I was thinking the other day: why do we have money? Why are we slaves to the system? Can we break free?
It made me think about whether anyone can live without money. After Googling the idea, it amazed me how many people do live without money. There’s even books about it. For example, in Life without Money, the “book brings together diverse voices presenting strong arguments against our money-based system's ability to improve lives and prevent environmental disaster. Crucially, it provides a direct strategy for undercutting capitalism by refusing to deal in money, and offers money-free models of governance and collective sufficiency”.
Then there are people who have lived without money for years. For example, there’s a guy in America who has lived in a cave for the last decade+ …
… and there’s Jo Nemeth, who has lived without cash for five years.
How do they live?
- Offer service instead of cash
- Share and swap
- Don't waste anything
- Grow your own food
- Live like your grandparents
- It's OK to ask for help
It made me sit back and think. I have a mortgage, utility bills, payments, direct debits, standing orders … the list goes on. How could I live without money? Well, some people can!
Living without money runs counter to most of our cultural understandings of success and happiness; however, it is a choice that more and more people are leaning towards. In addition to a decrease in stress over financial concerns, living without money offers many possible benefits such as reducing your environmental impact, increasing your understanding and appreciation of what you have, and helping you live a more purposeful life. Even if you decide that you cannot live entirely without spending money, these techniques will help you reduce wastefulness in your life.
Interestingly, those who take this route make it clear it is not a simple choice. But it is a choice. For example Mark Boyle, author of The Moneyless Man:
When I began living without money 18 months ago, the most common question people asked me was "How on earth are you going to eat?". An understandable remark, but an insight into the burgeoning degrees of separation between the stomach and the soil … the answer to this FAQ is in the query itself – I eat from the earth. Food is free, and indiscriminately so. The apple tree doesn't ask if you've got enough cash when you go to pick its fruit; it just gives to whoever wants an apple. We are the only species, out of millions on the planet, that is deluded enough to think that it needs money to eat.
Chris M Skinner
Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, TheFinanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal's Financial News. To learn more click here...