Cashless Societies are no answer to Economic Crisis

The global economic crisis resulting from the pandemic has inevitably led to commentators focusing once again on the “cashless economy” debate. For some, the rise of cashless economies across the globe is an unavoidable step towards a global digital economy. For others, hard cash remains the backbone of fragile economies in poorer countries and a mainstay of individual freedoms and civil liberty in richer ones, and its removal would simply accelerate the already widening economic gap between rich and poor.

Economic crises have been shown to increase the amount of cash in circulation as individuals begin to hoard cash as a response to fears that banks may close their doors and disappear along with people’s savings. For example, between 2007 and 2010—during the last economic crisis—cash in circulation increased from $53 billion to over $70 billion. This time around, it is estimated that one in ten people in the United Kingdom is stockpiling cash at home, just in case.

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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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