India: here is what happens when a society goes temporarily cashless

India: here is what happens when a society goes temporarily cashless

The potential disappearance of cash is a big worry for a lot of people in the UK at the moment.

With every report of cash machines being removed, physical money use declining, or bank branches shutting, fears grow that society is heading for a cashless future.

So, imagine what would happen if the Government suddenly announced plans to axe almost 90 per cent of banknotes in circulation? That is what India did and a new report from Harvard University has analysed the effects.

Predictably, it caused chaos, as while Indians were quick to return the old banknotes, replacement ones came more slowly. 

Even when they were available the replacement was uneven across the country, meaning that for eight months many Indians were left without access to cash.

Now, a new report from Harvard University's Quarterly Journal of Economics has looked into the results of the Indian government's demonetisation, with some eye-opening findings.

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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.

The cashless society from an ethical point of view

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The debate

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