Social unity : the true value of cash

In the past couple of decades, major economic shifts have occurred with the appearance of countless electronic payment solutions, such as Paypal, Apple Pay or Venmo. The change has not only occurred within the consumer’s habits, as businesses have started adapting to the cashless trend, and even promoting it. With the increasing level of individual computerization, which experts now call the Internet of Everything, e-money seems to have a bright future ahead.

Not for everyone. Germany, for instance, seems an island in the cashless tide. Even countries, such as India, Sweden, Denmark and Norway which had pushed the war on cash to the maximum seem now to slow down, while Germans still pursue their love affair with paper money, with record levels of cash payments, even for large purchases. German newspaper The Local says “According to Barkow Consulting, only about every twentieth payment in Germany is processed by credit card. Statistically speaking, says founder Peter Barkow, each German citizen keeps €2,200 cash at home. Germans moreover carried an average of €103 in their wallets in 2016, a study by the European Central Bank revealed, compared with an average only €65 in the Eurozone.” According to reporter Jill Petzinger, cash simply enables Germans to feel more in control of their finances.

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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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