Monday, 30 March 2015

Letting go of the need for money

After reading The Moneyless Manifesto by Mark Boyle (aka the Moneyless Man) I've become more and more convinced that learning to live free of the burden of money is a goal worth pursuing. My goal is not to do without money altogether but to become less reliant on it, and less stressed about getting more of it! I'm far from actually achieving this but here are my thoughts so far.

Firstly, don't get me wrong. I'm not one of those people who think money is bad. To the contrary, money is an excellent invention that allows us to trade more freely and efficiently. However I've found that the more I have to rely on money as my only means of trade the more tied I am to an economic system that I take serious issue with.

Without getting too carried away on my bandwagon my main concerns with our society's current reliance on money are:
  • The monetary system is no longer based on anything real. In fact it's based on debt. (If this sounds absurd you should take a look at the very informative animated film Money as Debt which explains this concept in simple terms). This means that in order for the system to keep working the majority of us need to owe money to the banks and pay interest on this debt. All too many of us have willingly taken up this yoke and in fact it is considered a fact of life in this day and age. 
  • The monetary system is controlled by an elite group of bankers and politicians who invest our life savings into all kinds of morally corrupt activities such as resource extraction, weapons manufacture and polluting industries. This unjust and environmentally irresponsible behaviour goes on in our name, even though we may disagree with it. If you have money in the bank you are contributing.
  • Reliance on money, and especially my obligation to repay any debt owed by me, keeps me chained to a 9 to 5 lifestyle that allows little freedom of movement. Instead of spontaneously moving through my life and taking up opportunities as they present themselves I am forced to maintain a rigid schedule dictated to me by my employer, or if I am lucky my clients.

Letting go of money is a frightening prospect for me. But the more I think about it the more I realise that the security we look for in money is really actually located in community. When we live in a supportive network of good folk who care about us we will always be ok. And when we put energy into these people, loving and supporting them through their trials, then we are investing in something real. This investment will pay off big time when we ourselves are in need.

Plus, we seem to have forgotten that there are other things we can trade besides money. Our time, skills and the products of our labour are all things we can share and trade with others.

Learning to let go of money is something I'm learning slowly. I know it requires a strong community as well as the willingness to live my life without many of the consumer 'essentials' that are marketed so strongly by the media, such as fashionable clothes, the latest technologies, books and music. Luckily our society is so wasteful that many of these items become available second-hand very quickly after they are released!

Have you tried becoming less reliant on money? Please let us know how you're faring...


joel henry said...

The other day I was strapped for cash and I got to experience how incredibly freeing it was to not have to worry about money......I could just trust the universe to support me.....It felt great..

Anonymous said...

Sounds great but pretty unrealistic!

Beth said...

It seems unfortuate to me that something which was once a reality can now be deemed as unrealistic. I have often gone into this idea and I can get so far, but my problem always now comes down to my sense of freedom, and the part that travel plays in that today. Especially having a partner from overseas, how can I see a future without travel? It would not be fair to either of us, and travel is money, a lot of money, or less money and a lot of time, not to mention the environmental impacts. This is just a little place I keep getting caught up in, when I try to imagine a self sufficient and sustainable future. Perhaps it will have to be one of many exceptions I will no doubt make.

Julian said...

Great article...Very similar to Michael Moores, Capitalism Movie, and how Wall street was affected the 2008 crash. Thanks for posting a brave article.