The war on cash is escalating. As Mises’ Jo Salerno reports, the latest combatant to join the fray is JP Morgan Chase, the largest bank in the U.S., which recently enacted a policy restricting the use of cash in selected markets; bans cash payments for credit cards, mortgages, and auto loans; and disallows the storage of “any cash or coins” in safe deposit boxes. In other words, the war has moved on from one of words to actions.
Here are ten quotes that should chill the spine of any individual who cherishes his or her freedom and anonymity:
1. Kenneth Rogoff (from the intro to his paper The Costs and Benefits to Phasing Out Paper Currency):
Despite advances in transactions technologies, paper currency still constitutes a notable percentage of the money supply in most countries… Yet, it has important drawbacks. First, it can help facilitate activity in the underground (tax-evading) and illegal economy. Second, its existence creates the artifact of the zero bound on the nominal interest rate.
In other words, cash (not money) is the source of all evil and must be destroyed because governments can’t trace its every movement, and it represents a limiting factor on central banks’ ability to continue their insane negative-interest-rate experiment.
2. Citigroup’s Chief Economist Willem Buiterresponds to the monetary economist Charles Goodhart’s description of abolishing currency as “shockingly illiberal.”
(T)his cost has to be seen against the cost that the anonymity of currency presents to society. Even though hard evidence is hard to come by, it is very likely that the underground economy and the criminal community are among the heaviest users of currency.
This, I believe, is the hidden intent behind all the excited talk about banning cash: to do away with the personal anonymity it offers.
3. France’s finance minister Michel Sapin adds a dose of scare-mongering, which can do wonders. In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo murders, he put much of the blame for the attacks on the assailants’ ability to buy dangerous things with cash. Shortly thereafter he announced a raft of capital controls that included a €1,000 cap on cash payments, down from €3,000. Such radical counter measures were necessary, he said, to “fight against the use of cash and anonymity in the French economy.”
4. Guillermo de la Dehesa, a Spanish economist, former senior civil servant and current international advisor to Banco Santander and… (cue drum roll) Goldman Sachs, already demonized cash (as opposed to digitalized bank credit) as a source of all crime and evil back in 2007, when he wrote the following in an El Pais article titled “The Great Advantage of a Cashless World”:
Without cash, we would live in a much safer, less violent world with enhanced social cohesion, since the major incentive fuelling all illegal activity [i.e. cash]… would disappear.” …..
Substitute “economic cohesion” for social cohesion and he has a point. But of course the banksters are indispensable in organized crime’s business model through their money laundering operations. It’s not enough that they’ve removed all legal obstacles to their ongoing plunder of the planet, now they wish to remove all economic obstacles as well. They can create as much money as they want, place it directly into their wallets instead of laundering it through the “markets” and dilute the currency to kingdom come, and there will be no alternative for the peons at the bottom who are driven to economic paralysis and starvation, only to be replaced by the next layer of destitutes. Anonymous currency is the last refuge of the powerless. Without it, anyone in any number can be very easily excised from the economy and disposed of as the aristocracy sees fit. Without an alternative economy, however small, nothing can threaten their grip around humanity’s neck.