This is the first of two articles on the Bank of England’s plan for a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) and why it should be resisted. Today’s article asks why the Bank is so keen on the idea.
IN January 2022, the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee issued a report on the Bank Of England’s (BoE) fervent, yet somewhat furtive, desire to breathe life into its Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) or ‘digital pound’. The committee mocked the project as a ‘solution in search of a problem’ and concluded that the ‘concept seems to present a lot of risk for very little reward’.
The mere fact of a House of Lords Committee being unconvinced of the case for a retail CBDC is not the main reason to reject the concept. Those of us who have observed the transition over the last three years from the pretence of democracy to bare-faced authoritarianism need no confirmation from the House of Lords that CBDCs are an evil to be avoided at all costs. But the fact that a bunch of Lords, Baronesses and Viscounts – the most unlikely candidates for a financial system rebellion – have poured cold water on the scheme ought to tell us that the BoE is on a hiding to nothing in terms of building credibility for its project.
Why the cynical ‘ ’ around the word ‘consultation’ in the title of this piece? Well, in line with the increasingly authoritarian trend in government ‘consultations’, all the BoE’s consultation questions presuppose that its CBDC project should be implemented; it seeks opinions only on how this should happen. Disappointingly though unsurprisingly, it provides no option to reject the proposal in its entirety, which is of course highly undemocratic. They’re not asking whether you’d like to be punched or not. The parameters of the debate have been limited to asking you whether you want a black eye or a bloody nose. That is the meaning of ‘democracy’ today in the West. (Those ‘ ’ again.)