The stereotype that labels academics as little more than theorists cloistered in their ivory towers was on full display this last week when a Harvard economics Professor and P.H.D. suggested that it was time to ban all physical cash because it naturally leads people to evade taxes, incite human trafficking, and is the fundamental cause of many criminal activities.
Ironically as well, this faulty line of thinking has been the catalyst behind the vilification of gold for so many decades, and its label as little more than a 'pet rock'.
Six months since Larry Summers first suggested "it's time to kill the $100 bill," and three months after The ECB actually killed the €500 Note, another Harvard scholar is reinvigorating the war on cash. Amid claims that paper money fuels corruption, terrorism, tax evasion, and illegal immigration, Ken Rogoff (ironically of "It's Different This Time" infamy) says the US should get rid of the $100 bill(and $50s and $20s) proposing, in his words, "a 'less-cash' society, not a cashless one, at least for the foreseeable future."
According to the esteemed ivory tower academic, paper currency lies at the heart of some of today’s most intractable public-finance and monetary problems. As Rogoff explains in The Wall Street Journal, getting rid of most of it - that is, moving to a society where cash is used less frequently and mainly for small transactions - could be a big help.
Rogoff's begins by stating factoids as facts...
There is little debate among law-enforcement agencies that paper currency, especially large notes such as the U.S. $100 bill, facilitates crime: racketeering, extortion, money laundering, drug and human trafficking, the corruption of public officials, not to mention terrorism. There are substitutes for cash—cryptocurrencies, uncut diamonds, gold coins, prepaid cards—but for many kinds of criminal transactions, cash is still king. It delivers absolute anonymity, portability, liquidity and near-universal acceptance. It is no accident that whenever there is a big-time drug bust, the authorities typically find wads of cash.
Cash is also deeply implicated in tax evasion, which costs the federal government some $500 billion a year in revenue. According to the Internal Revenue Service, a lot of the action is concentrated in small cash-intensive businesses, where it is difficult to verify sales and the self-reporting of income. By contrast, businesses that take payments mostly by check, bank card or electronic transfer know that it is much easier for tax authorities to catch them dissembling. Though the data are much thinner for state and local governments, they too surely lose big-time from tax evasion, perhaps as much as $200 billion a year.
Cash also lies at the core of the illegal immigration problem in the U.S. If American employers couldn’t so easily pay illegal workers off the books in cash, the lure of jobs would abate, and the flow of illegal immigrants would shrink drastically. Needless to say, phasing out most cash would be a far more humane and sensible way of discouraging illegal immigration than constructing a giant wall. - Zerohedge
The ability to hold both cash and gold in your hands is as great a freedom as the right to own a gun. And whenever you see a public official call for the banning of either, then the real reasons behind this are about control and dominion, or in the case of the Federal Reserve, to protect their own to the detriment of people like you and I who simply want to live under the auspices of real and sound money, and individual responsibility.