Will coronavirus lead to a cashless society?

COVID-19 has changed society as we know it over just a few months — working from home, social distancing, masks and countries across the globe on the brink of an economic crash. Once upon a time the concept of a cashless society may have sounded like it was straight from science fiction, but the rise of e-commerce, flexibility of banking and the growing number of ‘no cash accepted’ signs in physical shops has left purses empty, with the exception of a debit or credit card.

Despite the direction we appear to be heading, no society exists yet that is entirely cash-free. Cash has almost been eliminated in several countries, Sweden being an interesting example, where cash withdrawals have been declining by around 10% every year. In 2019, just 1% of Swedens GDP was made up of cash transactions.

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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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