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Living without money

 
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Living without money is nothing more than saying can we live without a widely agreed upon mode of acceptable exchange. The following from Wikipedia - notice what the Nixon admin did:

Fiat money
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Yuan dynasty banknotes were the earliest fiat money.

Fiat money is money that derives its value from government regulation or law. The term fiat currency is used when the fiat money is used as the main currency of the country. The term derives from the Latin fiat ("let it be done", "it shall be").[1]

Fiat money originated in 11th century China,[2] and its use became widespread during the Yuan and Ming dynasties.[3] During the 13th century, Marco Polo described the fiat money of the Yuan Dynasty in his book The Travels of Marco Polo.[4][5] The Nixon Shock of 1971 ended the direct convertibility of the United States dollar to gold. Since then all reserve currencies have been fiat currencies, including the U.S. dollar and the Euro.[6]

and this from that radical zine Forbes:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/pascalemmanuelgobry/2013/01/08/all-money-is-fiat-money/


A good way to answer the question is to use the cliche "if - we - were - living - on - deserted - island" would money have value scenario.


 
pollinator
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Xisca Nicolas wrote:Nina, I only answered in a general way to the title of the post!


I thought so but all the same I read through my posts and realized they sounded too all-or-nothing. [I have a habit I of saying things too strongly and then I have to correct them afterwards. Over the years this correcting has become almost a routine: sometimes I do it when there is no need for it Sorry everyone for babbling about myself and now back to the issue!]




Xisca Nicolas wrote:
We all agree I guess that we need to find other kind of wealth than money, and find other ways to exchange.


Yes, I think many of us agree on this one. I am one of them. Then there are many people on this forum who believe there is nothing inherently wrong with the current capitalistic system, all it needs is some adjusting so that it takes the environmental issues better into account. I respect this view too.

Xisca Nicolas wrote:In France exists the SEL = Système d'Echange Local.
Great, no need to translate!

But the currencies are based on the Euro! It was obvious when the country change from francs to euros!!!
I had proposed to use the hours and minutes as a currency, but they did not want to calculate so much for the change.... (sigh...)
I know that the idea has gone its way and that some groups use time as their currency!



There are time banks also here in Finland, I believe several actually. They use time as basis of their currency, I think the one in Helsinki calls its currency "Tovi" ("Moment" in English). What makes the system complicated is that they also exchange goods, not just services. Or at least they did at some point, I don't really know the actual situation right now. But I do know that time banks now have some problems with taxation. Some people view time banks as "grey economy" meaning that they don't pay taxes and that is wrong. The debate is going on and no one knows of the out come, will time banks be taxed in the future or not. But to tax time banks transactions would mean that someone in the tax office would have to convert Tovis to euros - taxes are paid in euros. In my mind this would be a setback to the system. The idea that Tovi has a value in euros and can be converted to euro doesn't sound appealing to me.

Xisca Nicolas wrote:

But the point was that only the rich can afford to downshift and save natural resources and the poor will just save natural resources because they have to which is not at all the same thing.



Which poors... The industrialized "poor" that still can buy more than their food are the ones who buy more low quality stuff, which have a very bad footprint because they must be thrown away quicker. they also buy more junk food.



Yes you are right on that one. It all depends on the country too, what the ecological footprints of different classes are. Many studies seem to have come to the conclusion that here in Finland, where the costs of living are high (especially housing and food) climate is cold and the biggest use of energy is heating the houses, it is the rich who have the biggest ecological footprint. They have the biggest apartments and they can afford to have several cars and so on. Although the rich are able to buy organic food, good quality stuff and so on, they also buy more stuff. "The poor" in Finland are people who can only just pay their rent and food but have no money left for much else. Or they are people who cannot pay their rent or food but the state takes care of these basic needs for them, but they still do not have very much money to spend on stuff. But you are right that the little money they do have will go to low-quality stuff because they want to get as much as they can for the few euros they have to spend. However, when adding all up, the ecological footprint of the poor is much smaller than that of the rich, in Finland. (When I talk of the poor I mean relative poverty, there are no people living in absolute poverty in Finland).

