Bloomberg: Time for a Cease-Fire in the War on Cash

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Bloomberg: Time for a Cease-Fire in the War on Cash

September 1, 2015

Bloomberg today reports on the War on Cash, which we've covered rather extensively at The author, Mark gilbert, concludes by calling for ” a cease-fire in the cash war.” Gilbert writes:

Last summer, London buses stopped accepting money. To pay your fare, you now have to wave either a prepaid Transport for London Oyster card or a contactless payment bank card at a receiver. For some, not having to dig out a handful of coins is a welcome relief.

For others, though, the disappearance of cash represents a dangerous threat to our liberty. A Google search for “war on cash” produces 109 million results ranging in negativity from skeptical to outraged. But in Britain, at least, physical currency is losing the so-called war…

The opponents of the move to digital money see things differently. Here, for example, is a post on the Mises Institute website:

The ostensible reason given by our rulers for suppressing cash is to keep society safe from terrorists, tax evaders, money launderers, drug cartels and sundry other villains, real or imagined. But the actual aim of the recent flood of laws rendering cash transactions less convenient or limiting or even prohibiting them is to force the public at large to make payments through the financial system in order to prop up the unstable fractional-reserve banks and, more importantly, to expand the ability of governments to spy on and keep track of their citizens’ most private financial dealings.


…It's good that we're embracing new technology that lets us pay a bar bill or buy a bag of groceries with a wave of a card. But it's time to call a cease-fire in the cash war. Buiter's fantasy to the contrary, there's no good reason physical currency shouldn't continue alongside the digital variety. Even if it's never needed in our more efficient economic future, it can serve as a reminder of a more quaint economic past.

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