Why a ‘cashless’ economy would hurt the poor: A lesson from India

India recently tried to reduce the use of cash in its economy by eliminating, overnight, two of its most widely used bills in what was called demonetization.

While the effort – initially explained as an attempt to curb “black money” – has been a failure in many respects, it was part of an ongoing and global push toward cashlessness.

What India and other governments have failed to contend with, however, is the adverse effect such severe policies have on the poor, who seldom use banks.

India’s working poor rely almost exclusively on cash, with about 97 percent of all transactions involving an exchange of rupees. With 93 percent of the country working in informal off-the-books jobs, most transactions entail personalized relationships rather than standardized forms of legal contract or corporate institutions.

My own research on the persistence of Delhi’s informal recycling economy shows just how important cash is to low-income laborers. How Delhi’s  informal recycling economy works READ MORE

Ransomware attacks leave customers powerless, companies ignore cyber threat

FB..NotPetya ransomware attack spreads around the world it’s making clear how important it is for everyone – and particularly corporations – to take cybersecurity seriously. The companies affected by this malware include power utilities, banks and technology firms. Their customers are now left without power and other crucial services, in part because the companiesdid not take action and make the investments necessary to better protect themselves from these cyberattacks.

Cybersecurity is becoming another facet of the growing movement demanding corporate social responsibility. This broad effort has already made progress toward getting workers paid a living wage, encouraging companies to operate zero-waste production plantsand practice cradle-to-cradle manufacturing – and even getting them to donate products to people in need.

The overall idea is that companies should make corporate decisions that reflect obligations not just to owners and shareholders, customers and employees, but to society at large and the natural environment. As a scholar of cybersecurity law and policy and READ MORE