Author Topic: Voluntarily "moneyless" people  (Read 4767 times)

El_Viajero

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Voluntarily "moneyless" people
« on: September 20, 2017, 08:27:03 AM »
So I've read about these guys like Mark Boyle, Daniel Suelo, et al. who are frequently referred to as "moneyless" or "living without money." They're voluntarily houseless (not homeless, since they've made homes in caves and under tarps or whatever... I actually prefer the word "houseless" to "homeless" in general, but that's another story) and deliberately quit working, living in a conventional dwelling, or Ė this is the big one Ė spending any of their own money.

And yeah, I'm using "any of their own" quite deliberately there.

I actually find lots to admire about these guys. Their impact on the environment is zilch compared to the average human. They've completely rejected the consumerist fantasy that entraps so many people. They reuse things that other people throw away. There's lots more, but you get the idea. They harm no one and I suppose they help humanity in some small way through their example.

All that being said, they're not "moneyless." They depend on other people having money in order to live as they do.

For example, Daniel Suelo eats others' leftover food. That's great. I mean, we throw away outrageous amounts of grub at an extraordinary (and completely unnecessary) cost to the environment. And yet, people still had to (channeling the little red hen here!) get paid to till the soil, sow the seed, care for the field, harvest the grain, process the bounty, ship it to distributors, sell it to baking operations, bake the bread, package it, ship it to retailers, and run it through the checkout line.

And someone had to buy the loaf, too.

What I'm getting at is that these guys' lifestyle is totally dependent on other people working for money. The same thing applies to their health care. In the event of an accident or severe illness, would they not seek medical attention? A lot of money went into (and continues to power) our ridiculously futuristic health care system that saves people from all sorts of shit that would have killed them less than a century ago.

Do these moneyless folk ever get online? Methinks many of them do. Other peoples' money pays for public libraries and the computers that live there.

Anyway, I'm not saying that these people are frauds. I'm not saying I don't admire them. In fact, I kind of DO admire them.

But to call them "moneyless" or say that they live "without money" is folly. They simply choose not to earn money for themselves. Indirectly, they spend others' money all the time.

Chesleygirl

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Re: Voluntarily "moneyless" people
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2017, 03:25:09 PM »
I like to read about Raphael Felmer (spelling?) who lives in Germany, mostly without money. I believe Germany has socialized healthcare and he also forages for leftover food behind grocery stores, barters his services for things like rent, and only pays for his water bill. He also admits he uses a small amount of money occasionally. I don't see how he's doing anything wrong. He eats food that would otherwise go to waste and wears clothing that would otherwise be thrown out. I also, never, ever buy new clothing. Am I wrong for not supporting clothing merchandisers?

Some of the reader comments were saying rude things about him. "He's a bum" and "he's too lazy to work". He's actually very hard working and doesn't sponge off other people. He doesn't steal or beg. People have crazy attitudes about anyone who chooses a different way of life.

I used to have a friend who berated me for selling my things to earn extra money. I do consignment sales several times a year and earn hundreds of dollars selling used clothing, toys, etc. She told me I was - get this - "GREEDY". I just had to stop talking to her because she was trying so hard to shame me about my life. She's always had decent paying jobs but not everyone is that fortunate.   
« Last Edit: September 20, 2017, 03:29:44 PM by Chesleygirl »

El_Viajero

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Re: Voluntarily "moneyless" people
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2017, 06:52:36 AM »
I like to read about Raphael Felmer (spelling?) who lives in Germany, mostly without money. I believe Germany has socialized healthcare and he also forages for leftover food behind grocery stores, barters his services for things like rent, and only pays for his water bill. He also admits he uses a small amount of money occasionally. I don't see how he's doing anything wrong.

There's nothing wrong with any of that. I just don't agree that it's accurate for these folks to say they're living without money. Money buys the food they eat, even if it isn't their money. Money also pays for universal healthcare/national health insurance.

Maybe this person doesn't claim to live "without money," though. The people I referred to in my post DO make that claim.

WhiteTrashCash

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Re: Voluntarily "moneyless" people
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2017, 07:00:31 AM »
In college, I took a required anthropology class that demonstrated that hunter/gatherers generally live happier lives than "civilized" people. They work about two hours a day and spend the rest of their time relaxing, socializing, playing games, telling stories, etc. Money has actually been a really destructive force for humanity.

That being said, civilization is what it is, so being "moneyless" is not a valid option for most people. Instead, we have to use the system to the best of our ability by ignoring the consumerist propaganda. We may not be able to reach the level of personal satisfaction that hunter/gatherers enjoy, but we can get close enough to it if we really try.

El_Viajero

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Re: Voluntarily "moneyless" people
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2017, 09:25:57 AM »
In college, I took a required anthropology class that demonstrated that hunter/gatherers generally live happier lives than "civilized" people. They work about two hours a day and spend the rest of their time relaxing, socializing, playing games, telling stories, etc. Money has actually been a really destructive force for humanity.

