Living Without Money

Not a new story, but one that seems to keep resurfacing.  Maybe there’s a crumb of wisdom that intrigues people about this concept.  Most people in the Western World have never, for a second, considered life without money, yet for most of the world, and nearly all of our history, this was the natural condition.

Can we all do it tomorrow? No. Can we move toward a less abstract, personally productive life? Yes.  Click the photo to read the short article or link below to visit the website and his book.

Mark Boyle has a cuppa out the front of his caravan. He has forgone money and says he has found happiness.

“I believe the fact that we no longer see the direct repercussions our purchases have on the people, environment and animals they affect is the factor that unites these problems. The degrees of separation between the consumer and the consumed have increased so much that it now means we’re completely unaware of the levels of destruction and suffering embodied in the ‘stuff’ we buy.”

This is the most salient point that so many of us miss in our daily routine.

“Very few people actually want to cause suffering to others; most just don’t have any idea that they directly are. The tool that has enabled this separation is money, especially in its globalised format.”

“I am not anti anything. I am pro-nature, pro-community and pro-happiness. And that’s the thing I don’t get – if all this consumerism and environmental destruction brought happiness, it would make some sense. But all the key indicators of unhappiness – depression, crime, mental illness, obesity, suicide and so on are on the increase. More money it seems, does not equate to more happiness.”

Mark Boyle is the founder of the Freeconomy Community The Moneyless Man, a book about his year without money, is available here and elsewhere on the web.

7 thoughts on “Living Without Money

  1. The problem is medical care and what about when you get too old? If you get any kind of serious medical condition that involves doctors/hospital your done. Charity care will only do so much for you. And when you get too old if you dont have younger family/friends to take care of you you will be sol. Its an awesome idea… work to live vs live to work.

    1. Yes indeed to all your comments. If you get to read the whole thing, it’s more of a thought experiment than a suggestion that we all do this. He does need to participate in the system, but chose not to do it directly (his caravan came from money, he hitchhiked with people who owned cars and purchased gasoline, etc.) but his decision to not participate in direct consumption, i.e., not harming anyone through his purchases, is what it’s all about.

      Thanks for reading and comment Deryk!

    1. Mayyyybe. But I like to think he has created a good thought experiment that takes us to a place where life isn’t all about blind consumerism and not thinking about the repercussions of our spending.

      1. Yes, but have you wondered how its possible for us to be blind to so much media and communication that tells us everyday that the world is dangerously polluted?

        Are we are becoming increasingly “alienated” from nature (and human nature) and so are less interested in it’s well being (do we have less empathy)? Have we “commodified” so many of the things around us, that now we value things with a price tag more than things that are free like nature?

        Check out the Frankfurt School and specifically the works of Theodor Adorno and Max Horkeimer?

        P.S. Clearly living without money is not the solution. But it’s an experience that can detach us from culture and it’s distractions, to be introspective and re-awaken certain human and natural characteristics. Probably all religions tell of the importance of periods of self initiated isolation. Living without money seems to follow the same principle.

      2. Yes indeed! I’m shocked by people’s behavior every day. Even people who think they are “good” are participating in the “bad”. We are so alienated from nature it is astounding to think we can survive for long.

        I think we humans can easily compartmentalize and blind ourselves to anything we don’t want to see. It’s especially easy for the BIG problems as I think people feel helpless to do anything about them. It’s easy to get lost in our little worlds and ignore the big picture. I’ve seen sweatshops firsthand and I suspect nearly everyone knows that they exist, yet it doesn’t stop people from shopping at Target or WalMart or Old Navy. I can rant about this for a long time but won’t here. I do like to spread a little knowledge around if possible with the blog though without getting preachy.

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