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A Cashless Society Working Party

Objectives

The objectives of the Working Party are:

  • to consider the effects, benefits and problems that might emerge from a Cashless Society
  • to learn from research already conducted and from experiences gained in other economic regions
  • to publicise the findings of the working party internally within the IFoA by means of one or more of: i) a sessional paper, ii) presentations at actuarial conferences both home and abroad, iii) article for The Actuary or iv) other methods as deemed suitable
  • If thought necessary, to widen the findings to a wider audience of interested parties

The Working Party will concentrate particularly on the UK however will draw on evidence emanating from developments in other countries/economic areas from their experiences both now and in the past.

Definitions

The Working Party will determine how it wishes to define the term “Cashless Society” and how this differs from a definition of a digital currency.      

Effects of Introducing a Cashless Society
The Working Party will examine the potential effects of introducing a Cashless Society and then examine whether these effects are beneficial or detrimental to society or societies.

The WP will look at the mechanics of how a Cashless Society might be introduced and consider who the stakeholders might be, both for and against any transition.  The WP will be prepared to approach stakeholders and ask if they might wish to feed into the research.

Inter alia the Working Party will also consider the following:

  • The level, if any, in the reduction of tax evasion.  It will consider the size of the “Hidden Economy” and how much tax evasion emanates from it including the types of taxation that might be affected most and how this might change from country to country.
  • The reduction, if any, in the levels of crime including counterfeiting.  It will consider the effect on economic activity from a reduction of crime and how crime might change and how criminal activity might change.
  • The reduction, if any, in the levels of illegal immigration.
  • The reduction, if any, in the levels of benefit fraud and the effects on the economy.
  • The costs involved from the minting, printing, handling, insuring and transporting of notes and coin
  • The general effects on economic activity without cash. The WP will consider if economic activity would be increased or reduced from a cashless society and by how much.   It will consider if there may be some slowdown in the economy but if more money raised in taxation might increase public expenditure to balance this.
  • Social questions such as the plight of the “unbanked”, the elderly, the vulnerable and the technically naïve.
  • The technology and equipment needed to replace cash in society and the difficulty of rolling it out across an economic territory.  
  • How other forms of monetary transfer such as Dollars, Euros, Gold, other physical assets or digital currencies could be used instead of “cash” and how this might be minimised.
  • Political issues, including how such a possible fundamental social change might be accepted as a political manifesto.
  • How a Cashless Society might help a totalitarian government to control or even punish its “dissidents”?

Once the Working Party has discussed these and other issues, further analysis might be considered to discover what countries or economic regions may be most or least suitable for transition to a Cashless Society.

Outputs

A Cashless Society - Benefits, Risks and Issues

The above session paper will be delivered at Staple Inn on 22nd January 2018 - Book your place

Chair: Ian Collier  
Membership: 5  
Established: 2016  

Related documents

Contact Details

If you want more information about this research working party please contact the Communities Team.

professional.communities@actuaries.org.uk