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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

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Future of Crypto

Starting Minute 11:15

April 5, 2022

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Fox News

Tucker Carlson Tonight

December 27, 2017

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The Demise of Cash in Society

August 21, 2017

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Kenneth Rogoff on Cutting the $100

December 20, 2016

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Special Guest on Squawbox

Kenneth Rogoff on Scraping the $100 - even the $20

September 6, 2016

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Special Guest on Bloomberg with Tom Keene

Interview with Kenneth Rogoff

September 13, 2016

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CNN International

First Move with Julia Chatterley

"The Coming Chinese Central Bank Digital Currency"

November 27, 2019

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Boston Globe

Betting on Bitcoin

October 12, 2017

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The New Yorker

"Imagining a Cashless Society"

October 10, 2016

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NPR on Point

Interview with Kenneth Rogoff

September 12, 2016

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CBS This Morning

The Backlash of Going Cashless

October 26, 2019

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Wall Street Journal

Should We Move to a Cashless Society?

September 25, 2017

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Business Insider

Kenneth Rogoff on Eliminating the $100

October 6, 2016

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Yahoo Finance

Interview with Kenneth Rogoff

September 13, 2016

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All Things Considered

Interview with Kenneth Rogoff

September 1, 2016

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

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