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Het argument tegen contant geld

CAMBRIDGE – De wereld zwemt in het papiergeld, mede doordat de centrale banken van de grote landen ieder jaar voor honderden miljarden dollars aan geld in het systeem pompen, bij voorkeur in grote coupures, zoals het biljet van $100. Het biljet van $100 neemt in de VS bijna 80% van het verbijsterende cash-aanbod van $4,200 per hoofd van de bevolking voor zijn rekening. Het biljet van ¥10,000 (ongeveer $100) is verantwoordelijk voor ruwweg 90% van al het Japanse geld, terwijl het cash-bezit per hoofd van de bevolking bijna $7,000 bedraagt. En, zoals ik al twee decennia betoog: al dit geld komt vooral de groei van de ondergrondse economie ten goede, niet die van de legale.

Ik bepleit geen cash-loze samenleving, iets wat – binnen afzienbare tijd althans – noch haalbaar noch wenselijk is. Maar een cash-loze samenleving zou wel eerlijker en veiliger zijn.

Met de groei van het aantal bankpasjes, elektronische overschrijvingen en mobiele betalingen is het gebruik van cashgeld in de legale economie lange tijd afgenomen, vooral voor grootschalige transacties op de middellange termijn. Uit onderzoeken van centrale banken blijkt dat slechts een klein percentage van de biljetten in grote coupures worden vastgehouden en gebruikt door gewone mensen en bedrijven.

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