Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. US Housing Market Real Estate Crash The Next Shoe To Drop – Part II - Chris_Vermeulen
2.The Coronavirus Greatest Economic Depression in History? - Nadeem_Walayat
3.US Real Estate Housing Market Crash Is The Next Shoe To Drop - Chris_Vermeulen
4.Coronavirus Stock Market Trend Implications and AI Mega-trend Stocks Buying Levels - Nadeem_Walayat
5. Are Coronavirus Death Statistics Exaggerated? Worse than Seasonal Flu or Not?- Nadeem_Walayat
6.Coronavirus Stock Market Trend Implications, Global Recession and AI Stocks Buying Levels - Nadeem_Walayat
7.US Fourth Turning Accelerating Towards Debt Climax - James_Quinn
8.Dow Stock Market Trend Analysis and Forecast - Nadeem_Walayat
9.Britain's FAKE Coronavirus Death Statistics Exposed - Nadeem_Walayat
10.Commodity Markets Crash Catastrophe Charts - Rambus_Chartology
Last 7 days
Silver Notches Best Month Since 1979 - 12th Aug 20
Silver Shorts Get Squeezed Hard… What’s Next? - 12th Aug 20
A Tale of Two Precious Metal Bulls - 12th Aug 20
Stock Market Melt-Up Continues While Precious Metals Warn of Risks - 12th Aug 20
How Does the Gold Fit the Corona World? - 12th Aug 20
3 (free) ways to ride next big wave in EURUSD, USDJPY, gold, silver and more - 12th Aug 20
A Simple Way to Preserve Your Wealth Amid Uncertainty - 11th Aug 20
Precious Metals Complex Impulse Move : Where Is next Resistance? - 11th Aug 20
Gold Miners Junior Stcks Buying Spree - 11th Aug 20
Has the Fed Let the Inflation Genie Out of the Bottle? - 10th Aug 20
The Strange Food Trend That’s Making Investors Rich - 10th Aug 20
Supply & Demand For Money – The End of Inflation? - 10th Aug 20
Revisiting Our Silver and Gold Predictions – Get Ready For Higher Prices - 10th Aug 20
Storm Clouds Are Gathering for a Major Stock and Commodity Markets Downturn - 10th Aug 20
A 90-Year-Old Stock Market Investment Insight That's Relevant in 2020 - 10th Aug 20
Debt and Dollar Collapse Leading to Potential Stock Market Melt-Up, - 10th Aug 20
Coronavirus: UK Parents Demand ALL Schools OPEN September, 7 Million Children Abandoned by Teachers - 9th Aug 20
Computer GPU Fans Not Spinning Quick FIX - Sticky Fans Solution - 9th Aug 20
Find the Best Speech Converter for You - 9th Aug 20
Silver Bull Market Update - 7th Aug 20
This Inflation-Adjusted Silver Chart Tells An Interesting Story - 7th Aug 20
The Great American Housing Boom Has Begun - 7th Aug 20
NATURAL GAS BEGINS UPSIDE BREAKOUT MOVE - 7th Aug 20
Know About Lotteries With The Best Odds Of Winning - 7th Aug 20
Could Gold Price Reach $7,000 by 2030? - 6th Aug 20
Bananas for All! Keep Dancing… FOMC - 6th Aug 20
How to Do Bets During This Time - 6th Aug 20
How to develop your stock trading strategy - 6th Aug 20
Stock Investors What to do if Trump Bans TikTok - 5th Aug 20
Gold Trifecta of Key Signals for Gold Mining Stocks - 5th Aug 20
ARE YOU LOVING YOUR SERVITUDE? - 5th Aug 20
Stock Market Uptrend Continues? - 4th Aug 20
The Dimensions of Covid-19: The Hong Kong Flu Redux - 4th Aug 20
High Yield Junk Bonds Are Hot Again -- Despite Warning Signs - 4th Aug 20
Gold Stocks Autumn Rally - 4th Aug 20
“Government Sachs” Is Worried About the Federal Reserve Note - 4th Aug 20
Gold Miners Still Pushing That Cart of Rocks Up Hill - 4th Aug 20
UK Government to Cancel Christmas - Crazy Covid Eid 2020! - 4th Aug 20
Covid-19 Exposes NHS Institutional Racism Against Black and Asian Staff and Patients - 4th Aug 20
How Sony Is Fueling the Computer Vision Boom - 3rd Aug 20
Computer Gaming System Rig Top Tips For 6 Years Future Proofing Build Spec - 3rd Aug 20
Cornwwall Bude Caravan Park Holidays 2020 - Look Inside Holiday Resort Caravan - 3rd Aug 20
UK Caravan Park Holidays 2020 Review - Hoseasons Cayton Bay North East England - 3rd Aug 20
Best Travel Bags for 2020 Summer Holidays , Back Sling packs, water proof, money belt and tactical - 3rd Aug 20
Precious Metals Warn Of Increased Volatility Ahead - 2nd Aug 20
The Key USDX Sign for Gold and Silver - 2nd Aug 20
Corona Crisis Will Have Lasting Impact on Gold Market - 2nd Aug 20
Gold & Silver: Two Pictures - 1st Aug 20
The Bullish Case for Stocks Isn't Over Yet - 1st Aug 20
Is Gold Price Action Warning Of Imminent Monetary Collapse - Part 2? - 1st Aug 20
Will America Accept the World's Worst Pandemic Response Government - 1st Aug 20
Stock Market Technical Patterns, Future Expectations and More – Part II - 1st Aug 20
Trump White House Accelerating Toward a US Dollar Crisis - 31st Jul 20
Why US Commercial Real Estate is Set to Get Slammed - 31st Jul 20
Gold Price Blows Through Upside Resistance - The Chase Is On - 31st Jul 20
Is Crude Oil Price Setting Up for a Waterfall Decline? - 31st Jul 20
Stock Market Technical Patterns, Future Expectations and More - 30th Jul 20
Why Big Money Is Already Pouring Into Edge Computing Tech Stocks - 30th Jul 20
Economic and Geopolitical Worries Fuel Gold’s Rally - 30th Jul 20
How to Finance an Investment Property - 30th Jul 20
I Hate Banks - Including Goldman Sachs - 29th Jul 20
NASDAQ Stock Market Double Top & Price Channels Suggest Pending Price Correction - 29th Jul 20
Silver Price Surge Leaves Naysayers in the Dust - 29th Jul 20
UK Supermarket Covid-19 Shop - Few Masks, Lack of Social Distancing (Tesco) - 29th Jul 20
Budgie Clipped Wings, How Long Before it Can Fly Again? - 29th Jul 20
How To Take Advantage Of Tesla's 400% Stock Surge - 29th Jul 20
Gold Makes Record High and Targets $6,000 in New Bull Cycle - 28th Jul 20
Gold Strong Signal For A Secular Bull Market - 28th Jul 20
Anatomy of a Gold and Silver Precious Metals Bull Market - 28th Jul 20
Shopify Is Seizing an $80 Billion Pot of Gold - 28th Jul 20
Stock Market Minor Correction Underway - 28th Jul 20
Why College Is Never Coming Back - 27th Jul 20
Stocks Disconnect from Economy, Gold Responds - 27th Jul 20
Silver Begins Big Upside Rally Attempt - 27th Jul 20
The Gold and Silver Markets Have Changed… What About You? - 27th Jul 20
Google, Apple And Amazon Are Leading A $30 Trillion Assault On Wall Street - 27th Jul 20
This Stock Market Indicator Reaches "Lowest Level in Nearly 20 Years" - 26th Jul 20
New Wave of Economic Stimulus Lifts Gold Price - 26th Jul 20
Stock Market Slow Grind Higher Above the Early June Stock Highs - 26th Jul 20
How High Will Silver Go? - 25th Jul 20
If You Own Gold, Look Out Below - 25th Jul 20
Crude Oil and Energy Sets Up Near Major Resistance – Breakdown Pending - 25th Jul 20
FREE Access to Premium Market Forecasts by Elliott Wave International - 25th Jul 20
The Promise of Silver as August Approaches: Accumulation and Conversation - 25th Jul 20
The Silver Bull Gateway is at Hand - 24th Jul 20
The Prospects of S&P 500 Above the Early June Highs - 24th Jul 20
How Silver Could Surpass Its All-Time High - 24th Jul 20

