Demonetisation attacked people’s privacy and inflicted more government control over their life: Steve Forbes

Forbes in a hard-hitting editorial has called demonetisation a massive theft of people's property without even the pretence of due process--a shocking move for a democratically elected government.

Demonetisation attacked people’s privacy and inflicted more government control over their life: Steve Forbes

Steve Forbes, chairman and editor-in-chief of Forbes Media has joined the bandwagon of critics of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision on November 8 to demonetise 86% of the total currency in circulation in an alleged move to counter black money and terror funding.

Forbes in a hard-hitting editorial has called demonetisation a massive theft of people's property without even the pretence of due process--a shocking move for a democratically elected government. He compared demonetisation drive to India's short-lived forced-sterilization program in the 1970s.


Countering the government's claim that demonetisation would fight corruption and tax evasion by allegedly flushing out illegal cash, Forbes wrote, “Human nature hasn't changed since we began roaming this planet. People will always find ways to engage in wrongdoing. Terrorists aren't about to quit their evil acts because of a currency change. As for the digitization of money, it will happen in its own good time if free markets are permitted. And the best cure for tax evasion is a flat tax or, at the least, a simple, low-rate tax system that renders tax evasion hardly worth the effort. Make it easy to do business legally and most people will do just that.”

He added that other countries are now citing India’s examples to ban high-denomination bills and wrote, “the anti-cash fad currently sweeping governments and the economics profession” is nothing but “attacking your privacy and inflicting more government control over your life.”

“By stealing property, further impoverishing the least fortunate among its population and undermining social trust, thereby poisoning politics and hurting future investment, India has immorally and unnecessarily harmed its people, while setting a dreadful example for the rest of the world,” Forbes wrote further.

He advised India that if the country wants to fulfill its desire to become a global powerhouse then it should “slash income and business tax rates and simplify the whole tax structure; make the rupee as powerful as the Swiss franc; hack away at regulations, so that setting up a business can be done with no cost and in only a few minutes.”