Digital divide: People left behind

The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed so much of our lives, from the economic to the social. Rarely has it led to changes for the better. More often than not, it has exposed pre-existing vulnerabilities.

That’s certainly the case when we look at the digital divide in Australia, and in particular how the shift towards digital payment platforms and contactless payments, at the expense of cash, has left too many Australians vulnerable and exposed during this crisis.

The ‘digital divide’ refers to the degree that individuals can access both connectivity (most notably high-speed and reliable internet) and the technology (such as computers and smartphones) that enable such connectivity. The digital divide affects vulnerable Australians the most and is amplified by remoteness, socio-economic status, age, literacy and language.

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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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