That being said, civilization is what it is, so being "moneyless" is not a valid option for most people. Instead, we have to use the system to the best of our ability by ignoring the consumerist propaganda. We may not be able to reach the level of personal satisfaction that hunter/gatherers enjoy, but we can get close enough to it if we really try.

This reminds me of an excellent story that was just published in the New Yorker: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/09/18/the-case-against-civilization

Apparently many anthropologists concur that it isn't money, specifically, that's the problem. It's that the agricultural revolution occurred at all. The development of agriculture ultimately gave rise to the modern state and most forms of tyranny and oppression that we associate with power. Money, of course, is a part of all that.

eostache

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Re: Voluntarily "moneyless" people
« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2017, 06:24:17 PM »
At this time Daniel Suelo is living with his elderly mother, taking care of her. (I live in the same area as him and his mother but I have not met him.) He has had to adjust to dealing with money to help his mother but he tries to keep his own needs as simple as possible. He has a blog. I also follow him on Facebook where he posts once a week or so.

Miss Piggy

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Re: Voluntarily "moneyless" people
« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2017, 07:03:14 PM »
In college, I took a required anthropology class that demonstrated that hunter/gatherers generally live happier lives than "civilized" people. They work about two hours a day and spend the rest of their time relaxing, socializing, playing games, telling stories, etc. Money has actually been a really destructive force for humanity.

That being said, civilization is what it is, so being "moneyless" is not a valid option for most people. Instead, we have to use the system to the best of our ability by ignoring the consumerist propaganda. We may not be able to reach the level of personal satisfaction that hunter/gatherers enjoy, but we can get close enough to it if we really try.

This reminds me of an excellent story that was just published in the New Yorker: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/09/18/the-case-against-civilization

Apparently many anthropologists concur that it isn't money, specifically, that's the problem. It's that the agricultural revolution occurred at all. The development of agriculture ultimately gave rise to the modern state and most forms of tyranny and oppression that we associate with power. Money, of course, is a part of all that.

Interesting. I would love to read/learn more about this line of researching/thinking. Could one of you suggest a good author or publication?

I look at the way Native Americans lived before Europeans invaded the areas in which they lived. I don't know a ton about this stuff, but it seems to me that their way of life was far better in many ways (for themselves as well as for our planet) than the way we live now.

clarkfan1979

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Re: Voluntarily "moneyless" people
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2017, 03:11:16 PM »
I have a friend that lives on the Big Island of Hawaii. He is not moneyless, but he is very close. He bought 3 acres of land for 40K. His home insurance and taxes are $0. His tiny house is powered by a solar panel, so he doesn't have any electricity bill. He has a rain water catch system for water. It rains 200 inches/year at his place. That is not a typo.

He probably lives on 5K/year without even really trying. He is passionate about sustainability and lowering his carbon footprint. The low cost of living is just a side benefit.

He does have a cell phone, computer and bought a Honda car for $1000.

His biggest expense is going to be health care. However, if his gross income is 5K/year, his health insurance is probably subsidized.

Cranky

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Re: Voluntarily "moneyless" people
« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2017, 05:12:16 PM »
Which means that his insurance and medical insurance is subsidized by other peopleís money...

Iím surprised thereís no property tax in HI.




SwordGuy

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Re: Voluntarily "moneyless" people
« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2017, 05:25:38 PM »
My favorite moneyless person was Ghandi.   Cool guy.   Defeated the occupying British Empire and set his people free.   Not a bad way to spend one's time.

clarkfan1979

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Re: Voluntarily "moneyless" people
« Reply #10 on: November 26, 2017, 02:12:32 AM »
Which means that his insurance and medical insurance is subsidized by other peopleís money...

Iím surprised thereís no property tax in HI.

For the big island, you get a 40K exemption if you claim as your primary residence. If your assessed value is 40K or less, your taxes are zero. It's 160K for Kauai and I think 200K for Maui. You can buy a 1 bedroom condo on Kauai for 160K or less. Property taxes will be zero. I don't remember the exemption amount for Oahu.

happy

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Re: Voluntarily "moneyless" people
« Reply #11 on: November 26, 2017, 03:23:43 AM »
When I first read about Mark Boyle and Daniel Suelo I was dumbstruck. These guys were living in a completely different way and made me think deeply about my lifestyle. I think they are awesome and am glad they put a little about their lifestyle out on the internet to inspire others.

I'm never going to live without money, but just even thinking about it helps me simplify my desires.

You can knock them and decide they are living off others, but, scavengers definitely have a place in ecosystems.


205guy

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Re: Voluntarily "moneyless" people
« Reply #12 on: November 26, 2017, 12:01:44 PM »
Which means that his insurance and medical insurance is subsidized by other peopleís money...

Iím surprised thereís no property tax in HI.

For the big island, you get a 40K exemption if you claim as your primary residence. If your assessed value is 40K or less, your taxes are zero. It's 160K for Kauai and I think 200K for Maui. You can buy a 1 bedroom condo on Kauai for 160K or less. Property taxes will be zero. I don't remember the exemption amount for Oahu.

Any condo will have HOA fees, which in Hawaii are more than rent in many other places (600-1600 per month).

