Cashless system is striking the poorest

Let the one holding the hammer be the one who holds the nail: a common problem in politics is that rules and reforms apply to everyone but are decided only by the ruling class. If a policy fails, the consequences will fall upon the underprivileged, and the lack of visibility that caused their interests being disregarded will make their plight silent too. The most recent example is the cashless revolution.

An efficiency-increasing agenda

Banks and governments, which work hand in hand, hold the same communication line: “cash is obsolete, cumbersome and dangerous”; whereas the future is cashless, safe and convenient. Banks have been trying to get rid of cash for some time. Hard currency places a risk on banks, because customers can choose to retrieve their funds if they no longer trust the banking establishment. If too many do so at the same time, it’s called a “bank run” and it can shake the bank to its core. A cashless society would secure banks by eliminating that option for customers, effectively trapping the money inside the bank. In addition, since the arrival of hedge funds and micro-trading, old-fashioned banking services such as cash distribution is seen by headquarters as tedious, costly and pointless. It is presented as an “archaic drag on the economy” and killing it off would be an opportunity to make the markets more fluid, but the first interest is clearly the bank’s.

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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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