you hide your excess resources.” I’m looking at land. Nice, arable land some distance from any major city.

      1. Nice arable land is vulnerable to the predations of property, wealth, and ‘land value’ taxes. You can’t hide land inside your freezer.

        http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITI…..index.html

        1. My other investments are in precious metals. Brass and lead.

          1. You say you want my gold? Well, you can have my lead!

            (And I just realized I paraphrased Chisum.)

            Neemo: So if you want these horses, I sell them to you. Did you bring some gold with you?
            John Simpson Chisum: No.
            Neemo: Silver?
            John Simpson Chisum: Just lead!

            1. Neemo: But, Senor, there must be some mistake!
              Chisum: You made it!

      2. You mean a piece of paper that says that that land belongs to you.

        Pieces of paper are great investments when things are going well, but…

    2. As mentioned in the article, alternative currencies would have to be fought wherever they crop up. I suppose it would give all the drug cops that will (hopefully) be put out of work in the next 10-20 years a fresh new crusade to embark upon.

    3. Investing in lead might be better than investing in gold. What happens when Apple and Google and Microsoft figure that out? The government’s bitching about the trillions of dollars American corporations have stashed offshore – what happens when they ask themselves if they have trillions of dollars why do they need government? To hell with going hat in hand to a country like Ireland begging for shelter, they can buy their own country. Libertopia may be a dream. but Pepsi Presents Libertopia, Inc. maybe not so much.

      1. “Starbucks” ain’t just a coffee shop.

      2. +1 Franchise-Oriented Quasi-National Entity

      3. I’m curious in what way you imagine “Pepsi Presents Libertopia” wouldn’t just be a communist country with a corporation instead of a dictator.

  3. cash “facilitates crime” and “is also deeply implicated in tax evasion”

    Wet streets cause rain.

    1. yes and Banks never facilitate cartels with their laundry. I don’t think that will stop

  4. We’ve been moving towards a ‘cashless’ economy for over a decade now. That ship is already sailing and won’t stop.

    It’s shame. How do you think immigrants prospered? They saved (now a bad thing. In fact, anyway who uses the word hoarded is either a liar or plain evil) and invested. Cash is what gives you that extra edge to get things done.

    Then the retarded left wonders why…well…wonder why about a lot of things they had a hand in destroying.

    Jerk offs like Rogoff and Summers are enemies of the people. Also, what will be the unintended consequences of their actions? They seem to want to do this because of ‘crime’ but is it that bad so as to destroy freedoms?

    1. Is crime so bad that they want to destroy our freedoms?

      That assumes the freedom-destroying is an unintended consequence. I think it’s very much intended. It’s a feature not a bug.

    2. We’ve been moving towards a ‘cashless’ economy for over a decade now. That ship is already sailing and won’t stop.

      There’s a big difference between an economy where cash transactions are unusual due to the free choices of market participants, and an economy where cash transactions are banned by government coercion.

      1. We’ve been moving towards a ‘cashless’ economy for over a decade now. That ship is already sailing and won’t stop.

        I put stuff on the credit card where I don’t care who knows about it. Things where I want privacy is cash only.

    3. You know specifically that it’s a super terrible idea when they cite negative interest rates as a good reason to put such a system in place.

      Because why bother taxing the populace when you can just remove that cash directly from their account, right?

  5. Governments can eliminate government-issued cash. They can’t eliminate gold or bitcoins.

    -jcr

    1. No they can’t – they can make it very dangerous and life-ruining to deal in them though.

  6. Cash. Rules. Everything. Around. Me.
    C.R.E.A.M.
    Get the money.
    Dollar, Dollar bill, y’all

      1. +1 You Need To Diversify Your Bonds, Nigga.

  7. Having a hard time seeing how it is statists behind this instead of market forces. Debit cards, credit cards, and the convenience of using them when doing physical transactions. Online purchases subsuming physical ones. The ubiquitous ATMs that when you get cash from them only distribute $20s. Right… It’s the statists.

    1. So the government says no more $20s for you. They want to know what you’re doing with all those $20s. Are you perhaps buying food and tipping a server who isn’t declaring it as income? Or maybe you’re doing something more unsavory. Oh, and all that money you had in your account, the government has taken some as an interest payment because they need to encourage you to spend more. Spend it or lose it.
      They appreciate your support.

