In what remains the most undercovered financial topic of the year, if not century, we remind readers that starting about a year ago, central banks around the world launched an unprecedented if stealthy attempt to overhaul the entire monetary architecture of fiat money by implementing digital dollars, a transformation to a cashless society which in recent months has also received the tacit support of Congress, which is actively drafting bills to send “digital dollars” to the unbanked. For those just catching up, read the following recent articles:
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- Did The Fed Just Reveal Its Plans For A Digital Dollar Replacement?
- House Stimulus Bill Creates “Digital Dollar” To Send Virus-Aid To The ‘Unbanked’
- The Fed Is Planning To Send Money Directly To Americans In The Next Crisis
- Fed’s “Direct Money Transfers” Are Coming: Brainard Says Fed Collaborating With MIT On “Hypothetical” Digital Currency
- In Unprecedented Monetary Overhaul, The Fed Is Preparing To Deposit “Digital Dollars” Directly To “Each American”
- ECB Trademarks “Digital Euro” As It Begins Experiments On Digital Currency Launch
- The Circle Is Complete: BOJ Joins Fed And ECB In Preparing Rollout Of Digital Currency
Since we have done so on numerous occasions in the past, we won’t discuss the staggering implications of such a transformation when (not if) it is implemented over the next few years, instead pointing readers to recent thoughts from DoubleLine fixed income portolio manager Bill Campbell, who warned that “Pandora’s Box Of Fed’s Digital Currency Will Ignite An “Inflationary Conflagration” – which is spot on in its assessment that this is at its core a central bank Hail Mary attempt to spark drastic inflation across the globe in hopes of “reflating away” the world’s untenable debt load – and whose conclusion is striking:
The temptations of CBDCs are not limited to excesses in monetary policy. CBDCs also appear to be an effective mechanism for bypassing the taxation, debt issuance and spending prerogatives of government to implement a quasi-fiscal policy. Imagine, for example, the ease of enacting Modern Monetary Theory via CBDCs. With CBDCs, the central banks would possess the necessary plumbing to directly deliver a digital currency to individuals’ bank accounts, ready to be spent via debit cards.
Let me quote again from Charles I. Plosser’s warning in 2012: “Once a central bank ventures into fiscal policy, it is likely to find itself under increasing pressure from the private sector, financial markets, or the government to use its balance sheet to substitute for other fiscal decisions.” With a flick of the digital switch, CBDCs can enable policymakers to meet, or cave in to, those demands – at the risk of igniting an inflation conflagration, abandoning what little still survives of sovereign fiscal discipline and who knows what else. I hope the leaders of the world’s central banks will approach this new financial technology with extreme caution, guarding against its overuse or outright abuse. It’s hard to be optimistic. Soon our monetary Pandoras will possess their own box full of new powers, perhaps too enticing to resist.