What ethical framework underlies the case for the cashless debit card youdescribed above?

The cashless debit cardIn 2007 the Australian government first embarked on so-called income managementpolicies with regard to certain forms of welfare payments in certain communities. Thebasic idea of income management is that control over spending by recipients ofpayments is limited in a number of ways – some part of the payment may be withheldby Centrelink in order to pay for essentials such as rent on the individual’s behalf; thecomponent of the payment available as cash is strictly limited; payments might berestricted to particular electronic means (the BasicsCard); particular classes of goods(pornography, alcohol, gambling) could not be purchased using the specifiedelectronic means.In 2016 this approach evolved into the cashless debit card program. This involves an80:20 split of welfare payments with 20% going into the recipient’s bank account and80% going onto a debit card that can be used for purchases as usual wherever pointof-salefacilities are available. The card cannot be used to withdraw cash, or used atbusinesses that primarily supply gaming or alcohol products. Recently the FederalGovernment announced that all people under income management in the NorthernTerritory would be moved to the cashless debit cardThe stated intent of the scheme is to reduce socially harmful outcomes in communitieswith high welfare dependence, by essentially forcing expenditure towards basic healthand education maintenance and other supporters of child welfare in particular, andaway from expenditures regarded as harmful and injurious. A recent discussion of thescheme from someone with involvement in its implementation can be found here andanother perspective on evaluation here.An account critical of the approach can be readhere.1. (a) What are the economic justifications for distributing welfare payments viathe cashless debit card? [5 marks](b) Are they consistent with the standard economic argument that payment inkind is inferior in welfare terms to payment in cash? [see Unit 3 lectures, Week 4]?[5 marks]2. (a) What ethical framework underlies the case for the cashless debit card youdescribed above? [See Unit 5 lectures, Week 5] Explain. [5 marks]

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