Friday, September 23, 2016
I will keep here my reflections on the subject in Kenneth Rogoff’s book “The Curse of Cash”. (For full disclosure I have yet not found the time to read it in its entirety)
In my comments I will often also refer to Professor Rogoff’s blog.
Kenneth Rogoff writes: “But for all the advantages of cash, we have to recognize that the current system is badly off kilter. A lot of central banks and finance ministries know it, as do justice departments and tax authorities.”
I fully agree, 100%, but do “We the People know it? There are reasonable and unreasonable doubts out there. And I am not 100% sure among which of those mine could best qualify.
Should not abolishing larger anonymous practical ways of storing wealth have to be subject to something like a referendum? I have no idea?
Yes cash might cause some local tax evasion, but does anyone really believe that big tax evaders keep their fortunes in cash like some seem to say? I just know that the word “cash” is open to all types of confusions (that are sometimes exploited)
Cash in hand, if devalued, looses its value equally for all. Non-cash can be devalued discriminatorily. Do we want our grandchildren to be subject to such great Big Brother power? As a Venezuelan, not me for sure!
Cash, as can oil, can indeed be a curse. But does that mean that we in Venezuela should stop extracting oil? I don’t think so.
And how would the elimination of for instance $100 bills, that might represent about one trillion dollars take place? I have no clue.
Would it not just dramatically increase the value of other assets? Not much, it seems like peanuts when compared to what is done with Quantitative Easing.
Do I want cash to assist drug trafficking? Of course not, don’t be silly.
Rogoff writes: “but most world holdings of dollars are in the underground economy (crime and tax evasion). I am not sure. First of all because I do not agree that all underground economy must be either illegal or bad. Then because I think criminals have many alternatives of how moving cash into something else. Moreover, much cash might make even many hardened criminals nervous.
Thursday, September 22, 2016
I just want to add a factor that I feel has been ignored in all the ongoing debate on how low or even negative interest rates can stimulate economic activity.
During my life as a financial and strategic consultant, I have often seen how the pressure of the interest-costs-clock on projects, have really inspired these to get going, to execute fast. In other words, low interest rates can also inspire laziness.
What a great deal! Take loan at negative interest rates... do nothing... stay in bed... repay... and profit!