    2. Having a hard time seeing how it is statists behind this instead of market forces.

      Market forces may make things uncommon and inconvenient, but they don’t ban things.

      And the statists’ argument for banning $100 bills is that they ARE useful, not the opposite.

    3. This.

      It seems to be a cultural/generational thing. I’m a Baby Boomer, and always carry cash on me. But my millenial, hipster colleagues here at Central Computing never have any cash on them. When we go out for lunch, I always give them cash so they can put it on their card (and no, it’s their personal card).

      1. Just because there is a trend doesn’t mean it’s okay for the government to punish people who aren’t trendy.

      2. a friend of mine who does everything cashless just had his bank account put on hold because the people who are supposed to do his direct deposit didn’t and that left his timed payments to the state short so they shut his account down, he’s gone four days where he can’t do purchase anything not food or gas due to a holiday hopefully he can straighten everything out soon. I always keep some cash just for such purposes

    4. The role of the statists is in intentionally making it harder for people to use and keep cash. Of course that’s not the only driving factor. But the fact that some people prefer other means of payment is no justification for the government to fuck with people who prefer cash.

      1. No argument there. Just noting that there’s a cultural component along with the political one. I understand it’s all about feeding the insatiable State.

        1. This cultural component thing is 100% BS.

          I’m under 40, and I don’t typically carry much cash on my person or prefer cash for daily transactions.

          But anyone of any age who’s ever had a a financial emergency, or for that matter participated in any gray (god forbid black) market, will still understand the inherent utility of cash, for certain types of transactions or purposes.

          This has absolutely nothing to with banning cash. Frankly, most young people are too accustomed to buying weed to be OK with banning cash, even as they use their cards for most everything else.

          I detect the cognitive bias resulting from age-based tribalism.

          There is no connection between people using cash less and banning it outright. Unless you imagine that people using word processors is somehow going to be responsible for a movement to ban pen and paper.

          In fact, the assertion of such a connection does nothing but further the end goal of a ban on cash, by normalizing the association of trends with bands on non-trendy behavior.

          Just fucking stop it.

          1. And in case you imagine that people using something less is a prerequisite (or Sine qua non) to bans or ban proposals, let’s not forget alcohol prohibition.

            Again, no connection. Whatsoever.

            100% the product of your age-tribal bias.

    5. Having a hard time seeing how it is statists behind this instead of market forces

      You’ll be able to tell it’s not market forces when you aren’t given a choice: a stroke of a pen and any outstanding cash you have is worthless.

    6. Maybe you are too young to remember, or never watch old movies, but $1000 bills and higher used to be common (or at least as common as the huge value permits). They were withdrawn from circulation as part of the war on some drugs.

      Is that statist enough for you?

      1. Not sure “common” is quite the word. But they were used whenever you needed to move larger amounts of money around, before electronic payments were ubiquitous.
        The war on drugs might have been part of why they decided to remove them from circulation, but I think it was mostly that electronic payment systems made them obsolete.

        1. No, it was explicitly part of the War on (Some) Drugs — they claimed only drug dealers used them.

    7. Maybe you are too young or don’t watch old movies, but $1000 and higher bills used to be as common as the large value allowed. They were withdrawn from circulation as part of the War On (Some) Drugs.

      Is that statist enough for you?

      1. Weird squirrels this time — didn’t post the first one, I swear!

    8. Maybe we want to choose when to do what. Is that so fucking hard for some people to understand?

  8. “[T]he net benefit to society from giving up the anonymity of currency holdings is likely to be positive (including for tax compliance).”

    There are few things I view more positively than the state taking my money.

    1. Its like minimum wage – sure, there are going to be a lot of actual people hurt by its enactment and hurt by every increase, but ‘the net benefit to society . . . is likely to be positive’.

      1. Or Obamacare

  9. Negative interest rates are forcing people to remove their savings from banks and put it in safes. This is working against the desires of the central bankers and I fully expect actions to be taken to stop it by governments.

    After all, if you’re not spending that money, you must not need it.

