No cash, no freedom, for better or for worse, an Australian example

Jocelyn Wighton sits in her lounge room inCeduna and ­listens to a group of young men speaking loudly as they walk past her house. “Hear that?” she says. “It starts about 4pm and gets louder. The town really has not changed much.” Wighton, who is not Aboriginal and who is on a disability pension, is angry that she has recently been put back on the welfare card. She was ­initially given the card in 2016 but for the past two years managed to get off it due to an administrative loophole.

Today is her 65th birthday and as she opens her mail she tells me why people like her should not be on a cashless welfare card. “I have always been able to manage my own finances,” she says. “I don’t need anyone else to do it for me or to know what I am spending my money on. It’s hard enough being on a pension without 80 per cent of it being put on a card that you can’t use everywhere.” In the trial sites the card is issued to all residents who receive a ­working age welfare payment.


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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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No cash, no freedom, for better or for worse, an Australian example