The Wall Street Journal | By: Joseph C. Sternberg | March 15, 2018:
Paper money becomes more popular as monetary policy becomes less so. That’s good for democracy.
The criticism of cash comes in two parts. The disingenuous half is the claim that cash is an accessory to crime. The European Central Bank this year will stop issuing €500 notes, worth a little more than $600, after policy makers convinced themselves that the bills, supposedly nicknamed “bin Ladens,” are used primarily by criminals.
Similar calls periodically arise to kill America’s $100 bill, Britain’s £50 (about $70) and Switzerland’s 1,000-franc (a little over $1,000).
Maybe. But a 2015 Europol report highlighted the role of cash in money-laundering networks, before admitting that cash appears at only a few stages in the process and criminals are mainly anxious about having to deal with it.
So it’s a shame European politicians have invested so much energy opposing attempts to monitor transactions within the official financial system. The George W. Bush-era surveillance of flows via the Swift banking network generated significant controversy on—wait for it—privacy grounds.
In the end, this argument isn’t about terrorism or drug mafias anyway…
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