This is starting to become very concerning.
The momentum to “ban cash”, and in particular high denomination notes like the 500 euro and $100 bills, is seriously picking up steam.
On Monday the European Central Bank President emphatically disclosed that he is strongly considering phasing out the 500 euro note.
Yesterday, former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers published an op-ed in the Washington Post about getting rid of the $100 bill.
Prominent economists and banks have joined the refrain and called for an end to cash in recent months.
The reasoning is almost always the same: cash is something that only criminals, terrorists, and tax cheats use.
In his op-ed, Summers refers to a new Harvard research paper entitled: “Making it Harder for the Bad Guys: The Case for Eliminating High Denomination Notes”.
That title pretty much sums up the conventional thinking. And the paper goes on to propose abolishing, among others, 500 euro and $100 bills.
The authors claim that “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’.”
Personally I find this comical.
I can just imagine a bunch of bureaucrats and policy wonks sitting in a room pretending to know anything about criminal activity.
It’s total nonsense. As long as there has been human civilization there has been crime. Crime pre-dates cash. And it will exist long after they attempt to ban it.
Perhaps even more hilarious is that many of these bankrupt governments have become so desperate for economic growth that they now count illegal drug activity and prostitution in their GDP calculations, both of which are typically transacted in cash.
So, ironically, by banning cash these governments will end up reducing their own GDP figures.
What’s really behind this? Why is there such a big movement to ban something that is used for felonious purposes by just a fraction of a percent of the population?
Cash, it turns out, is the Achilles’ Heel of the financial system.
Central banks around the world have kept interest rates at near-zero levels for nearly eight years now.
And despite having created massive bubbles and enabled extraordinary amounts of debt, their policies aren’t working.
Especially in Europe, the hope of stoking economic growth (and even the sickening goal of inflation) has failed.
So naturally, since what they’ve been trying hasn’t worked, their response is to continue trying the same thing… and more of it.
Interest rates across the European continent are now negative.
Japanese interest rates are now negative.
And even in the United States, the Federal Reserve has acknowledged that negative interest rates are being considered.