    1. +1 Morton’s Fork

  10. Governments would have a much harder time eliminating cash if more people used it.

    1. I suspect that more cash is used than anyone in government is prepared to admit, and not just in drug deals. I think, but cannot prove, that there is a huge ‘grey’ market; a large number of transactions that would be completely legal … if they were reported, which they aren’t.Some of them are unreported because people are consciously avoiding taxes, but I think the majority are unreported because reporting is simply too goddamn much trouble.

      And if the State ever DOES manage to do away with this part of the economy, I suspect that the resulting crash will make the bursting of the Real Estate bubble look pretty mild by comparison.

      1. And if the State ever DOES manage to do away with this part of the economy

        Right after they successfully do away with drugs, poverty, terrorism, gravity, and entropy.

      2. I wonder how the US would have paid off the Afghani president if they couldn’t have given him trashbags full of cash.

        http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04……html?_r=0

        1. If there’s one thing that can save cash its going to be our own government’s need to pay for dirty deeds done cost-plus-fee!

        2. Or Iran…

          1. Nah, Iran – we could have given then some Old Navy gift cards.

  11. ????…

    […]
    If cash were abolished, I would support the adoption of two complementary measures. First, instead of targeting a positive inflation rate, central banks could target true price stability by aiming to keep the level of prices constant over time. (To be clear, this would be disastrous unless cash were eliminated first.)

    Second, currency does provide a service beyond being a store of value and a medium of exchange: It’s anonymous and thus ensures the privacy of transactions. In its absence, governments would have to allow the private sector to offer alternatives with the same attractive features.

    We’ve endured a deep recession and a miserable recovery because the government, through its provision of currency, interferes with the proper functioning of financial markets. Why not ensure that doesn’t happen again?
    Want a Free Market? Abolish Cash

    1. We could move to a bureaucrat-hand standard.

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  13. Buiter also acknowledges charges that abolishing cash would be “shockingly illiberal”?and dismisses them. “[T]he net benefit to society from giving up the anonymity of currency holdings is likely to be positive (including for tax compliance).”

    Ah, yes. “The Greater Good.

    FUCK OFF, SLAVERS

    1. Its weird how these sorts of people love them some ‘tax compliance’. With any other service they would try to maximize quality while minimizing cost – but with the one service provider you can’t opt out of they believe with all their hearts that whatever the government says you should pay is what you should pay for taxes.

      1. And if people are taking steps to reduce their taxes, it “costs” the government money.

  14. But if we banned the $100 bill, drug dealers and money launderers would be decimated. They’d have to carry around twice as many bills to make transactions. Instead of one suitcase, they’d need two. No way their business model can adapt to that.

    1. I move that drug dealers should make their new currency “Leftist scalps.” Oh, crap. Preet Bharara is going to be looking me up again, isn’t he?

    2. They’d just move to the Hong Kong $1000. Or something.

  15. What’s the over/under on how long it will be before a cyberattack drains all the money from a bank or brokerage house or mutual fund company?

    1. I’ll take the over. Draining a sizable financial institution of all its liquid assets and getting away with it is nearly impossible without compromising the entire financial system. It would require the complicity of so many parties that it could only really happen in a globally catastrophic scenario, whereupon the stolen amount would be practically worthless anyway.

      It’s not the balances that matter; it’s the records of the transactions and the trustworthiness of the institutions who maintain those records.

      1. a few quick transfers via shell companies and poof it is gone. Maybe not for all accounts, but for a few unlucky souls.

      2. well i suppose as long as more banks are to large to fail from incompetence

      3. What if the goal is destruction, not greed?

  16. “Won’t the private sector continually find new ways to make anonymous transfers that sidestep government restrictions? Certainly. “

    Wait, wut ? So this douche is saying he has a clever plan that won’t work ?

    Some ideas are so stupid that only intellectuals believe them. – Orwell

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  18. get rid of cash and banks will take money form every transaction and will get rid of even more tellers. so yes the banks are all for this as well

  19. Statists gotta state. And what’s more statist than insisting that the government should be able monitor exactly where every penny of yours goes?

    The fundamental error they make is in assuming that the government has a legitimate claim your money in the form of taxes.

    Last I remember, I never signed any contract authorizing anything. And if it was in the fine print somewhere on my SSN application or my selective service registration, it was one of those “Sign or go to jail” coercive circumstances that would invalidate a contract with anyone else.

