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article imageMan who has lived without money for 18 months to start community

By Stephanie Dearing     Oct 16, 2010 in Lifestyle
The media likes to call Mark Boyle "the moneyless man," a name Boyle has adopted. Leaving behind his life as an economics graduate, Boyle began an experimental year of living without money.
Boyle loved his experience of living without money so much, he said he will not stop. Ironically, the man who hasn't spent a cent since 2008 is planning on buying land, using the proceeds from the sale of his book towards that purpose. The book is called The moneyless man: A year of freeconomic living, and was published last month.
Boyle has taken his experience, which he calls "freeconomics" and is starting up a freeconomic community. Boyle's website, promotes learning and sharing skills, along with sharing tools and space. Anyone can join Boyle's virtual freeconomy. The site says "There are now 25995 members in 151 countries sharing 380059 skills, 76830 tools and 406 spaces.
To join them it couldn't be easier. All you need to do is sign-up (for FREE naturally).
You can then add the skills, tools and spaces that you are happy to share with other members at any stage and at your convenience.
Once you've joined you can then search for whatever you need - a skill, tool, space or member. You will then be presented with a list of everyone within a certain distance of your marker (the distance is defined by you) who is willing to share whatever you are looking for, with the nearest person to your doorstep listed first. You then send them a mail through the site, and hopefully arrange to meet up on your own terms in real life!"
Boyle stresses face-to-face interactions, and explains the philosophy driving the freeconomy idea by saying "The Freeconomy Community's aim is to help reconnect people in their local communities through the simple act of sharing. Not only is sharing our resources better for the environment, it saves you money and builds friendships with those people who live closest to you. It is what we call a WIN-WIN-WIN situation."
Boyle actively encourages other people to try going without money. In a blog he wrote in August, he recommends people interested in the lifestyle take on the new lifestyle in steps. Why? Because "... We are now wage slaves from the moment we're born. The lives of the overwhelming majority of us are prescribed even before we leave our mother's womb. Its all so predictable. At four or five years of age we're sent to school (a.k.a. wage slave factory farms), and after twelve or thirteen years of highly pressurised education and exams there, we have the choice of either embarking on further education or entering the monetary economy, so that we can then pay for such things as our council taxes (which, lets face it, is a tax on being alive, and which - through ignorance of the law - forces people into the monetary system whether they feel it violates their basic human rights or not).
We then work for over forty years - many of us in mono-skilled, monotonous, creativity-less jobs we certainly wouldn't dream of doing if it weren't for the fact it was giving us the e-money to pay for things that we can no longer do for ourselves. Then we become pensioners. Then we die."
In Boyle's first blog post about living without money, he said he was inspired by Gandhi. After a year of planning, Boyle began his journey into moneyless living in January 2008. The journey was not easy at first, and Boyle shared some of his experiences with readers on his blog.
Judging by the messages posted in Boyle's freeconomics forum, it appears that there are many others who yearn to set themselves free from the shackles of wage slavery. Perhaps this trend is an offshoot of the growing popularity of the slow food movement and its spin-offs, such as slow design, which the New York Times describes as being a movement that started in the kitchen and spread to the rest of the house.
Boyle lives on a farm, where he works three days a week in exchange for being able to park his trailer on the property. While he gathers wild plants for food and makes his own toothpaste, Boyle also barters his labour for other foodstuffs.
Boyle told Mother Jones he receives approximately 100 emails a week from people wanting to live in his planned community. Wishing to ensure success, Boyle said he is launching the first freeconomic village with approximately 14 other people. Boyle and his fellow freeconomians will be giving workshops so that others can learn particular skills.
Boyle is not the only person to live without money, although he is the only one presently creating an alternate economy that is based on sharing and bartering. Others who have eschewed currency on a long-term basis include an American woman who called herself the Peace Pilgrim had gone without money for 30 years, while a German psychotherapist named Heidemarie Schwermer has now lived without money for 12 years. A movie was released last year documenting how Schwermer lives without money.
More about Mark boyle, Moneyless man, Freeconomic living, Slow food, Community
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