Saturday, 29 June 2013

Beyond money: living without the illusion of independence

Beyond money: living without the illusion of independence 

Money separates us from what we consume and hides us from the impacts of our behaviour. But there is an economic model that could not only bring us closer to each other and to the effects of how we live, it’s also booming, says Mark Boyle


Perching on my compost toilet reading the previous day’s discarded copy of the Financial Times – which was imminently destined for more humble purposes – I was almost convinced by the grim news from the City: the economy was going to humanure, and it would be 2018 before it improves.
But there was an invisible assumption underlying all the journalists’ articles. These modern-day storytellers have been confusing ‘finance’ with ‘economics’ for so long that they can now only recognise one form of economic model – the global monetary economy.
While some alternative economists argue for ‘de-growth’, a more positive approach would be to pursue the growth of another, more tried-and-trusted system, which I call the localised gift economy. If economic analysts could wrench their spellbound gaze from the London Stock Exchange, they would notice that this widely unreported gift economy was absolutely booming.

In response to the global financial crisis, people are preparing themselves for a new economy by participating in ways of providing and accessing the goods and services that we require, without the need for money. Ideas such as the freeshop and the ‘gift circle’ – regular meetings where people offer or request skills, tools, lifts, advice, stuff and time for free – are flourishing, while online communities such as Couchsurfing, Freeconomy and Freecycle now have membership in the millions, and are growing by the second.

In this emerging economic model, richness is a quality utterly unquantifiable, prosperity doesn’t mean the flat-packing of the Earth and the breakdown of authentic community, and the boom doesn’t have an inevitable bust. In contrast, the more it grows, the more resilient and connected communities who participate in it become.
But most of us have lived under the tyranny of the story of money our entire lives. Its introduction into human history is relatively recent, and we are the only species that seems to believe it needs symbolised paper in order to survive. Yet the global monetary economy’s relentless drive to convert our social, ecological, cultural and spiritual commons into cold, impersonal numbers has almost been so complete, that few of us can imagine a way of being human where money doesn’t mediate the relationships through which we meet our needs. Almost.

“In response to the global financial crisis, people are preparing themselves for a new economy by participating in ways of providing and accessing the goods and services that we require, without the need for money”

Since the financial crisis became publicly apparent in 2008, the rapid re-emergence of the gift economy has helped shed light on the simple reality that money – like strikingly similar myths such as Santa Claus – is just one story of how we can meet our needs. While stories constitute the fibres of the yarn that is society and their true purpose should be to serve us, money has long since robbed meaning and connection from our lives, and more besides.
Why? The reasons, unsurprisingly, are complex and many. Money has never merely been a unit of account, medium of exchange and store of value, as contemporary economists insist on believing, despite much evidence to the contrary from anthropologists such as David Graeber.
As the modern numerical manifestation of our notions of credit and debt, money originally performed an exceptional range of functions, usually related to tax, death, marriage, sex and war in a lot of societies. Consistent with all other technologies, however, the law of unintended consequences eventually came into play.

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that is real autonomy in life...
but where the hell he found socket in the forest to plug in his computer...

  nanny state'...children...
for example if autor will broke his leg or some tooth pain...or...whatever - health problem or food shortage - he is sure(!) - NHS and social structures will help him without any problem or delay.

It is very different in...don't want to compare with Africa...or some Eastern countries... - in Russia for example he will be death without money or protection from government structures. So many very poor people there and very cruelty as well.





‘who’s ass should he kiss’...for living like that...


because 90% world population living in the same way...

but they don't chose this way...they just born like that...and there.. 


Heartbreaking ... starving child in Kenya