Posted on: 08/06/2012

Those who argue for a continuing role for cash in the World often speak of the "freedom" cash gives ordinary people.

In case you balk at the use of the word "ordinary", I mean 95% plus of the World's population. In short, nearly all of us.

When one looks around the World today, there is little genuine freedom.

Many people are shackled by poverty - 3 Billion live on less than £1.75 per day.

Many women, who make up just under half of the World's 7 Billion population, have little freedom. They often suffer the dual tyranny of poverty and repression by male-oriented religions.

Political freedom is almost non-existent in most parts of our World. There are a number of countries that do not even pretend to be in any way democratic and others, like Russia, where democratic processes have been hijacked by those who see having a permanent hold on power as their birthright. Seeing the leaders of China and Russia agreeing does not signify any level of approval from their electorates.

Then there are the Supranational companies which cannot be controlled by any one Government. Oil companies used to be prime examples of this in the past but now media empires, Financial Institutions and International Card Schemes are also well-placed to threaten individual democratic nations.

So we live in a World where freedom is under threat almost everywhere and in almost every way imaginable.

No one would suggest that cash is the answer to all the World's woes. However, there is no doubt that having liquid assets such as cash is a security blanket for most of the World's population. That's why, in times of stress, there are "runs" on banks. We "ordinary" people want our cash in our own hands, not in a bank's safe.

Of course, there are risks in having cash. Cash can be lost or stolen. However, card fraud is a much greater threat to the stability of the World's financial systems than any security risk that impacts cash. Every year, hundreds of millions of pounds of card fraud goes on around the globe, ultimately paid for by ordinary people in the shape of bank/card scheme charges and higher retail prices.

With 85% of all transactions in the World still carried out using cash, there is no doubt that banknotes are the choice of ordinary people everywhere.

Many more people use cash than have a right to cast a democratic vote. That lack of real political freedom guarantees the future of cash: those who can't vote prefer notes.

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