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Preface ix 1 Introduction and Overview 1 PART I: The Dark Side of Paper Currency: Tax and Regulatory Evasion, Crime, and Security Issues 2 The Early Development of Coins and Paper Currency 15 3 Size and Composition of Global Currency Supplies, and the Share Held Abroad 31 4 Holdings of Currency in the Domestic, Legal, Tax-Paying Economy 48 5 Currency Demand in the Underground Economy 58 6 Seigniorage 80 7 A Plan for Phasing Out Most Paper Currency 92 PART II: Negative Interest Rates 8 The Cost of the Zero Bound Constraint 119 9 Higher Inflation Targets, Nominal GDP, Escape Clauses, and Fiscal Policy 147 10 Other Paths to Negative Interest Rates 158 11 Other Possible Downsides to Negative Nominal Policy Rates 175 12 Negative Interest Rates as a Violation of Trust and a Step Away from Rule-Based Systems 182 PART III: International Dimensions and Digital Currencies 13 International Dimensions to Phasing Out Paper Currency 199 14 Digital Currencies and Gold 208 Afterword to the Paperback Edition 217 Final Thoughts 237 Acknowledgments 241 Appendix 245 Notes 253 References 277 Index 293
Kenneth S. Rogoff, the Thomas D. Cabot Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University and former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, is the coauthor of the New York Times bestseller This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly (Princeton).
Winner of the 2017 PROSE Award in Economics, Association of American Publishers Selected for Canada's Financial Post Best Personal Finance and Economics Books of 2016 One of Bloomberg's Best Books of 2016 One of Financial Times (FT.com) Best Economics Books of 2016 Longlisted for the Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year 2016 "In a brilliant and lucid new book, The Curse of Cash, the Harvard economist Kenneth Rogoff gives a fascinating and thorough account of the argument against cash."--John Lanchester, New York Times Magazine "An excellent book on the history and the origins of cash, which also goes into much depth on the issue of cash constraining monetary policy."--Jon Hartley, Forbes.com "The great accomplishment of his book is that his arguments are convincing... It's clear and coherent, and even if you disagree with him in the end, chances are you'll think a little bit differently about something of which most of us give no thought whatsoever."--Bethany McLean, Washington Post "Convincing... It's clear and coherent, and even if you disagree with Rogoff in the end, chances are you'll think a little bit differently about something to which most of us give no thought whatsoever."--Bethany McLean, Washington Post "[A] fascinating economic manifesto... [An] absorbing exploration of the uses, and misuses, of currency, and its intractability in controlling modern economies."--Publishers Weekly "Economist Rogoff, the former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, offers a detailed case for eliminating paper money... For both the elimination of paper money and the employment of negative interest rates to combat deflationary recessions, Rogoff painstakingly presents both the advantages and the drawbacks... Provocative."--Library Journal "In a witty new book, The Curse of Cash, economist Kenneth Rogoff argues the human race would be better off without paper money. He's onto something."--Hiawatha Bray, Boston Globe "[The Curse of Cash] makes the case for encouraging the U.S. government to drastically scale back on $100 bills in circulation. The book ... offers a thought-provoking theory for phasing out paper money, not eliminating it."--Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press "Meticulously written, [The Curse of Cash] covers everything needed for such a monetary reform. But the book is not excessively polemical. Rogoff details almost all the arguments against tinkering with paper currency, then labors to refute or defuse them."--Peter Garber, Finance & Development "Rogoff is always worth listening to... Where Rogoff is on very solid ground is when he says the process of weaning us further off cash should begin with the abolition of high-denomination notes."--David Smith, Sunday Times "Rogoff is always worth listening to... [He] is on very solid ground ... when he says the process of weaning us further off cash should begin with the abolition of high-denomination notes."--David Smith, Sunday Times "Rogoff makes a compelling case for the crime-fighting power of his idea."--David Nicklaus, St. Louis Post Dispatch "[Rogoff] understands that getting rid of cash ... is not exactly an easy sell. So Rogoff builds the case against cash, loading up on all the things wrong with paper money... Rogoff's case against cash is so cogently argued that it's hard to believe that we haven't already gotten rid of paper bills and coins--or at least larger bills."--Mark Gimein, Strategy+Business.com "An illuminating, provocative and fact-packed work that does make you wonder why on earth we allow so much cash to slosh around. It also exposes some well-worn pub truths as urban myths."--Patrick Hosking, The Times "An illuminating, provocative and fact-packed work that does make you wonder why on earth we allow so much cash to slosh around."--Patrick Hosking, The Times "Ken Rogoff, the Harvard economist, who argues in [his] new book that we should start to phase out cash is, for me, on the money."--Ben Chu, Independent "This book is a rare bird indeed: accessible, absorbing and often deadpan funny."--Brian Bethune, Maclean's "[The Curse of Cash] is a fascinating contribution to the debate about what might be done to help get many wealthy countries out of an economic funk."--Clancy Yeates, Sydney Morning Herald "Lively and clearly written."--Geoffrey Wood, Central Banking Journal "Recommended for readers who seek a greater understanding of negative interest rates and the possibility of eliminating cash."--Choice "You may not have any in your wallet, but $100 bills make up an astonishing 80 percent of the U.S. currency in circulation. In his new book, The Curse of Cash, Kenneth Rogoff ... proposes a plan to phase out most paper currency in the United States and other economically advanced nations, keeping only low-denomination notes to create what he terms a 'less-cash' society."--MIT Technology Review "Like a chess player playing many opponents simultaneously, Rogoff views 'the curse of cash' through several prisms, and offers a compelling rationale of the merits of a 'less cash' economy."--Venky Vembu, The Hindu "The Curse of Cash is a well-argued book and Rogoff is a good economist."--Pierre Lemieux, Regulation