All these studies on ecological footprints are useful up to a point but my fear is that what will happen in my country (and perhaps in many other countries too, but I fear that Finns are particularly prone to this) is that people will get stuck on these comparisons, the poor blaming the rich and the rich blaming the poor, and all of that is not going to take us anywhere. The best strategy would be to acknowledge that our system is not good and we need to build a better one. Not get stuck on who was the most environmentally destructive in the past but focus instead on the solutions, ie. permaculture, of course!


Xisca Nicolas wrote:WE are the fools who prefer to get a few dollars, euros or pounds more...
...nd prefer to forget that our money is used by the banks as eggs that will hatch for them.

Stopping this is very easy.
Refuse the interests and keep your money in the account that bring you nothing.
Just because it will bring them nothing either.



Now that is an excellent idea! If everyone would do that the economic system would collapse because it would mean no more lending money to fuel economic growth and our system doesn't work if there is no growth (which is the best proof in my mind that our system is fundamentally unsound). A sudden collapse is of course not desirable but if we were to slowly but surely move into this direction, building alternative local economies at the same time then that is a strategy I'm enthusiastic about.
 
pollinator
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Nina, I also say things strongly, and so I warn in my signature!
for me, this is just the best way to go ahead, because we are so slow for moving and changing, even when we want to.

About time as a currency, I really mean it for exchanging goods!

Yes it is easier to exchange 1h of math lesson for 1h of website building or car repairing.

What makes it exciting though, is to think "how long am I ready to work in exchange of getting this second hand computer"?
Do we forget that the money we earn is also about how many hours (full time, part time...) we work?
France also has a tax problem: I am almost sure that it depends if the person is professional in the proposed field of good or service.

About footprint: yes I do not understand that when one can afford it one builds a bigger house. So yes, the richer the heavier the footprint. And about accepting that junk goods that deteriorate are made, the poorer the heavier the footprint. But you are very right for that:

my fear is that what will happen ... is that people will get stuck on these comparisons, the poor blaming the rich and the rich blaming the poor, and all of that is not going to take us anywhere. The best strategy would be to acknowledge that our system is not good and we need to build a better one.

the general tendency is to feel powerless (the issue is so big!) and thus find culprits! Something like "everything would be better on earth if only we could eliminate x or y". All the extreme systems are based on a fear and a proposed solution in terms of "eliminating". This is often eliminating a certain behavior and not the people! Focusing on the solution could also sound like starting with looking for our responsibility.

I like when Paul says something like this, to focus on solutions and not on being angry at bad guys. Except that you cannot say that you are not angry when you are. And internal anger is unhealthy! Well, further on, as anger is very good for kicking one's ass and reacting, am I really "good" all the time? That is why I do not want bank interests.

And I have also decided that I will no more buy from Amazon, since an author told us here that they are responsible for price increase in books! Haha, no, Amazon is not the only culprit, as they have helpers... all their buyers, so it included myself. The problem is that the "walk your talk" attitude is costly to myself... And it is not so visible to me that it is costly to banks and big monopolies.
 
pollinator
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i think the only vote that really counts is considering each of your dollar bills as a voting ballot!

its a small step but on an individual level its something one can do, consider very carefully what you are voting for with your dollar bills (or whatever other government recognized currency).

i'm very interested in alternative currency systems and systems of local exchange, a resource based economy, where money is just a tool used to make barter easier- rather than the other misuses and manipulations of the exploitative.

a lot of the alternative currency projects i have seen take off for a while seem to not work that well, or just dont get enough people to get into them to make it a good alternative. definitely seen some labor banks of hours, and alternative currency take off. at least for a while, and theres a lot of interest there...people are wanting this more and more lately especially...

the thing seems to be that there needs to be central large stores that back the currency, this is what i think it takes to have some thing like this take off in a huge way. so you knew there was a HUGE store, with most of your shopping list available, that accepts this currency, its more desirable as a real alternative.

another key thing could be that they also pay for their supplies and items for sale in large part with this alternative currency.

