SMP: Against the War on Cash

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Los últimos tiempos han mostrado un movimientos en contra del uso de efecto por parte de funcionarios públicos y de diversos economistas y banqueros centrales. Si bien hay varios argumentos, uno de ellos reside en que al eliminar las transacciones ne efectivo y llevar a una economía 100% bancarizada se combate tanto la evasión impositiva como mercados ilegales (drogas, armas, etc.) que se manejan por fuera del circuito bancario.

Estos y otros beneficios no son discutidos, pero parece ser que se obvian ciertos costos, en especial el costo institucional de invertir la carga de la prueba donde se toma la postura de que quien realizar una transacción en efectivo es culpable de algún delito hasta que demuestre lo contrario. A continuación mi comentario para Sound Money Project.

In recent years, economists and central bankers have been advocating moving away from cash transactions towards an economy relying fully on financial transactions. At prima facie, this seems to be a good idea. Using checks and financial transfers can be more secure; the fact that every transaction is recorded makes illegal transactions (drug deals, etc.) harder. Additionally, it makes tax evasion harder, which is a key selling point for government officials. Will Luther (here, here, and here) and Larry White (here) have already covered much of the ground.

No one denies that financial transactions come with these benefits. However, individuals still willingly choose to perform legal transactions in cash. Therefore, it follows benefits of using cash or costs of banks cash are being overlooked. Indeed, using cash can often be pragmatic. For instance, a low-income individual may prefer to withdrawal the amount of money he can use to buy, say, a beer after work every month. This person might find that it’s easier to control and monitor his spending this way than by checking his bank account to keep track of his transactions each month. His reasoning might also be that he prefers handling cash because he worries about having his credit card number stolen for second (or third) time.

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