Cashless Societies, Exclusive Societies?

Some people predicted that COVID-19 would be the demise of cash, but it has actually demonstrated the importance of cash in today’s economy, especially in times of crisis. Moreover, it has shown the devastating effect that a cashless economy has on certain groups of people.

One critique of a cashless economy is that it potentially excludes vulnerable populations and those working in the informal sector. Taking away the ability to make cash transactions, particularly during times of crisis, can be destabilizing for those that might not have access to the Internet or a mobile phone.

The Indian government’s recent decision to require citizens to register to be vaccinated using online or mobile applications shows, like in a cashless economy, how certain populations are excluded and hurt when their only option is digital.

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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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The debate

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