In his book, The Moneyless Man, A Year of Freeconomic Living, author Mark Boyle outlines his adventure of a cash-less life. The year requires a lot of preparation (no, not stocking cupboards); time spent outlining his values and how to live more effectively in line with them. He prepares for moral dilemmas and sets rules for himself as far as using computers, phones, and transportation.
Like “No Impact Man”, Boyle takes extreme measures to reduce his footprint and impact on the earth, and live more harmoniously with the environment. While few of us are going to follow their examples to their level of commitment, both do raise good questions about what we “need” and what we mindlessly consume.
What I really like about Boyle’s approach is his questioning the very existence of money. Dollars, as we know, are just paper that we have assigned value to. Any more, they are often a piece of plastic or even just computers tallies of what we “owe.” This system is relatively new and is evolving. Why not, Boyle suggests, move to an economy of giving? Why can’t people just give of their services and skills, and trust that someone else will provide what they need? It is a beautiful thought, one that focuses on abundance and sharing and gratitude, rather than hoarding and protecting and worrying.
I am happy that people are starting to imagine possibilities for a different kind of society–more cooperative, compassionate, and meaningful. We all have everything we need to help each other survive on this planet. Now….we just have to figure out how to make it happen.