In China, cashless is also harming the elderly

When it comes to becoming a smartphone-driven cashless society, China is really ahead of the pack – providing a blueprint for other countries to follow.

You can do pretty much anything online in the country these days, from paying utility bills to buying plane tickets, and the coronavirus pandemic has only accelerated this trend.

Businesses now use live-streaming to sell everything from fresh produce to cars. Evergrande, China’s largest property developer, has even developed an app to sell homes, which showcases flats using the latest virtual-reality technology and offers prospective buyers the option to sign contracts.

When heading out to eat, diners in China can scan a QR code to order and have their food delivered to their table by a robot, before settling the bill using a virtual wallet such as those provided by Alipay or WeChat – avoiding the need to touch a physical menu or interact with a waiter.

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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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