In The Curse of Cash, acclaimed economist and bestselling author Kenneth Rogoff explores the past, present, and future of currency, showing why, contrary to conventional economic wisdom, the regulation of paper bills—and now digital currencies—lies at the heart some of the world’s most difficult problems, but also their potential solutions. When it comes to currency, history shows that the private sector often innovates but eventually the government regulates and appropriates. Using examples ranging from the history of standardized coinage to the development of paper money, Rogoff explains why the cryptocurrency boom will inevitably end with dominant digital currencies created and controlled by governments, regardless of what Bitcoin libertarians want. Advanced countries still urgently need to stem the global flood of large paper bills—the vast majority of which serve no legitimate purpose and only enable tax evasion and other crimes—but cryptocurrencies are like $100 bills on steroids.
The Curse of Cash is filled with revealing insights about many of the most pressing issues facing monetary policymakers, from quantitative easing to alternative inflation targeting regimes. It also explains in detail why, if low interest rates persist, the best way to reinvigorate monetary policy is to implement fully effective and unconstrained negative interest rates.
Provocative, engaging, and backed by compelling original arguments and evidence, The Curse of Cash has sparked widespread debate and its ideas have moved to the center of financial and policy discussions.
Awards and Recognition
- Winner of the 2017 PROSE Award in Economics, Association of American Publishers
- One of Financial Times (FT.com) Best Economics Books of 2016
- One of Bloomberg’s Best Books of 2016
- Selected for Canada’s Financial Post Best Personal Finance and Economics Books of 2016
- Longlisted for the Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year 2016
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). He appears frequently in the national media and writes a monthly newspaper column that is syndicated in more than fifty countries. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
"A fascinating and important book. Kenneth Rogoff sets out a compelling and wide-ranging argument for weaning our economies off paper money."—Ben S. Bernanke, former chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve
"Highly engaging, thought-provoking, and persuasive, The Curse of Cash makes the case that time is running out for paper money. As Kenneth Rogoff has done before, this book sets the standard on a problem that will only become more important; it is also sure to influence discussions about the ability of central banks to deliver growth and financial stability. This is a must-read."—Mohamed El-Erian, author of The Only Game in Town: Central Banks, Instability, and Avoiding the Next Collapse
"Should we become a largely cashless society? Kenneth Rogoff makes a strong case that we should in this wide-ranging book, which touches on history, crime, technology, and monetary policy. Clearly and persuasively argued, this is a must-read."—Linda Yueh, author of China's Growth: The Making of an Economic Superpower
"In this fascinating and important book, Kenneth Rogoff argues forcefully that advanced economies should phase out cash because it facilitates crime and constrains policy. With a wealth of data and clear explanations, the book demystifies central banking and negative interest rates, thus elevating the discussion of both."—Anat R. Admati, coauthor of The Bankers' New Clothes: What's Wrong with Banking and What to Do about It
"Most people like cash. Not Kenneth Rogoff—for reasons ranging from its benefits to organized crime to the way it impedes antirecessionary monetary policy. He's written a tour de force explaining why. Reading it will make you both smile and think."—Alan S. Blinder, author of After the Music Stopped: The Financial Crisis, the Response, and the Work Ahead
"Ken Rogoff led the way in stressing the now widely accepted public policy benefits of eliminating large-denomination currency. His new book provides cogent arguments for an even bolder step: eliminating cash altogether. The proposal could not be more timely, and his arguments deserve consideration by policymakers and the general public alike."—Michael Woodford, Columbia University
"The Curse of Cash is brilliant and insightful. In addition to giving a vivid picture of the cash-crime nexus, The Curse of Cash is the book everyone should read about negative interest rates."—Miles Kimball, University of Michigan
"Original and fascinating, The Curse of Cash makes a totally convincing argument that advanced economies have many good reasons for phasing out paper currency as soon as possible. More clearly and with more evidence than anyone before, Kenneth Rogoff makes the case that cash feeds illegal behavior—and that illegal behavior probably now accounts for the majority of cash in circulation. Raising challenging questions, this book will be of wide interest."—John Kay, author of Other People's Money: The Real Business of Finance