I just got done with “The Moneyless Man – a year of freeconomic living” by Mark Boyle. After thinking that the book would mainly be about the skills of self-reliance that Mark would learn and implement in his year I was quite surprised to be led in a different direction.
Actually, one of his most important lessons learned in living a year without money was how important developing relationships with other people in his life would be. Not learning how to garden or make toothpaste out of natural materials or how to repair his bike when needed. It was the other people in his life that he helped – and was helped in return. Being the extrovert that he is he probably had an inkling of this already, but the lesson was really driven home after his year of experiment.
This book led me more to contemplate money, mortgages, and the modern banking system. Fortunately, Mark keeps his message positive and an eye on what we can do to be proactive in changing the system. After reading and listening to so many messages about doom and gloom with peak oil collapse being just around the corner it was a relief to listen to Mark’s perspective. Although his ideal – for the money system to go away – is probably unattainable, it’s still an admirable goal to set up a Freeconomy community in the UK.
Even though he’s based in the UK near Bristol, England, his site – Just for the Love of It – is open to everyone worldwide. It’s an online community and forum where people can share their skills, time, and things. I find his approach a lot more do-able than The Natural Step. Granted, I’m not thoroughly educated in the ways of The Natural Step, but after reading their very dry book a couple years ago I came away a little overwhelmed with the complexity of their approach. It’s a read more for city and State planners than real human beings. Mark puts the ideal of the Gift Economy into a very reachable place for the average person.
Thanks, Mark, for a wonderful and thought-provoking read. May the torch of inspiration keep burning with you!