While perusing through the blogs that I read daily I came across this linkon These Days in French Life. Its a thought provoking article written by a man (Mark Boyle) who has decided to live for a year without money.
Its a compelling and extreme idea, living without money. Unheard of in our western consumer based society, at least on a voluntary basis, and not something most people would contemplate. I certainly am not willing to make such a dramatic change in my own life.
Obviously its not possible or even advisable to throw money out the window and have everyone learn to live without, and certainly that is not what the author is advocating. Still it’s interesting to contemplate what life might look like if we lived in a barter based rather than consumer based society.
“I believe the key reason for so many problems in the world today is the fact we no longer have to see directly the repercussions of our actions. The degrees of separation between the consumer and the consumed have increased so much that people are completely unaware of the levels of destruction and suffering involved in the production of the food and other “stuff” we buy. The tool that has enabled this disconnection is money.
If we grew our own food, we wouldn’t waste a third of it as we do today. If we made our own tables and chairs, we wouldn’t throw them out the moment we changed the interior decor. If we had to clean our own drinking water, we wouldn’t waste it so freely.”
Its a very sound and well thought out point of view and I absolutely agree with him. We have no connection to or appreciation of the majority of the goods we consume. We absolutely take for granted that everything will be provided to us. For a sum. Our money allows us our want without knowledge of the consequences of that want much less the responsibility of it . How much more appreciative are we of being fed when we’ve grown the food that feeds us, of being warm when we’ve cut the wood that warms us, when we have a real understanding of the sacrifice of the animals we eat and the absence of the tree that once stood in our path?
The idea of a world without money is an appealing one for me. I’m not quite ready to shred my bankcard just yet, but I’d like to think one day I might in favor of building dependable barter relationships within my own community and exploring my own self reliance.
In the meantime I will continue to try and be the change I want to see in the world even if it’s in a smaller way than living for a year without money.