I thought Gold Was the Enemy: Citi Economist Says It May be Time to Abolish Cash

From Bloomberg.  At what point do these guys stop and say:  "Wow.  This is crazy".   It should be interesting when we get to that point.


In a new piece, Citi's Willem Buiter looks at this problem, which is known as the effective lower bound (ELB) on nominal interest rates.

Fundamentally, the ELB problem comes down to cash. According to Buiter, the ELB only exists at all due to the existence of cash, which is a bearer instrument that pays zero nominal rates. Why have your money on deposit at a negative rate that reduces your wealth when you can have it in cash and suffer no reduction?

Cash therefore gives people an easy and effective way of avoiding negative nominal rates.

Buiter's note suggests three ways to address this problem:

  1. Abolish currency.

  2. Tax currency.

  3. Remove the fixed exchange rate between currency and central bank reserves/deposits.

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