Is Cash Really Evil?

My first memory of cash comes from my birthday. I think it was the 5th or 6th birthday and I remember very vividly, cash being given to me in lieu of gifts. This cash was kept by my mother for safekeeping.

Those were the good ol’ memories of cash.

I wrote about Cash is Evil (or not) in a small article before, but now I cannot help but think about it more. How systematically we are being programmed that cash is evil. The benefits of digital money far outweigh the analog, physical counterpart.

Historians will tell you, that for generations, money has most of the time been attributed to evil. Because writing good deeds about cash is well – so boring! Many people from various corners of the world have associated evil deeds to cash, some even referring to money as actual evil (that entirely is a separate discussion). While the assumption that money is evil may be a little bit exaggerated, there are as a matter of fact some truth to this assumption. Despite the significance of money to global civilizations, the concept of money being evil is popular across the planet, but for all the wrong reasons. This phenomenon is largely promoted by the things people are willing to do to get money and the evil deeds that are supported by cash.

Debt is predominantly what made money evil. Inequality in society is what makes money evil. Cash simply happens to be a physical manifestation of money.

Read up today, and from regulators, to banks and even the financial services startups will tell you so. Give it a few more years we will cringe at the very idea of owning cash.

Whether or not money is evil is however a matter of perspective.

It also is a matter of how well read you are in the areas of history, finance and economics.

For the general population, some classify it is it is evil, for others it is not. In order to choose a side in this debate, you may need to consider both the evil and the good that has resulted from the existence of cash.

The Salary & Tax Collection

When you earn your salary, you have it in cash (or equivalent value). That used to be the way things were, since Biblical times to date.

When it comes to taxes, most people hid their money or declared less. The government had to do with what they could collect.

Now, as cash is being touted as evil, the government and those financial institutions that benefit from electronic money, are slowly reprogramming society, that money ought to be digital. It is safer. It is more efficient. It is instant. It is good for society. More hygienic (yes, that excuse has been used), less prone to going into the wrong hands, etc. than cash.

What they also fail to tell you is that it also allows the government to unilaterally seize all of it.

  • It allows these financial institutions to earn a fee on it, when you exchange your money with someone else. You have to read the brilliant blog post by Ben Milne of Dwolla, who makes a great case of how many times you can exchange a $100 electronically before it disappears into the ether?
  • It allows the government to devalue your currency.
  • It can control run on banks (as the ability to ‘withdraw’ would be limited or curtailed).
  • It will allow the government to extract whatever they wish for purposes of taxation (if they want to).
  • Your money now has a digital trail.
  • It takes the anonymity out of a transaction that we had for 1,000s of years.
  • Every person, product, service, wallet, institution you exchange or trade with, would be logged.

Today, governments have taxation and other forms of levies to indirectly in debt people. Your cash pays for their mistakes. You cash pays for their misappropriations.

The anonymity that we once enjoyed in society, is now slowly being erased from the face of the earth.

…and we are being told, this is good for us.

Yes, there are nefarious purposes for which cash can still be used, as much as the evil purpose a baseball bat can be used when one is enraged.

Money is a man-made construct and it is one of the few things in life that when used with ill-will, it enforces tremendous power upon those who function under it.

As can be seen, money can both be a source of good a source of evil. The million-dollar question is: should it be classified as evil?

From a neutral standpoint, cash in itself is not evil. Although it has been a root cause of evil for several years, money is not inherently evil. People have corrupted the use of money and resorted to evil ways of getting cash. Judging from the fact that the evilness in money is only brought out by people with evil minds; it is not logical to label cash as evil.

But who am I to say otherwise?

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