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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 destruction of cash means the suppression of a daily and central means of payment for people, especially the poor and the elderly. Its disappearance would force them to move to a new world in which their vulnerability to the global banking system would be even greater. It would place populations at the mercy of their banks. It would enable the State to monitor every single detail of their citizen’s economic decisions, suppressing the last place where private business can be conducted. It would make every single citizen exposed to the mounting threat of online fraud, which is now known to be far more destructive and damaging than old-fashioned cash thievery. Finally, it would bring into the all-digital and omnivorous monster of big data all our daily transactions.

The abolition of paper and metal currency is often presented as an improvement on the current way of doing business. It is indeed, but only for banks and governments, not so much for the citizens and customers which they are supposed to serve. Banks wish to suppress cash so that money would be trapped within the banking system, with nowhere else to go. Governmental incentive lies in the fact that every single transaction would be placed under State scrutiny.

Cash is the physical form of money, that with which we teach our children to master money, and the medium onto which we press our pride, as a people. It is the link between every citizen in a country, as a banknote makes no difference which class, wealth category or color the holder is from. The disappearance of cash would be an additional divide between citizens, a further rip in the social fabric.

But most of all, the destruction of cash is a national, cultural and philosophical choice. Beyond the aberrant possibility of reducing our options, and not increasing them, the question of personal freedom and unity is reflected. According to the angles, the case will sometimes be made that a cashless world would be more efficient, or at least cost-effective. That may be, in some cases true, but the question must be asked: efficient and cost-effective for whom? And at the expense of what? Even if the cashless trend is sometimes called a revolution, due to the massive ripple marks it would send through the economies, it would amount to the increased power of banks, governments  and  corporations, and the reduced freedom of citizens, namely the most vulnerable.

In any case, whatever the answer we want to give; whatever the angle from which we approach the subject, it cannot be satisfying to see a question so crucial to our daily lives and our personal freedom being confiscated purely and simply by specialists. Before being a technical and financial one, the discussion about the cashless society is an ethical debate that should be held at all levels of the society.










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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