Cash seems to be the trending word of the times. Dirty cash, to be more exact. Millions and billions of it could be found everywhere these days, from clothes and television cabinets to office rooms and shop lots.
The photos of the stacks of cash that we’ve seen in the media recently sure looks beautiful if we could get our hands on it. Imagine what we could do with it. We could help the poor, improve the country’s infrastructure, subsidise education, create better public transport, etc.
Even better, we could also use that money to go for luxurious holidays, build and renovate mansions, buy expensive sports cars, splurge on expensive branded handbags or marry trophy wives. It depends on what your priority is.
The point here is that everyone can be tempted with cash. It is just so easy to steal, bribe embezzle, hide, stash and do whatever with it. Case in point, look at what happened in Sabah recently with the two top officials of the Sabah Water Department.
If you want an even higher profile case, look no further than the 1MDB scandal that is plaguing Prime Minister Najib Razak right now. Yes, it’s just too tempting and too easy. It’s like saying, hey, if I can do it, then you can do it too.
That’s why I find what economist Kenneth Rogoff said in an interview with Stephen J Dubner on the Freakonomics podcast so fascinating. He is suggesting that the world go entirely cashless (or cash-less, to be exact) for obvious reasons.
Rogoff, who is a professor at Harvard University and former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), says that when there is no cash circulating, there will be less opportunity for tax evasion, money laundering or even just plain theft and robbery.