    1. Well said. Social security is one of the biggest intrusions into the private lives of Americans ever.
      The income tax amendment was completely absurd as well – it was shot down as unconstitutional the first time around and the statists kept at it until they got their way and amended the constitution to get their way.

  20. There was a golden age in American history where competing currencies flourished and even private banks could issue their own money – it was also in this period that America wasn’t deeply in debt and the income tax was nonexistent which also resulted in a much less meddlesome foreign policy. Of course the Civil War and the subsequent progressive/socialist movement(s) fucked everything up in terms of government intervention in the private economy.
    Lincoln introduced the first income tax to fund the war effort. Politicians cannot print gold and silver to fund their adventures and provide bread and circuses for the masses so they can get reelected.

  21. Rogoff’s (I think it was his) (Wall Street Journal) column in support of eliminating cash a week or so ago got to me again reading and thinking about the precedent set by FDR with gold in 1933. What astounds me every time this comes up is how many people are so willing to go along, and how few say “NO!”. Even more troubling with the gold seizure was the explicit statement that this was being done so that the Fed could devalue the dollar and pay off obligations with cheaper money.

    Bytes and bits in a bank are nice, but cash is liberty, and gold and silver are even better extra-governmental freedom. I keep hoping that people will wise up, but drinking heavily seems to be a more productive use of my time.

  22. If we eliminate cash or large bills, how will people financial institutions refuse to do business with make large purchases?

    For example, say someone speaks out against a foreign government and that foreign government retaliates by accusing that person of being a terrorist. (They might reason, “We oppose terrorism. They oppose us. Therefore they are helping terrorists.) Now, they’re on a secret list that results in no financial institution willing to do business with them.

    So how do they live a normal life without cash?

    And yes, this happens.

    1. That’s my concern as well. The unbanked. Most don’t have accounts because they can’t get them or would be charged more fees then they like, but some are, as you describe, forced into it.

      The privacy stuff? Eh, sorry, that ship sailed. I blame my parents and their parents.

      But if you abolish cash, you have to find a way to accomodate the people who are currently exclusively relying on it, lest you define them into being criminals. Whether that’s letting the post office be a bank, or requiring banks to have a “bare minimum account” is up in the air, but if you don’t have a plan to make sure bank accounts are available to all people no matter what they’ve done or who they are, then you have to accept such people being de facto criminals as collateral damage.

      1. Defining people into being criminals is nothing new. For most of our history, being other than monogamously heterosexual was a criminal office. Just about every commenter here classifies immigrants who arrive other than through official channels and with the proper papers as “illegals”. Heck, even growing your own weed for your own user or selling raw milk to your neighbor has been defined as being criminal. At the end of the day, whether it’s legal or not is always pretty much just a matter of definition.

        Why should using cash be any different?

        1. Defining people into being criminals is nothing new.

          Yep. See “prohibition” and “The War on Drugs.”

      2. Although I hate the idea of adding one more regulation to the steaming pile, I’ve advocated a regulation prohibiting financial institutions from refusing to accept a new customer or closing an existing customer’s accounts without providing a justification to the customer and giving them an opportunity to rebut it. I argue that this would actually benefit financial institutions.

        One place I’ve made those argument sis here:
        goo.gl/DlSrQJ

      3. We are way into the end game with that. Even this article misses the only form of money that has proven that it can be ‘free’ of its creators control once produced. Silver coins. Not gold coins – not cryptocrap – not notes/bills.

        The ‘unbanked’ are ‘poor’ only because they are forced to exchange something that is truly irreplaceable (their time) for something that can be devalued/debased/stolen/leveraged/hypothecated even after it is handed over to them in that exchange. IOW – they are forced to exchange their only true property for bogus property that can never be truly theirs. Once that is the way the market exchange system works, then it is just a matter of time before it can be tilted to favor the insiders who control it.

        Personally I do favor a postal bank. But most libertarians are too far up the asses of cronyist banking money and too hostile to even nightwatchmen govt to ever see that as an improvement over the status quo.

      4. Disposable prepaid debit cards. Your pin could be your SS# or something, so they know it was you spending the money. No cash, no account, you have currency in your pocket in electronic form traceable to you.

        Do a temp job? get your salary (minus taxes) loaded on the card.

