Sunday, 26 February 2017
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    Cash and Crime

    February 21, 2017
    This is the third of several posts on Ken Rogoff’s The Curse of Cash. As summarized in an earlier post, Rogoff argues that banning physical cash has two major benefits: reducing crime and enabling effective monetary policy at the zero lower bound. In this post, I will address the first of these supposed benefits by […]

    Donald Trump’s Fed

    February 17, 2017
    This piece originally appeared in The New York Sun It’s hard to think of an opportunity quite like that shaping up for President Trump in respect of the Federal Reserve. The announcement Friday by Daniel Tarullo of his intent to resign from the central bank’s board means that Mr. Trump will have three immediate openings […]

    How Much Cash is Used by Criminals and Tax Cheats?

    February 7, 2017
    This is the second of several posts on Ken Rogoff’s The Curse of Cash. In this post, I consider Rogoff’s estimate for the extent to which cash is used by criminals and tax cheats. If you have not yet read the book, I offer a brief summary in a previous post and I will consider […]

    What interest rates really are and what happens when governments change them

    February 6, 2017
    This piece originally appeared in Learn Liberty By Nicolás Cachanosky  When you pay interest, what are you paying for? Interest rates are one of the most confused subjects in economics. What are they, really? And what is their role in economic crises like the housing bubble and crash of the 2000s? The first thing to […]

    The Curse of Cash

    February 1, 2017
    As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have been reading Ken Rogoff’s new book, The Curse of Cash. Rogoff is a very smart guy who has been thinking about this proposal for roughly two decades. It deserves serious consideration and I intend to give it such. I have organized my comments as follows. In […]

    Bitcoin and the Bailout

    January 25, 2017
    A few years ago, Cyprus announced it would accept a €10 billion bailout package on condition of imposing a one-time levy on bank deposits. The initial agreement, which included a 6.75 percent levy on deposit balances less than 100,000 euros and a 9.9 percent levy on deposit balances in excess of 100,000 euros, was largely […]

    Rogoff on Seigniorage

    January 11, 2017
    In his book, The Curse of Cash, Harvard economist Ken Rogoff offers an excellent discussion of the modern seigniorage process: Instead of having the government print money and buy things directly, modern-day seigniorage is a three stage process. In stage one, the government spends beyond its means (its tax revenues) and issues interest-bearing debt to […]

    “Strong” and “Weak” Currencies

    January 10, 2017
    Is a “strong dollar” good or bad?  If the currency of another country is pegged to the US dollar, and the US dollar is “strong,” is that good or bad for the other country? A recent Wall Street Journal article was titled “Heat is on Currencies with Pegs to Dollar” and the subtitle was “The […]