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Say no to cashless stores





I went to a counter-serve restaurant recently, and when the time came to pay for my order, took out my wallet, presented a $20 bill, and was told, “Sorry, we don’t accept cash.” I was flabbergasted. What happened to “legal tender for all debts public and private,” as it says right there on the bill? This has now happened to me at three separate establishments in recent months. The rise of cashless establishments is happening amid continuing hype over the supposed dawn of a “cashless future” and agitation by some very powerful interests that would love to see cash disappear. The credit card companies love it, naturally, and tech industry associations have also pushed for the concept.

Meanwhile, a backlash has prompted several cities and states including San Francisco, Philadelphia, and New Jersey to ban cashless stores (they’ve also been banned in Massachusetts since 1978). One salad chain, Sweetgreen, reversed its decision to go cashless amid criticism, and Amazon, which had reportedly been opposing legislative bans, has since announced that it will accept cash at its automated, cashier-less convenience stores. (As for the “legal tender” statement, that does not actually mandate the acceptance of cash for 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.

The cashless society from an ethical point of view









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