When going cashless means more exclusion and poverty

When going cashless means more exclusion and poverty
Modern technology, coupled with a strong reliance on the internet, has created the path to a potentially cashless society. However, this futuristic utopia could quickly abandon marginalized communities if we are not delicate with the transition.

At first glance, one could assume everyone benefits from going cashless. There would be no crumpled-up dollar bills, no scrounging for quarters when you want something from the vending machine and no stress of counting exact change with a line of people behind you.

The concept of a majorly digital world is not unheard of. In the 1950s, U.S. consultants and researchers in business technology proposed the idea of a “checkless society.” As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, we are now hyper-aware of the uncleanliness of currency that travels from person to person. As a consumer, there is no strong incentive to use cash.

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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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