Cashless Society May Doom Panhandlers

People are carrying less money on them in the digital age: Megan McArdle

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 8, 2014 4:54 PM CDT

(Newser) – If you're like most, you carry fewer dollar bills and coins around these days than in the past. We're edging ever closer to a cashless society, and Megan McArdle at Bloomberg observes that this trend could take a toll on a group that often doesn't get much thought: panhandlers. The op-ed piece isn't about whether it's good or bad to give, only about the inescapable fact that less money in our pockets will surely translate into less money for those seeking spare change.

Sure, the digital age can also bring more opportunities to give to those in need—as with crowdfunding campaigns like this one—but "a cashless society will cause a marked change in the streetscape of cities," writes McArdle. "Panhandling has been around as long as we’ve had cities, and neither law nor custom has ever been able to fully eradicate it. But technology just might." Click for her full column.

  (Shutterstock)
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