cause otherwise its just not big enough to take off and theres no central large places that will accept it, or even can accept it because they have to pay for the lights and store front in cash money, not the alternative currency they get so much of...i have seen this make places like the food co ops and different places that had accepted it, stop taking it because this becomes their issue- they get too much of it and cant circulate it easily and still have to pay their bills in cash.

then when the food co op stops taking , a lot of the momentum runs out because people arent as interested in it if they cant see where they can spend it easily.

i have visioned connected to the idea of trying to foster an alternative currency, and even tried to talk everyone i know into some form of this idea, a place where people could bring in just about anything they make locally and sell on a small scale (or well even on a large scale, but this would be more aimed towards a small operation where people dont produce enough to have their own business).

everything would have to be from within a hundred miles of there, with some possible exceptions for extremely useful simple things, toilet paper, canning jars, basic building stuff, etc. when the store would buy the things they would take anything of reasonable selling quality without preference, and offer to buy with either dollars, or TWICE the amount in local currency.

or maybe you could even do half and half, if someone wanted a little cash and a little of the alternative currency....but the point being you would give so much more value to those who would choose the alternative currency, and it could be used right at your store, as well as gained from whatever you brought in to trade....

i would seriously love it if there was a place like this every hundred miles or so =)

actually i have recently seen some small versions like this happening, and its very cool, but not neccessarily using alternative currency.
 
Xisca Nicolas
pollinator
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People who work full time for the official currency, spend time in transport, spend time to take children to sport, music etc...
...do not have time for the local currency.
Even looking for free food, foraging etc, takes time.
Getting what you need from different shops takes more time than an all-in-one-place.

Before living without (or with less) money, we might have to start with "living with time"!
A little bit difficult to know where to start from actually!

Well, what makes my life possible is maybe no children, and surely no debt. I sold my house and my car, bought a less expensive place and that's all.
I accept to live with money for bartering and think the freedom problem is money as a debt.
 
pollinator
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OK, this was an old thread. But right now this subject happens to be interesting to me (again). I am thinking over my 'future plans', how to accomplish all I want using as little money as possible. I am aware it is not possible without any money at all. Some needed things can only be paid with money, and in some cases you need to accept money for your products or services, because trading isn't possible.
By reading some interesting information from different (Dutch) freeconomy and freecycle websites and watching a video of the moneyless man in the UK, I found many things that are possible, even easy to do, without using money.
The most important is to start with a group of people (community or whatever you call it). The more people, the more skills, the more knowledge, the more interesting points of view. They bring in different materials (waste or growies) and tools (sure, money was paid once for those tools) to use for the project. The members of that group are the first 'trading partners', and this small group can grow out to a larger 'trading system'.

Only one problem I have imagining this 'money-low project' ... I can't figure it out in the country I live in now. A (sub-)tropical region makes it much easier (no heating or warm clothes needed) as well as a country without much rules and regulations ... And to come in such a country, at least I need to fly there in an airplane ...
 
pollinator
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I stumbled on this thread by accident... and as it is a bit contentious, I'm not sure I want to touch it.  But here we go.  I am an American, born to a lower-middle class family.  Started working at age 14, always held 2 or more jobs up to age 30.  Still couldn't get ahead.  In 2011, I quit my job, packed up my kids, and left the USA.  I landed in Africa.  No, I didn't escape the need for money - but I sure don't need as much of it.  I don't heat my house, I don't own a car, I am not connected to the grid.  I grow/raise 80% of my foodstuff, I have no monthly bills.  The government still gets their hands in my pocket any time I buy from the market or a supermarket, or use public transport.  (VAT is 16%)  But in our remote village, we still barter a lot.   We recently made a deal with a neighbor to do the labor of putting sweet potato lines between our trees.  We provide the land, they provide the labor, we split the harvest.  No money changed hands.  I love that, and we make those kinds of deals a lot.  Banks here are pretty crooked and unstable, so I don't keep my money in the bank.  Instead we have, as my husband says, "four-legged bank accounts," and "feathered bank accounts."  We put our money into animals which have a ready market, namely goats and chickens.  First, they pay us "interest" in eggs and offspring.  Second, they are very "liquid" in that if we have a financial need, we can usually unload one or more in less than 24 hours.  I miss my family and friends in the USA, but I love the life we've created here.  I work hard on the farm, as hard as my body will allow, but I'm still able to be present for my kids, and have time to work on my art and writing. I have a LOT less stress.  Life moves at a much slower pace.  We make about $400 USD a month, from farm income and some related off farm income.  Unfortunately we aren't able to save much of that yet, but still, we live a pretty comfortable life, and I wouldn't go back to the USA for anything.
 
