Prostitutes, Drug Dealers, and, Underground Gamblers: What Will They Do in a World Without Cash?

March 27, 2012 in Daily Bulletin

Slate is continuing its look at the implications of a world without cash. This time Katy Waldman asked what would happen to prostitutes, drug dealers, and black market operators in a world where they can no longer deal in cash. To say nothing of the millions of restaurants and laundromats that avoid paying taxes. Some considerations include:

  • Blackmarket operators would probably just use alternate forms of currency such as precious metals or gems, keeping the amount of black-market activity around the same.
  • Electronic payments might actually make it easier to evade taxes. In a cash-only society you can only withdraw so much money without raising any alarms. Furthermore the $10 and $20 bills you could withdraw this way would weigh a lot making it difficult to carry too much and therefore be more easily detected. In a cash-less society you can move millions of dollars around the world at the click of a button.
  • However it is also easier to police cyber-money, decreasing the amount of tax evasion.

To read what Waldman believes would happen to money-laundering overall in light of these differing effects, the amount of cash in the United States, and why Amazon gift cards might be the medium of exchange for drug dealers in the future click here.

Source: Slate