Warehouse K
Filthy Lucre
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Existing In A World Without Money

By James Donahue

The economic crisis sweeping the United States and affecting the outcome of November elections is not unique. There appears to be a shortage of currency occurring all over the world and people are expressing their anger by turning against government leadership.

While some government agents may be involved, we suspect governments are not the crux of the problem. There has always been a certain amount of wealth in the world, but it now rests in the hands of a small minority of bankers and wealthy individuals who are choosing not to circulate it. Without a fair distribution, workers are losing their jobs, unable to pay the rent, feed their families or buy the goods manufactured by industry. It has become a chain reaction. Our old way of life is crumbling before our eyes.

To counteract this shortage of cash, many cities and towns throughout the United States and Europe have started printing script, or local money that can be circulated in participating stores and businesses.

The concept of locally printed script was created during the Great Depression. The way it works is that a group of businesses and individuals form a network to print their own currency. Then the script can be bought at a discount and spent at full value at participating stores. The script is not legal tender, but it is a legal way of doing business in America. It can only be used in participating stores and shops, and has no value outside of the community where it is printed.

We see an obvious flaw in this system. People need legal money to buy the script. If they have no real money to work with, even the locally printed script has no value to them. Thus to make it work correctly, there is a need to open the door for a system of bartering. In other words, employees agree to accept the script as payment for their labor then trade it for food, rent and medical services within the communities where they live.

People without jobs might trade personal belongings or offer their labor in exchange for script.

Then there is a dynamic alternative concept of existing without money. A recent story in the UK Guardian told of an experiment by Mark Boyle a Britain who successfully lived a year without money.

Boyle moved into a small mobile home that was given to him and worked on an organic farm in exchange for the privilege of parking it on the farm. He grew his own food, made a wood burning heater and cook stove out of thrown away materials, built an outdoor privy out of scrap wood and used unsold newspapers for toilet paper.

Fortunately Boyle remained in good health during his year in the wild and he said he gained a new perspective on life living close to nature and going without all of the electronic gadgets that fill our contemporary homes.

He said he did purchase a solar panel before he started his experiment and used it to provide a light and operate a laptop computer.

Boyle, who has since founded The Free Economy Community to help people reduce their dependence on money, said he felt amazingly free because he lived without having to pay bills for anything throughout his experiment.

He said he decided to do what he did after having what he called a “eureka moment” while talking with a friend about global issues such as sweatshops, environmental destruction, factory farms, animal testing labs, and wars over dwindling world resources.

“I realized I was looking at the world the wrong way – like a western doctor looks at a patient, focusing on symptoms more than root causes.” He said he realized that the common thread behind all of these issues has been money and greed.

Boyle said he made a lot of new and lasting friendships during his experimental year and learned that “friendship, not money, is real security. Most western poverty is of the spiritual kind.”