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

How to Get Rich Investing in Stocks by Riding the Electron Wave

India’s Demonetization Could Be the First Cash Domino to Fall

Currencies / War on Cash Dec 05, 2016 - 04:25 PM GMT

By: John_Mauldin

Currencies

BY PATRICK WATSON : Just recently, millions of Americans voted against Hillary Clinton because, among other reasons, we thought she would raise taxes or otherwise take our money.

Most of us didn’t notice what happened on the other side of the world that very same day. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi really did take everyone’s money.

Citizens of India learned, with only a few hours’ notice, that their 500 and 1,000-rupee notes were no longer legal tender. Those are—or were—the country’s largest-denomination bills and the foundation of a huge underground economy.


Now they’re just paper.

The results were what you would expect: confusion, chaos, and fear.

Nevertheless, you can bet other governments watched closely. India could be just the first cash domino to fall.

Modi’s “demonetization” turned into a mess

The Reserve Bank of India posted this notice on November 8:

Government of India vide their Notification no. 2652 dated November 8, 2016 have withdrawn the Legal Tender status of ₹ 500 and ₹ 1,000 denominations of banknotes of the Mahatma Gandhi Series issued by the Reserve Bank of India till November 8, 2016.

This is necessitated to tackle counterfeiting Indian banknotes, to effectively nullify black money hoarded in cash, and curb funding of terrorism with fake notes.

