Cashless

Mark Boyle is chap from Britain who lives without money. I used to read his stuff in the Guardian, but I’d sort of forgotten about him until my friend Greg posted a link to his archived columns today. I hope Mr Boyle is still going strong.

What have I learned? That friendship, not money, is real security. That most western poverty is of the spiritual kind. That independence is really interdependence. And that if you don’t own a plasma screen TV, people think you’re an extremist.

Mark lived in a caravan, powered his laptop and telephone with solar power, ate homegrown and foraged food, and spent his time writing and using his laptop for activism. None of this cost a penny after the initial setup. I may be wrong, but I think he lives in an eco-village now, still independent of money.

Like many Escapologists (from no-money caravan dwellers to big-money extreme early retirees), Mark shows it can be done. With a little perseverance in one direction or another, we can break away from conventional habits and have more rewarding, more efficient, greener lives. It’s not just for our own benefit either: removing oneself from the cash economy is for everyone’s benefit, no matter what those growth-enthusiasts say.

All I am trying to say is that I believe money is like oil: if we are going to use it, let’s at least use it to build sustainable infrastructure for the future, and not meaningless tat.

This is probably a nod towards E. F. Schumacher’s Small is Beautiful, in which the economist suggests we use fossil fuels only as capital investment: that is to use them only to build better, more sustainable energy resources and infrastructures. We’re starting to do that now, especially in places like Germany and Scotland but it took way longer than it should have done.

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Good Gough

Regular reader François draws our attention to this Escapological quote from the Naked Rambler, who is sadly in prison again.

I wasn’t working. I spent my time looking after the kids and going for walks. One day I was walking and something happened. I realised I was good. Being British, buried in our upbringing is that we’re not good or have to watch ourselves – maybe it comes from religion, or school. I realised that at a fundamental level I’m good, we’re all good, and you can trust that one part of yourself.

Originally from an article in the Guardian.

What Stephen Gough says is correct. You are good. You’re not a human resource for someone else to exploit. Don’t allow yourself or other good people to be pushed around by gods or governments.

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Pixels and Print

New Escapologist is not just a blog. It’s not a blog at all really.

This blog is the online companion to a printed publication called (you guessed it) New Escapologist. The print editions are painstakingly typeset, printed on quality paper, have book-style spines so that they look good on your shelf, are written and illustrated by writers and artists from all over the world, and have their own team of cheerful smurf-like editors. We are very committed to the old-fashioned world of print, even though we support the enterprise with this website.

Everyone is welcome (encouraged even!) to follow this blog for free by RSS and to engage further using Twitter and Facebook and email. But it’s important to remember that it’s not the main work.

Our online activities are the tip of the iceberg: little more than a singing and dancing business card. Contents of the print editions are not usually posted here, and idle thoughts from the blog don’t usually survive into print.

The purpose of the blog is to help build a kind of community around our work; to keep everyone posted about it; to share links, quotes, and quick thoughts; and to solicit your Escapological ideas, feedback and thoughts. If you like the blog, the print editions will blow your brains out. In a good way.

We value your blog comments, your email, your tweets, retweets, social bookmarks, and mentions on Facebook. It all helps to keep our enthusiasm going. I’m not sure we’d be up to our seventh print edition if it weren’t for the online companionship.

As it goes, though, do remember that this is all to support our print editions, available always in our ye olde internette shoppe. Thanks! x

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