The Cashless Debate about Freedom and Risks must exist

The average citizen has become aware of the threat of government overreach, acutely cognisant of the fact that their communications and digital transactions are not hidden safely away, that their every movement can be and is being tracked by unknown agents. Oh the wonders of modern technology…

The public debate about the merits of cashless societies has encouraged us to once again wade into esoteric deliberation on how to conserve our civil liberties, to fight back against this inaffable government- and big tech-led foray into our private-sphere. In the United States, citizens have become far more wary of data-protection since the Snowden affair, demonstrating that they “lack trust in key institutions – especially the federal government and social media sites – to protect their personal information.” Up to 73% of Americans believe the state abused its authority, using an ostensible terrorist threat to tighten its grip on power.

So does the move towards cashless economies present an existential threat to our civil liberties, personal freedoms and every-day way of life? The jury is still out, but we should remain wary.

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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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