Cash is a needed public good

Australia is well on its way to becoming a cashless society, with forecasts suggesting that cash will account for just 2 per cent of transactions by 2024. This makes Australia the world’s fourth most cash-averse economy, after Sweden, Denmark and Hong Kong.

Cash payments are often associated with “under the table” transactions to avoid tax obligations, or for black market dealings involving drugs or stolen property.

It’s also literally quite dirty, and the move towards cashless transactions has accelerated during the pandemic. However, cash also has many legitimate uses.

1. Cash helps us stay within budget

Studies have shown that people spend significantly more when they use “virtual” as opposed to physical money. Overspending with cash is more difficult, because of the visual cue that we are spending hard-earned dollars.

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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.

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