Economics & Finance

The Curse of Cash: How Large-Denomination Bills Aid Crime and Tax Evasion and Constrain Monetary Policy

    Afterword by
  • Kenneth S. Rogoff

“A brilliant and lucid new book” (John Lanchester, New York Times Magazine) about why paper money and digital currencies lie at the heart of many of the world’s most difficult problems—and their solutions


Jun 27, 2017
5 x 8 in.
30 line illus.
Economics & Finance
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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 ( 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