    2. I think they regard that as a feature, not a bug. In one fell swoop, they make slaves of us all. Our entire lives can be destroyed with a few clicks on a keyboard.

      It’s true of most of us already who don’t have major forms of income that can be maintained outside of the financial system.

      Of course, we’d be welcome to go through the very time-consuming bureaucratic appeals process to get some remnant of our property (because you’ll soon lose everything if you can’t pay the taxes and bills) and money restored. I estimate a typical processing time for such cases at 5-10 years, if you’re diligent and have a good lawyer (who, of course, you can’t pay).

  23. RE: Cash Means Freedom, Which Is Why So Many Officials Hate It

    Cash must be destroyed if we are to serve our obvious betters. Cash is difficult to trace, and worse than that, it give the owners the privacy they so desperately want. As we all know, all the little people are engaging in illegal activities that hurt The State by not paying at least a fair 100% tax on what they earn. But having debit cards, The State will be able to monitor these nefarious deeds and tax the ill gotten gains and redistribute the money to our ruling elitist filth so they and their cronies can enjoy the good life at our expense. That’s only fair. If we are to be a true socialist slave state, then the untermenschen of this country must be treated as slaves and not receive any compensation for their work. Should the two-legged vermin be kind enough to throw us little people some crumbs, then the money should be on a debit card so our slavers can see what we are doing with the little money we spend. This way the antiquated and archaic concept of liberty, privacy and freedom will finally be regulated to the waste bin of history as Saint Karl Marx, may his name be blessed, predicted.

  24. I wonder if these people advocating a cashless society would change their tune if they had their bank acounts hacked a few times.

    1. Nope. They’d demand government-sponsored account insurance so it would be you and me paying the cost of their poor decisions.

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  26. You know the classic trope of a time traveler going back to kill Hitler before he can Hitler it up? They’d need squads to take out all the financial Hitlers of today.

    Unfortunately, now as then, nobody will stand up before all the mayhem.

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  28. “Citigroup chief economist Willem Buiter also goes along with the belief that abolishing cash is a necessary step for giving governments the economic power they need to monitor and control economic activity.”

    Citigroup chief economist Willem Buiter also goes along with the belief that abolishing cash is a necessary step for giving governments the economic power they need to monitor and control economic activity you.

    FIFY

  29. Citigroup chief economist Willem Buiter also goes along with the belief that abolishing cash is a necessary step for giving governments the economic power they need to monitor and control economic activity.

    Ah, we see the same constellation as in fascist Germany: big corporations get in bed with the government and then support government control of the economy. What a fucking embarrassment for a Dutch economist to advocate for that.

  30. Rogoff likes the power that eliminating bills larger than $10 would give the government over the economy, including manipulating people’s spending and saving habits. “Take cash away, however, or make the cost of hoarding high enough, and central banks would be free to drive rates as deep into negative territory as they needed in a severe recession.”

    Rogoff evidently knows little about the economy. Americans aren’t “hoarding cash”; that would be foolish. People invest their money in the stock market, mostly in order to be able to retire at some point later. Restricting the amount of cash circulating isn’t going to reduce stock market investments. And the more the government interferes with stock market investments, the worse the economy gets and the harder it gets for people to retire.

  31. Mr. Tuccille – I very much appreciated your arguments regarding the connection between cash and our freedom. Have you considered the implications of combining a cashless society with programs such as “operation chokepoint”, which pressured banks to deny services to businesses deemed questionable by the US federal government? Entire sectors of the economy, and even rights, could be eliminated by government without passing any new laws.

    As one example, gun dealers reportedly have been targeted for denial of banking services by federal regulators through operation chokepoint. With the lack of access to cash and banking services, gun dealers would be forced out of business and guns would disappear as a legally purchasable good. The second amendment would become a largely irrelevant section of the bill of rights.

    1. As one example, gun dealers reportedly have been targeted for denial of banking services by federal regulators through operation chokepoint. With the lack of access to cash and banking services, gun dealers would be forced out of business and guns would disappear as a legally purchasable good. The second amendment would become a largely irrelevant section of the bill of rights.

      It might accelerate the development of 3D printed guns. It might also encourage a barter economy.

  32. The tyranny will only advance, unless a revolution is waged now!
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