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What Is The Cashless Con?

by Alison Tennent, The Garrulous Glaswegian 2 months ago in activism

No, it's not about hygiene

Image Source Gerd Altmann, Pixabay License: free for commercial use

What is the Cashless Con?

The Cashless Con is being promoted in Australia and several other countries as supporting public hygiene, safety measures and technological progress. But actually, it’s a means for governmental control of people in lower socio-economic classes. While governments worldwide seem content to allow billionaires to pay little or no tax and reap astonishing benefits from predatory practices, they also seem determined to punish poor people for being poor. The prospect of ever-tightening reigns on any minuscule amounts of cash that struggling people may have access to and a push to monitor and scrutinise each and every cent being spent or saved by the poor is imminent. Under the false guise of health restrictions and tech progress, the Haves harming the Have-Nots while pretending to care about them has never been easier.

For lazy businesses who just want to offer less service and choice to the customer, enforced financial exclusion is just a side effect, not necessarily the goal.

This is a well-studied area. We know that enforced cashless systems cause harm to vulnerable people. If you’re thinking hey, it’s just progress, you can’t hold back the tide, and anyway nobody gets hurt, you’d be wrong.

I worked in mental health and disability for several years, so perhaps I have a better understanding of harms caused than the average consumer does. I saw the practical issues vulnerable people face negotiating online systems and technology. I understand that the “solutions” lazy businesses offer vulnerable people are often not accessible or practical for many and will lead to financial exclusion and further difficulties for many of our more defenceless citizens.

So what are the actual harms of the Cashless Con?

1. People in abusive relationships may lose any hope of financial independence without access to cash. If you think there are easy ways around this for most, you are speaking from a place of great good fortune and should reconsider.

2. Elders and vulnerable people who rely on others to pay on their behalf are forced to give private information such as card PINs, and hand over access to accounts when the Cashless Con is enforced.

3. People with physical or mental health problems often find using digital services difficult, forcing those who cannot do so without difficulty to use digital services instead of cash adds a further barrier to being functional in society.

4. Those in society who are financially poor often rely on cash to ensure that they budget properly. Paying electronically increases spending amongst low socio-economic groups, those who can least afford it.

5. Digital fraud will naturally increase.

6. Loss of privacy. It’s not just criminals who don’t want every detail of their transactions stored by a data provider.

7. Reports from Sweden, which has enforced cashless transactions, show that vulnerable people are experiencing financial exclusion, no longer able to access public transport and essential services, even chemists are enforcing this exclusion.

8. Any problems with the internet or tech leads to a chaotic environment in an enforced cashless society.

There may also be other harms we are not yet aware of which will come to light.

The Cashless Con won’t affect me negatively; These days, I’m in a fortunate position in many ways. However, that doesn’t stop me from speaking up about injustices. If you, as a business owner, had already decided to go cashless prior to the pandemic, I wouldn’t have shopped with you then either.

Don't let them fool you, it’s not about hygiene. It's disingenuous at best that the Cashless Con is being sold to us as socially beneficial, under the vague claim that it has something to do with hygiene. Let us be very clear. It has nothing to do with hygiene.

"The World Health Organization pushed back...on a report that people should beware of cash as coronavirus spreads. “We did NOT say that cash was transmitting coronavirus,” WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib told MarketWatch in an email. “We were misrepresented,” she said. "

You handle objects other people have handled every time you step into a shop. Deal with cash as you do everything else you encounter outside. Continue to wash your hands frequently and use hand sanitiser and good hygiene practices.

We may or may not be able to stop the Cashless Con from eventually being enforced by controlling governments and lazy business owners. But that doesn’t mean I won’t put up a fight.

And if you care about vulnerable people, you should too.

Alison Tennent, The Garrulous Glaswegian
Alison Tennent, The Garrulous Glaswegian
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Alison Tennent, The Garrulous Glaswegian

Scottish by birth, bloodline & temperament, Aussie by citizenship Eclectic, passionate, something for everyone. Links to all my writing, PodCasts and videos here:

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