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.