The debate over cash Nobody should be forced to new payment forms
Dr. Marc Beise heads the business editorial department of the Süddeutsche Zeitung. Born in Mainz (born 1959), he grew up in Hesse and was socialized with Kickers Offenbach; Today he is a permanent guest in the Bayern Arena. Even as a student, journalism was his career goal, which he never lost sight of, and does not regret even 30 years after his first attempt at writing. A change in the economy was never in question for him. Even while studying (1977 to 1984 Law and Economics in Frankfurt am Main, Lausanne, and Tübingen) Beise was a volunteer of Offenbach Post. After the legal traineeship exam, he worked there from 1985 to 1989 as an editor, most recently as a head of politics, business, and news. From 1989 to 1995 he was a research associate and coordinator of the interdisciplinary DFG research group “European and International Economic Order” at the University of Tübingen. During this time he wrote the thesis “The World Trade Organization (WTO): Function, Status, Organization”, Nomos 2001. In 1995 Beise returned to journalism as an editor of the Handelsblatt in Düsseldorf, which he left in the direction of Munich in 1999 as head of economic policy. At the Süddeutsche Zeitung in Munich, Beise has long been part of the inventory. He started as Deputy Head of the Department of Economics there, and since 2007 he has been head of the business department. His main focus is on economic policy. Beise describes himself as a “neo-liberal” and a “politician of order” in the words of primordial meaning: he is, therefore, a functioning state framework within which the economy must be able to develop freely. If one had considered this sufficiently, it would never have come to the financial crisis. Conversely, the same applies: the state is important, but it can not do everything. In his weekly video blog “Summa summarum” on SZ .de, he gives insights into his thinking and his study, including an overloaded desk. On vacation, Beise writes books, most recently: “Have a lot of money”, Econ 2010, “plundering the middle class”, DVA 2009, “Germany – wrongly ruled?”, Hanser 2006.
Good news for the end of the week: A cash cap in Germany will not exist. Although it is demanded by many experts – in the discussion were 5000 euros – and corresponding regulations in several EU countries apply, the Federal Ministry of Finance of Olaf Scholz has now clearly opposed; the SPD politician cashed with its plans of his CDU predecessor Wolfgang Schäuble. This will allow citizens to continue to put as much cash on the table as they want, such as buying a car. There are seven reasons for that.
First, it must be acknowledged that the German government policy has at last listened to and taken citizens seriously. Because technically, cash is no longer needed, all payment functions could be digital, and in many countries, this has long been part of everyday life. In Germany, on the other hand, paying with cash is, for the most part, a habit, a feeling for life; All surveys confirm this. Politicians, therefore, respond correctly if they leave their money to the citizens.
And secondly, there is no need for uniform rules throughout Europe that serve the reality of life and the attitude to life in some states in order to provoke further Europe’s annoyance elsewhere. It speaks for the EU Commission that she has recognized this and has now opposed uniform rules. It would have been different in the past. That’s one – and not the first – example of the Centralists learning. It would be nice if the notorious Brussels haters would acknowledge that.
Politics gives an illusion
Thirdly, the decision against an upper limit guesses the ground, the obstruction of payments with cash is only the first step. To completely abolish the cash afterward with the sinister goal of delivering the citizens to the central banks. Thus, among others, the influential American economist Kenneth Rogoff has paid much attention to the abolition of at least larger bills, so that citizens have fewer alternatives to monetary policy measures. Whatever central banks decide, such as negative interest rates, then the citizens would have to surrender. Therefore, it comes at the right time, when the state holds back at a moment when there is growing concern that “the institutions” are harassing the citizens.
Fourth, politics finally gives the illusion that it could put criminals out of business with a stroke of the pen. The good old money case with black money still exists, but it loses its importance in times of digitization. That one could prevent terrorism by restricting the cash is already a myth. It is no coincidence that ceilings are common in countries such as Italy, where organized crime still controls parts of public life. Those who want to fight crime, should rather upgrade the investigators and strengthen the legal consciousness.
Fifth, politics also uses its cash decision to polish the civic principles of freedom and personal responsibility. The saying goes: “Cash is an imprinted freedom”. Or in a smaller coin: Cash allows for everyday business, and that can just be a purchase worth more than 5000 euros, anonymity to which the citizen in a free country is entitled.
Sixth, the state is not defenseless. Against crime, he can set the transparency obligation. So it is already the case in Germany that cash payments from 10 000 euros cannot be anonymous. That is a meaningful addition to freedom.
And seventh, the state, if it preserves old structures for good reasons, should nevertheless open up for the new. Of course, electronic payment systems are sensible and necessary in the private sector, in services, in dealing with public institutions and also in public transport. Much is still to be done here. The key point is only: no one should be forced to use the new opportunities. If you want to take it easy and want to do it like before, you are cordially invited. This is what distinguishes the open society.