Thursday, 26 February 2015

Living Without Money? Who'da Thunk It?

 I came across this article today on the Organic Health website:   It concerns a woman who for most of her life enjoyed a quite reasonable level of affluence, which 15 years ago she turned her back on, deciding to live without money for as long as she could.  She is still apparently doing that and it makes a pretty interesting story.

This story got me thinking.

At first I thought "I would like to know this woman's secret" but then I realised that no I wouldn't.  I wouldn't particularly want to do the same thing.  Not that what she has done is wrong.   It is in fact quite commendable.  What she has done for 15 years is not scrounging.  She has given of her time and effort in order to receive her daily necessities.  However, we could not all do that in a society such as we have today.

But in a different sort of society?  What then?

Eventually we will all have to live without money and that day is closer than you might think.  I will be happy to be moneyless when that day arrives and I think, having spent many hours considering such things, I am well prepared for it.  Maybe not as well prepared as I could be, but nevertheless, better equipped than most.   And I am now retired and living on a modest income.

Many people are afraid of retirement because they can see no way that they could live without an income similar to what they currently enjoy.  I, myself was not a little apprehensive about that prospect too, but I find that I can live very well on less than a quarter of my pre-retirement income.  Furthermore, the cause of the majority of my current living expenses would simply disappear when money also vanishes. 

The expenses I am referring to are transport and rent. 

I still use a motor vehicle to get around, although I also have a bike (not a working one but I do own one nonetheless).  I don't travel far now and clock up only around 8-9,000km a year and some of that is related to doing things for other people.  The rest is for food shopping or to meet my societal commitments.  Well, I won't have any societal commitments after society collapses financially and money disappears and there will not be anywhere to go buy food, other than locally based swap-meets offering locally grown surplus food.

Consequently, under those circumstances, I will not need the services of my car.  It wouldn't run anyway for long, unless I found a horse to pull it (minus engine, transmission and much of the bodywork of course.  oh, wait, isn't that a cart?).

As for rent, along with the disappearance of money and all that goes with it, and the consequent societal storm that would follow (during which I would keep a very low profile and perhaps find a convenient safe shelter until it had all blown over), quite a large proportion of the populace would have also disappeared, including most of the property owners who would have perished under the mistaken idea of defending their indefensible properties from the marrauding, starving hoards of ...zombies?...   Well, perhaps not quite that, but certainly folk not in the right state of mind to observe social niceties.  And don't forget that the police and military would quickly go home to protect their own families as soon as they realised they had stopped being paid to put themselves in harms way for a society that had now let them down and in fact no longer existed in any meaningful way.

The picture I am trying to paint here is that I believe that I, assuming I am still around after all of the rocks stop rolling, should be able to move into or onto any nice property/accomodation that may take my fancy or have the appearance or potential for being defensible and productive for the purposes of growing adequate nourishing food, without having the need to ask anyone's permission or turf out any reluctant resident.  Of course, a better alternative would be to associate with a like-minded group of some sort, if one can be found.  But, folk being folk, that path is paved with just as many pitfalls as getting along with neighbours in the old world just passed away, and most people still remaining will have been suffering a fair degree of personal trauma and may not be for a while and perhaps never, the sort of stable, reliable persons that you may wish for as companions.  If you saw someone come sauntering down the road, openly talking to themselves, you would be best advised to remain hidden until they had gone by, instead of jumping out at the sight of another human and hugging them joyfully.  If you did that, your joy may not be long enduring, and at the least you may have saddled yourself with another harmless but useless mouth to feed.  Those times will not be the right time to practice lovingkindness or other forms of altruistic endeavour.

Since I am already used to living alone, with only occasional personal encounters with others, I think I would initially at least unless by force of circumstance try to make it on my own for a while and wait for the right companions to make an appearance at the right time.

So, for me, the lack or unavailability of currency in any form will not, all things being equal, be a problem.  Furthermore, anyone for whom it would have been a problem, largely people even partially dependent on services provided by the old system that had just crashed, would no longer be around to buy those services even if they could somehow be restored.

The only remaining necessity of life, with accommodation taken care of and the need for transport nullified, would be food and water.  I greatly pity any of the remaining population who would wish to continue consuming meat as part of their diet.  Unless of course they were formerly trained in or had practice in the field of butchery and/or animal husbandry/hunting.  I think most survivors would readily turn to edible produce that is either grown in the ground or on trees/shrubs.  That will suit me just fine and while I am no expert I do have some practice and already know many of the mistakes that can be made in that area.

I might even be persuaded to take up eating meat again myself in those circumstances.  Never again though would animals need to be industrially farmed, which is one of my current objections to the consumption of meat, but not the only one by any means.  I think it should be borne in mind that anyone who survives this period of upheaval will need to quickly learn to kill animals anyway out of necessity not to be eaten or at least potentially fatally harmed by them.  Consider the number of stray dogs, formerly pets, who would pack together to hunt anything that moved.  For a long time, until the problem was overcome, I think it would be a case of kill or be killed.  Who else is going to look after you?  And there could be worse predators than dogs.  Including human ones.       

Have any readers of this ever considered these things?  Maybe you should.  At least a little bit.



  1. Hi Bernie. Yes, we have thought about and discussed these ideas. It can be hard at times to remain positive and optimistic while knowing that a lot of the living creatures on this planet are probably going to be in strife sooner rather than later.

    All the effort to 'grow' economies. Renovating perfectly good kitchens, buying a new car every few years. The list seems endless.

    We think we are an intelligent

    Regards from Tasmania.

    1. Thanks for your comment Darryl, and it is good to know others are thinking about these things in Tasmania. I have a desire to take myself over there at some stage. I think your island home would be the ideal place to see these times through, but whether that eventuates or not remains to be seen.

      Yes, we are an intelligent species, but we generally tend to use that intelligence for all the wrong things. Mostly involving meaningless activity, the only purpose of which is to maintain growth and complexity in the current system as you suggest. A system not designed for our mutual benefit but just to increase wealth for a few.

      But not for much longer I think.

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