Book review: Defend your right to use cash

Book review: Defend your right to use cash

The War Against Cash by Ross Clark

Reviewed by Neil Liversidge

In my mid-teens I laboured through Karl Marx’s Das Kapital, an unrewarding experience, the only benefit of which was to inoculate me against Marxism. A young person wanting to understand how the world works, how it is being changed and at whose behest, should forget Marx and read Ross Clark instead. The older and more complacent should do likewise. 

He starts by describing his difficulty in paying for car parking by smartphone, an experience that will be unpleasantly familiar to many. From that car park, around the fast-becoming-cashless world we go, learning how Narendra Modi’s withdrawal from circulation of 500 and 1000 Rupee notes stunted India’s economic growth, causing havoc for everyone and tragedy and hardship for many, while bringing no discernible benefit to anyone. Sweden’s brave new cashless world meanwhile has seen shops, bars and even banks become cash-free zones.

The conspiring parties and beneficiaries are exposed, from Harvard academics through the European Commission and the UN to, unsurprisingly, the banks and the payments industry. Management consultants McKinsey are promoting coercion to push the move away from cash. They want cash-payers’ lives made difficult. Governments it seems are catching on fast, targeting cash-takers with tax audits.  

The fight against crime and terrorism is cited by proponents of the cashless society but as Mr Clark notes – and I have personally experienced – e-crime involving bank transfers is booming. Forget convenience, safety and terrorism. The real agenda is driven by big corporations and governments, who want to pick our pockets and spy on our every move. 

The 800-odd pages of Das Kapital took me weeks that felt like months. Mr Clark’s impeccably-referenced 177-page work took me a weekend and was worth every minute invested. Back to Marx, on his tomb is inscribed: “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.”  

Mr Clark’s interpretation, if enough people pick up on it, might just stop the world being changed for very much the worse.  

Neil Liversidge is managing director of West Riding Personal Financial Solutions

Published by Harriman House