Going “Moneyless”

21 09 2010

Spending a year without spending a dollar

As I am newly unemployed, the idea of purposeful unemployment intrigues me.

In 2008, businessman Mark Boyle went on a one-year hiatus from making money and lived in a trailer on an organic farm, trading labor for rent and foraging for all of his food. Now, the “Moneyless Man” has published a book about his experiences, which he describes as overwhelmingly positive. The book offers tips for reducing your expenses, as well as your carbon footprint.

I wonder if Boyle was motivated more by his economics training, a desire for sustainability, or an escape from the rat race? Many ethical issues arise here, from foraging for food in supermarket dumpsters to the fact that Boyle was still technically earning a living, only in exchange for accommodation instead of cash. I am definitely interested to know more about what he sought to demonstrate or learn through his experiment, and I love his idea for a  “freeconomy community,” in which members teach each other skills at free events.

Are you interested in Boyle’s story, or do you think he went too far to prove a point?




One response

21 09 2010
Susan S.

I think that many of us COULD like on a lot less (barter, part-time work, etc.), but it is more difficult in some ways. Part of what we spend our money on is convenience–after all, when is the last time you got up in the morning and said, “today I’m going to spend the day boiling down lye and making soap?” I have a book published in 1993 by Charles Long called How to Survive Without a Salary. He and his family had been living like this for a long time and make money through barter and seasonal work, mostly. He talks alot about the difference between needs and wants, barter, second hand goods, making do with what you have available for free, doing without, etc. It’s a good book for anyone considering living with less money, but it is definitely a complete lifestyle change and not to be entered into lightly!

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