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Is it time to phase out (most) paper currency?

Paper currency helps criminals and constrains central banks—so why do we still use it?

By Kenneth Rogoff   October 2016

Mexican army soldiers guard $15m in cash seized from Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman's drug cartel, November 2011 ©YURI CORTEZ/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Has the time come for developed nations to start phasing out most paper currency? A large number of economic, financial, philosophical and even moral issues are buried in this arresting question. But on balance, I believe that the answer is yes.

When I first wrote about the idea 20 years…

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