Starting from November 10, 2016, members of public/corporates, business firms, societies, trusts, etc., holding these notes can tender them at any office of the Reserve Bank or any bank branch and obtain value thereof by credit into their respective bank accounts.

Just like that, billions of currency notes suddenly became unusable. They will retain their value until the end of the year, but the only way to use them is by going to the bank and exchanging them for smaller notes, up to a limit of 4,000 rupees (about US$60).

People can also deposit them in a bank account and then use a debit card or electronic transfers for purchases.

That sounds simple enough, but it quickly became a mess.

Lines formed at banks, with people waiting for days, only to find the bank ran out of smaller bills. Those without bank accounts had no way to make routine transactions. Already impoverished people had to spend their work time waiting to exchange their money. New bills intended to replace the old ones were scarce.

The results spread through the economy like wildfire. Merchants lost sales because customers couldn’t pay. Some resorted to barter. Media reports suggest restoring normal commerce could take months.

A few people reportedly died, most of them elderly citizens waiting outside banks for days, but also some overworked bank employees.

Analysts are already saying the sudden contraction will hurt economic growth. Economists at Ambit Capital cut their 2017 GDP growth estimate almost in half, from 6.8% to 3.5%. They think the effects will last into 2018, too.

With consequences ranging from disruptive to fatal, why would any government do something like this?

It’s the latest step in Prime Minister Modi’s war on corruption and tax evasion, much of it conducted in cash. He says restricting cash (he calls it “demonetization”) will help boost the economy.

Maybe it will. Estimates show anywhere from 25–40% of India’s economic activity happens off the books. Bringing it out of the shadows and into the banking system, even by force, may help in the long run. It will certainly raise tax revenue initially. But it also carries a big cost.

Believe it or not, some experts think we should do something much like this in the US.

Are we moving toward a cashless society? 

Harvard economist Kenneth Rogoff has a new book out called The Curse of Cash. He thinks we should eliminate most paper bills. His plan is to phase out $100, $50, and $20 bills, which together account for about 97% of the face value of all US dollars in circulation.

He generously lets us keep the small change.

Rogoff isn’t aiming only at tax evaders and drug dealers. He thinks paper money is problematic no matter who holds it because cash restricts monetary policy.

It would get in the way if the Federal Reserve ever wanted to push interest rates into the negative range, the way central banks in Japan and the Eurozone already have.

Under a negative interest rate policy (NIRP), putting cash in the bank costs the depositor money instead of earning it. You can avoid this simply by holding paper currency… but not if the paper currency doesn’t exist because your government followed Professor Rogoff’s advice.

In a blog post after the India move, Rogoff said his plan isn’t meant for developing nations where fewer citizens use the banking system. But he still thinks it may benefit India in due course.

Professor Rogoff isn’t some fringe wacko. Influential people listen to him and read his books.

Forcing more transactions into the banking system would make tax collection easier and help authorities keep tabs on everyone’s activities. It’s the sort of thing central planners and authoritarian regimes have always loved, but modern technology lets them do it more effectively.

Would any major powers do this? Some already are. Denmark, Norway, and Sweden are all trying to go cashless. The European Central Bank hasn’t gone that far but is phasing out €500 notes.

Some banks are moving even faster. Citicorp’s Australian arm said this month it would stop handling notes and coins in its branches due to lack of demand. Fewer than 4% of its Australian customers have used cash in the last year, Citi says.

Watch for the warning signs

This whole idea of a “cashless society” used to be a kooky fringe belief. Conspiracy promoters said jackbooted government thugs would kick in your door any minute and confiscate all your vegetables.

Guess what: the kooks had a point. People in high places really do want to take away your cash, or at least most of it.

I, for one, will oppose this (if they bother to ask my opinion). People with criminal intent will find other ways to keep their businesses hidden. Eliminating cash would create hassles for everyone, for no real benefit.

That’s not the way India’s government sees it. Modi is getting a lot of criticism but hasn’t backed down. The next country to try this won’t make the same mistakes.

It will happen. The only questions are when and where.

So what do you do about it?

Gold sales spiked in India after the cash announcement, to the point that the government may restrict gold ownership, too.

It wasn’t so long ago that owning gold was illegal in the US. Could it happen again? I doubt it, mainly because it would be so unenforceable. But you never know.

We’ve learned a very important lesson in 2016: Never say “That will never happen” because way too often, it does. Owning some physical gold is an easy way to hedge against that possibility.

Keep it in a safe place at home instead of a bank safety deposit box. If you ever need that gold, you won’t want to stand in line for it.

Subscribe to Connecting the Dots—and Get a Glimpse of the Future

We live in an era of rapid change… and only those who see and understand the shifting market, economic, and political trends can make wise investment decisions. Macroeconomic forecaster Patrick Watson spots the trends and spells what they mean every week in the free e-letter, Connecting the Dots. Subscribe now for his seasoned insight into the surprising forces driving global markets.

John Mauldin Archive

© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

6 Critical Money Making Rules