As an accountant I refused, pretty much, to ever account for businesses that handled cash. They were costly, uncontrolled, unreliable and frankly too commonly criminogenic in nature to take the risk of being associated with, not least because of the risk of Revenue investigation, which was real in those days.
I have worked very hard to eliminate cash from economies for this reason. So, I demanded the end of big denomination notes.
I demanded evidence of source for large deposits.
And, of course, the control of suitcases of cash in tax havens.
But I have also demanded increased transparency of banking in general to tax authorities, whilst seeking that platforms like eBay and Amazon be open to HMRC.
I believe in tax justice. Cash and opacity are its enemies. Nothing will change my position.
But I don’t need to change my position. People do not want cash. I would have thought the reasons why are obvious.
The glory of cash is the ability to be free of The Spud and his plans for how you must live your life. And the bit that The Spud forgets is that if we don’t get to use cash to do that then we’ll use something else other than cash to do that. It’s not that difficult to build up a Polanyi-esque network of mutual obligations after all. Inefficient, compared to cash, but entirely possible. And as the impositions from The Spud become greater so is the liberty enabled overcoming the inefficiencies.
The absence of cash won’t mean an end to untaxed economic activity. It’ll just mean and end to cash as the intermediation in untaxed economic activity.