Financial Privacy

  • Chris Berg
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Classical Liberalism book series (PASTCL)


This chapter explores two dimensions of financial privacy, the demise of Swiss banking secrecy and arguments for the elimination of physical cash. Financial records are among the most sensitive forms of personal data, containing intimate details about individual daily activities and preferences. The chapter first looks at the history and trajectory of Swiss banking secrecy. Swiss banking secrecy formally developed in order to protect bank account holders from possibly intrusive prudential regulatory surveillance. In response to heavy pressure from high tax jurisdictions, the Swiss have been forced to reduce those secrecy protections. However the evidence suggests that banking secrecy was more valued for privacy rather than tax evasion reasons. The chapter then considers the arguments, most prominently aired by Kenneth Rogoff in his book The Curse of Cash, to eliminate large denomination physical currency. It finds that there are many other reasons apart from the desire to hold cash for criminal purposes to seek an anonymous payments system.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chris Berg
    • 1
  1. 1.RMIT UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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