Cashless economy brings many unsolved problems

The smart money says we may now be in the last decade before the penny finally drops.

Many New Zealanders will have already had the experience, possibly even over the current holiday period, of handing over a $50 bill for a small transaction, only to be told the vendor is unable to make change.

It could now be a matter of years before virtually all local transactions are done by bank transfer, credit and debit cards or Eftpos, with the idea of physical payment relegated alongside rotary-dial telephones and audio cassettes.

International researchers have long said that this country is well placed to go down the cashless route, although possibly not as well as some other developed economies, and even a few developing nations.

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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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