[content_protector password=”running”]If you do, you might be out of luck.

Actually, that’s not quite true; but Sweden, one of the Scandinavian countries of northern Europe, is about to be the first country in the world to become cashless.

That doesn’t mean that they won’t have any money at all, but it does mean an end to carrying around coins and notes. Instead, all transactions – all buying and selling – will be carried out electronically.

It seems an absurd step. Imagine a world without cash: no pocket money, no visits from the tooth fairy – it all seems a little tricky. But that’s not the real problem. Think of all the times when you might need a little bit of cash. What about making a small donation to charity, or dropping a few coins to someone – maybe a busker or someone homeless – asking for money? Do all street performers need to be armed with an Eftpos terminal or a payWave device?

But the more I think about it, the more it sounds ideal. You’ll never lose coins down the back of the couch again (and those that are there suddenly become worthless). And, as all online payments are already carried out electronically, bus passes are mostly electronic tag-on and tag-off cards, many students have and use Eftpos cards, it isn’t such a big deal switching to being totally cashless.

Some people are worried about security. Is it easier to steal people’s money electronically or if the money is in cash? It also means that everyone – from birth – has to have a bank account.

Money hasn’t always existed. Before coins, people simply used to trade items. Coins or tokens made of valuable metals were then used in place of the traded items – kind of like a promise – and then notes were introduced in place of large amounts of coins.

So the next logical step is go totally cash free. I, for one, am in total agreement with this idea. I don’t like carrying money – I don’t like having pockets of small coins, and I use my Eftpos card for just about everything. Having, and looking after, cash is irritating. I’d prefer it safe in a bank and then taken out electronically as I need to spend it.

I think that New Zealand should follow Sweden’s lead and look to become a cashless country too.

What do you think?
[colored_box color=”green”]This is an opinion-based article designed to provoke debate, discussion and further inquiry amongst your students:  [/colored_box]  [colored_box color=”yellow”]Critical Thinking Challenges:

1. How would going totally cashless affect you?

2. How does money actually work?

3. Which people or parts of society would be most affected / least affected by a switch to being cashless?

4. How is the price of something worked out? Why is something, for example a bicycle, more expensive than a chocolate bar? Why might one brand of computer be more expensive than another one even though they both do the same job?

[/colored_box] [colored_box color=”green”]Practical Tasks:

Design your own currency. Think of a name to call your money (dollars, pounds and the euro are all taken…) and then work out the designs for your coins and notes. Which famous people would you put on yours? What coin and note amounts would you have?


[/colored_box] [colored_box color=”red”]Have Your Say: [socialpoll id=”[socialpoll id=”2307745″] [/colored_box]


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