The Curse of Cash:

How Large Denomination Bills Aid Crime and Tax Evasion
Constrain Monetary Policy


The world is drowning in cash - and it's making us poorer and less safe.  In The Curse of Cash, acclaimed economist Kenneth Rogoff explores the past, present, and future of currency, from ancient China to today's cryptocurrencies, showing why, contrary to conventional economic wisdom, paper money surprisingly lies at the heart of some of the world's most difficult problems.  Looking to the future of public and private digital currency, The Curse of Cash cites the lesson of history: when it comes to currency, the private sector may innovate but eventually the government regulates and appropriates. 

More information may be found in the Q&A section (Part I and Part II), in the weekend Wall Street Journal, in the Financial Times, and in the Boston Globe.

Co-author of the 2009 best seller THIS TIME IS DIFFERENT on the history of financial crises, ROGOFF is the Thomas D. Cabot Professor of Economics at Harvard University. His internationally syndicated column on global economic issues appears in over 50 countries in 12 languages.  His work on phasing out most cash has been featured in All Things Considered, Squawkbox, and Freakanomics (pdf).  Additional related articles may be found here

Spotlight Articles & Podcasts: The Demand Side (podcast), Do We Still Need Cash (Apple, Spotify); LA Times, In a Pandemic, No One Wants to Touch it;  Gold Investor, The Curse of Cash and Allure of Gold; Der Spiegel, Rogoff of Bitcoin Cryptcurrencies and the Curse of CashWall Street Journal, Should We Move to a Mostly Cashless Society

In a brilliant and lucid new book, The Curse of Cash, the Harvard economist Kenneth Rogoff gives a fascinating and thorough account of the argument against cash.

John Lanchester, The New York Times (pdf)

[Rogoff] understands that getting rid of cash . . . is not exactly an easy sell. So Rogoff builds the case against cash, loading up on all the things wrong with paper money. . . . Rogoff’s case against cash is so cogently argued that it’s hard to believe that we haven’t already gotten rid of paper bills and coins--or at least larger bills.

Mark Gimein,


Reading this book will both make you smile and think.

Alan S. Blinder, author of After the Music

The Curse of Cash is a book everyone should read about negative interest rates.

Miles Kimball, University of Michigan

[A] fascinating economic manifesto...[The Curse of Cash] is an absorbing exploration of the uses, and misuses, of currency, and its intractability in controlling modern economies.

Publishers Weekly


A fascinating and important book.  Kenneth Rogoff sets out a compelling and wide-ranging argument for weaning our economies off paper money.

Ben S. Bernanke, former chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve

Highly engaging, thought-provoking, and persusaive, The Curse of Cash makes the case that time is running out for paper money.  As Kenneth Rogoff has done before, this book sets the standard on a problem that will only become more important; it is also sure to influence discussions about the ability of central banks to deliver growth and financial stability.  This is a must-read.

Mohamen El-Erian, author of The Only Game in Town: Central Banks, Instability, and Avoiding the Next Collapse

Recent Appearances

May 19, 2020

Bloomberg Interview with Ken Rogoff

Professor Rogoff discusses monetary policy limitations on BNN Bloomberg.

November 27, 2019

CNN International, First Move with Julia Chatterley. "The Coming Chinese Central Bank Digital Currency"

Julia Chatterley discusses the Central Bank changes with Kenneth Rogoff.

October 26, 2019

CBS This Morning Interviews Kenneth Rogoff

The Backlash of Going Cashless

May 03, 2019

Rogoff makes the case for negative interest rates

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March 16, 2019

CNN'S Michael Smerconish Interview's Kenneth Rogoff

CNN CITIES FIGHTING BACK VS. CASHLESS BUSINESSES  Michael Smerconish interviews Kenneth Rogoff 

June 15, 2018

A World Without Cash

Kenneth Rogoff speaks on ADR TV regarding a world without cash. 

December 27, 2017

Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight

Professor Rogoff discusses a Less-Cash Society

October 12, 2017

Boston Globe

Betting on Bitcoin

September 25, 2017

Wall Street Journal

Should we move to a mostly cashless society?

August 21, 2017


Kenneth Rogoff discusses the demise of cash in society.

February 17, 2017

BBC World News

Ken Rogoff discussion "Let's Smash Crime by Getting Rid of Big Banknotes".

February 09, 2017

NPR Morning Edition

Kenneth Rogoff discusses "What Can India Tell UsAbout the Worth of Abolishing HighValue Banknotes"

December 20, 2016


Havard Economist Ken Rogoff Says We Should Cut the $100

October 10, 2016

The New Yorker

The New Yorker Magazine feature of Kenneth Rogoff. 

October 06, 2016

Business Insider

Kenneth Rogoff's interview on Business Insider

September 06, 2016

Special Guest on Squawbox

Visit the link below to view Ken Rogoff's appearance on Squawbox.

September 22, 2016

Swiss National Bank Karl Brunner Distinguished Lecture Series

Ken Rogoff's presentation will be streamed live on Thrusday, September 22nd. 

September 13, 2016

Yahoo Finance

Kenneth Rogoff's interview on Yahoo Finance

September 13, 2016

Special Guest on Bloomberg with Tom Keene

Kenneth Rogoff's interview with Tom Keene.

September 12, 2016

NPR On Point

Kenneth Rogoff featured on NPR.

September 01, 2016

Interview with Kenneth Rogoff on All Things Considered

Kenneth Rogoff's appearance on All Things Considered.

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Additional Reviews

San Francisco Review of Books

Jose Ford Cotto

Blueprint for a Timely Idea

Danaeu Kyriakopoulou

A World Without Paper Money Would Present Promise, Problems

Shang-Jie Wie

Chances are you'll think a bit differently about something to which most of us give no thought whatsoever. 

Bethany McLean, Washington Post Review