Back during the Great Depression, there were people who theorized that gold hoarding was preventing economic recovery. There is always this same theory that people who save hoarding their money and are not spending it results in the lack of a recovery suppressing demand. This theory has been around for a very long time. It assumes a recovery is always blocked by people hoarding their money and saving for a rainy day.
Back during the American Civil War, the federal government issued paper currency for the first time after the Revolution. Much of this currency paid interest. Some were in the form of virtually circulating bonds with coupons for the interest payments. Some were backed by gold. Others offered a table on the reverse providing a schedule. The interest baring notes remained valid currency, but the interest expired within a specific time period. Hence, one would redeem the note since it would no longer pay interest beyond a specific date.
The rumbling behind the curtain I am hearing is a growing idea of making the currency in Europe simply expire. I have explained before that in Europe currency routinely expires – even in Britain. The United States has never canceled its currency so a note from the Civil War is still legal tender. But that is not the case in Europe.
Europeans are accustomed to having their money simply expire. This is not limited to paper currency. They also cancel the coins. The proposal being whispered in the dark halls of Europe is that perhaps the way to impose negative rates to force people to spend is to just cancel all the currency and authorize only small notes for pocket change. They want everyone to be forced to use bank cards and this is the new theory to revitalize the economy.
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