What about coin shortage?

First toilet paper, now small change.

As the seriousness of COVID-19 became clear, Americans stocked up on toilet paper before heading into quarantine. The resulting shortage of that particular product was one of the more peculiar side effects of the pandemic.

Now months later another, a perhaps more serious shortage is at hand.

In June, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell informed that Congress America’s coin supply had dwindled due to COVID. Since then, the question I am most often asked “is the coin shortage real?” This is usually followed by “or is this the federal government’s sneaky way to get rid of cash and force us to use electronic transactions so the surveillance state can monitor us all the time? The answer is neither.

The amount of coins in the economy hasn’t changed. It is the flow of those coins that has.

Businesses make and receive change when customers pay in cash. Then these businesses deposit coins at their banks. There, the worn-out ones are culled and the rest are wrapped in rolls that businesses use when they run low. 

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The cashless society from an ethical point of view

The debate about the move towards a cashless society has been at the center of the scene for several years, now. Various angles have been taken by economists, politicians, banking institutions and sociologists. Beyond the technicalities of the debate, lies the question of freedom, of inter-citizen solidarity and of governmental responsibility. The debate cannot remain in the hands of financial specialists, it is first and foremost an ethical, political and societal issue.

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