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"A cashless food economy is not all good" by Sylvain Charlebois, senior director of the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University in Halifax.





The economic case for using less cash when purchasing food is overwhelmingly strong. It makes the system more efficient, provides more convenience for shoppers, and makes management less prone to theft and human error. But it’s not all good.

This doesn’t sit well with everyone, though. San Francisco lawmakers are now considering a proposal to ban cashless stores. New Jersey and Philadelphia are considering similar bans. Ban supporters argue that cashless stores discriminate against low-income shoppers who may not have a bank account or the means to have credit or debit cards. Close to a million Canadian adults are unbanked and have no credit or debit cards. These are arguments that can hardly be overlooked, especially if food is involved.

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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.

The cashless society from an ethical point of view









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