I agree that the moneyless concept is interesting and more of a spectrum of possibility, not a purely dogmatic approach. Like FIRE, there are many ways to live it.

bacchi

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Re: Voluntarily "moneyless" people
« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2017, 12:02:43 PM »
For example, Daniel Suelo eats others' leftover food.

His friends also pay for some of his meals, either at restaurants or at their homes. It's not as if he's 100% dumpster diving and eating in his cave by his lonesome.

Lichen

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Re: Voluntarily "moneyless" people
« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2017, 07:39:11 AM »
In one of his books, Mark Boyle points out that he is only able to do this because others do use money. His point was in a perfect world he wouldn't have been able to run his moneyless experiment him because there wouldn't be so much waste for him to partake of. In other words, the rest of us our so wasteful, we need the scavengers to try and set our resource balance right. The more scavengers at this point, the merrier.

Boyle seems to me to be more a proponent of the borrow and barter economy who is trying to change the way society views waste. Suelo, from what I remember of the book, has much more of a pilgrim mentality -- his moneyless life seemed more like a personal journey as opposed to a comment on society at large.

Enigma

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Re: Voluntarily "moneyless" people
« Reply #15 on: December 07, 2017, 12:38:32 AM »
Voluntarily "moneyless" people kind of remind my of my grandmother who became a hermit.  Not living your life because you are in fear is kind of sad (IMO-in my opinion).  Make a difference...

I have more admiration for individuals whom are using technology and finding solutions to other people's problems and not just theirs.  For example new innovations to recycling plants tearing electronics, waste, and garbage down to usable materials, water treatment facilities changing sewage to clean drinkable water, reforestation projects, clean air from SMOG/pollution, and countless other solutions to problems that were rampant in the past.

A coward hides from a problem.  Anyway that is my two cents.  Again this is for 'Voluntarily Moneyless' people.  I have the utmost compassion for those who are forced into poverty and cannot seem to get their heads above water.

Chesleygirl

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Re: Voluntarily "moneyless" people
« Reply #16 on: December 12, 2017, 10:01:06 PM »
I like to read about Raphael Felmer (spelling?) who lives in Germany, mostly without money. I believe Germany has socialized healthcare and he also forages for leftover food behind grocery stores, barters his services for things like rent, and only pays for his water bill. He also admits he uses a small amount of money occasionally. I don't see how he's doing anything wrong.

There's nothing wrong with any of that. I just don't agree that it's accurate for these folks to say they're living without money. Money buys the food they eat, even if it isn't their money. Money also pays for universal healthcare/national health insurance.

Maybe this person doesn't claim to live "without money," though. The people I referred to in my post DO make that claim.

Felmer actually says he pays for his water bill, a few other things, but mostly he lives without money.

Classical_Liberal

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Re: Voluntarily "moneyless" people
« Reply #17 on: December 13, 2017, 12:53:24 AM »
Money is just a construct. An intermediary between some resource or labor.  Try buying a banana from an untrained monkey with a $100 bill.

It's difficult to live without money because of specialization. I know how to be a nurse, but not how to grow all the types of food I eat.  I have to trade, but how much nursing care translates into a banana? What if no banana growers are sick?  Governments like money because they can tax transactions easily and manipulate it.

If you think about it, the more diverse skill set a person has, the less they would have need for money.  Like the hunter-gatherer anthropological example... However, I doubt modern anthropologists know how "happy" hunter-gatherers were.

Quickly skipping past the fact that we (humans) use more resources than the planet can continue to make, I think these guys are good examples.  Utilizing labor to live off the waste of others (using money as an intermediary or not) is awesome.  OTOH, someone asking for my labor or capital that I wanted to use for something else, simply so that don't have to use their own, does no net good. 

Although there are moral implications to how I use my labor and capital.  For instance, I can (and do) out bid a starving African child for grain to feed a cow to make milk for the cheese that I enjoy for a snack. Instead I could go without cheese and let him buy it at a slightly lower price and he could afford to survive for a month.  Technically, the cheese is not wasted, but was the grain?

Sjalabais

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Re: Voluntarily "moneyless" people
« Reply #18 on: December 16, 2017, 10:24:28 AM »
A friend of my wife moved to the countryside and was glowing proud about being able to live outside of the city without a car. Call it "carless" if you want. The problem was that she always borrowed a car here or there. That ended when her friends had a talk and told her she is not getting by without a car at all.

Money mustache folks say they can FIRE without working, but the 4% interest is other people's work, productivity improvements and speculation. It's not a "workless" context to be in.

You can call everyone's bluff with enough analysis. Imho the good thing is that if someone has found a way to live that makes them happy, without hurting anyone, they should just do as they please. The illusion that one can cope alone is pretty much just that...an illusion.

Classical_Liberal

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Re: Voluntarily "moneyless" people
« Reply #19 on: December 17, 2017, 10:00:10 AM »
Money mustache folks say they can FIRE without working, but the 4% interest is other people's work, productivity improvements and speculation. It's not a "workless" context to be in.

I prefer the term gentleman of leisure.