New Book by David R. Warwick Pegs the Cost of Cash in the US at $660 Billion per Year

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"The Abolition of Cash: America’s $660 Billion Burden" is a call to arms to terminate physical currency.

This timely book addresses concerns about a cashless society ranging from how one will pay when power fails, to the threat of greater cybercrime. It analyzes the impact of cashlessness on tax evasion, illegal drug sales and street crime; as well as the unlikelihood that barter, gold and foreign currencies would substitute for cash. It explains how abolishing cash would bring new players into retail banking, vitalize retailing, benefit the poor and produce a more civil nation.

Forget cashless trends in Scandinavia and elsewhere, says author David R. Warwick: Current usage rates in the US indicate that cash will circulate for at least several more decades. Angst over identity theft and massive hackings render the idea of abolition of cash politically radioactive and distort the real picture. Many citizens believe cash is safer than digital money. Warwick demonstrates in numbers how mistaken they are.

The comprehensive cost of cash from its role in crimes, tax evasion, inefficiency and administrative outlays for money laundering and policing of cash crimes, according to this well-documented book, is four to five times the total cost of cybercrime. The author stops counting at $660 billion – roughly equal to annual federal outlays for old-age Social Security.

He depicts today’s unattended 24/7 ATM (which would disappear) as a microcosm of interplay of digital and cash crimes – a place where 7,500 Americans are robbed each year; where crooks use “skimmers” to siphon off patrons’ bankcard and PINs; where “carders” use phony bankcards implanted with hacked card numbers to steal money; and where fifty times a day ‘crash and grab’ thieves ram stolen vehicles into buildings and cart away entire ATMs.

Warwick weighs the loss of cash’s privacy and anonymity against countervailing benefits including prevention of some 1,000 murders and tens of thousands serious injuries. He explains Bitcoin and predicts the Darknet as a continuing but manageable problem. He describes effective new digital-security technologies. In layman’s language, this book gives the reader an upbeat new perspective on the benefits of a post-cash America.

David R. Warwick is an investor, researcher and writer. He also wrote “Ending Cash, the Public Benefits of Federal Electronic Currency,” (Quorum Books 1998) and numerous articles on making America cashless.

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