Julie McCarthy

Ever since Genghis Khan used tree bark as legal tender and backed it up by threatening anyone who didn't use it with death, governments have manipulated paper money to suit their purposes.

When India abolished its highest-value rupee notes last November, it sought to rein in hoarders of big bills who evade tax. However, the move sucked so much cash out of circulation that it destroyed the wages of millions of Indians who earn in cash, and deprived millions more of access to their money.

One of the biggest-ever overseas successes for Disney is grounded in a real-life story out of India.

A blockbuster Bollywood movie is raking in millions and trying to change entrenched gender roles in India. It's set in Haryana state, where the sex ratio of newborns skews heavily toward boys.

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In November, India's government declared all high-value currency invalid and withdrew them from circulation. Starved of cash, the economy seized up.

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Imagine living in a world where you need cash to buy virtually everything — from food to clothes to a new home. Yet you have no cash. The best you can do is stand in line at the bank for hours in the hope of withdrawing a small amount of paper money.

Maybe you could use a smartphone to pay for goods — only you're too poor to afford one.

Welcome to India, land of the cash crunch.