pollinator
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Didn't read th whole thread but I wanted to put in my two cents (haha)--
--everyone here is right, but you're talking about apples and oranges
--there is no such thing ontologically as "the government," some mysterious Them that comes along and takes our money or passes laws or makes us believe things.  WE are the government.  WE are the people.  Money is not inherently needed to have a piece of land be cultivated.  It can be a way of persuading some people not to come along and steal my crops, but it isn't inherently helping the crops thrive or the sun shine or the water soak into the soil.  Money is a social construct.  And it IS going out of date as we speak.  It WILL be gone one day.  Just as surely as we went from the barter system to using money for exchange, we will one day have gone to a win-win post-monetary exchange system where we all focus on maximizing the gross benefit for everyone involved.  People already do this with friends and neighbors sometimes, and there's no mystical reason we can't do this on a global scale.  We just need to change our beliefs.

It's really important to understand the theoretical, and the practical.  Why? because it feels so much better to be aiming at the stars than aiming at the end of one's nose, and it's really important to start from where your feet are at the same time.

the Practical:
Now, I know there are some "bad apples" out there who do want to come along and steal your crops (have you pay taxes, sell you stuff you don't really want or need, etc.) and a lot of followers who don't recognize that they'd be way happier if they didn't participate in that system.  Ultimately we would ALL be happier, no exceptions, since we are all one big family, and denial of this is simply a lack of honesty, a compromise.  But we have to start from where we are, and where we are is mostly money-based.  So, for now, we take only as many steps forward as we can while "obtaining a yield" individually and taking care of ourselves.  We may need to make tough choices to turn away the beggar at the door who hasn't chosen to go forward with the changes, so we will have enough for the person who has.  If you can make more money, do it.  You sell the $5000 ham and have fun and educate a few people about permaculture in the process? great.  You sell the $5 ham and pay a few more bills? great.  Whatever is easiest for your individual personality.  Some people just can't stomach the former, others the latter.  

In the future, we can all have ham of the quality of the $5000 version.  We won't eat things excessively or obsessively to fill a void, but we'll enjoy the best-quality version of things when we do.  Of course we'll feed hogs on mast and let them roam free in pollutant-free areas, we won't have any pollution.  All of these things--"expensive" and cheap--can be put toward building the wide new world.  

 
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Maureen Atsali wrote:I stumbled on this thread by accident... and as it is a bit contentious, I'm not sure I want to touch it.  But here we go.  I am an American, born to a lower-middle class family.  Started working at age 14, always held 2 or more jobs up to age 30.  Still couldn't get ahead.  In 2011, I quit my job, packed up my kids, and left the USA.  I landed in Africa.  No, I didn't escape the need for money - but I sure don't need as much of it.  I don't heat my house, I don't own a car, I am not connected to the grid.  I grow/raise 80% of my foodstuff, I have no monthly bills.  The government still gets their hands in my pocket any time I buy from the market or a supermarket, or use public transport.  (VAT is 16%)  But in our remote village, we still barter a lot.   We recently made a deal with a neighbor to do the labor of putting sweet potato lines between our trees.  We provide the land, they provide the labor, we split the harvest.  No money changed hands.  I love that, and we make those kinds of deals a lot.  Banks here are pretty crooked and unstable, so I don't keep my money in the bank.  Instead we have, as my husband says, "four-legged bank accounts," and "feathered bank accounts."  We put our money into animals which have a ready market, namely goats and chickens.  First, they pay us "interest" in eggs and offspring.  Second, they are very "liquid" in that if we have a financial need, we can usually unload one or more in less than 24 hours.  I miss my family and friends in the USA, but I love the life we've created here.  I work hard on the farm, as hard as my body will allow, but I'm still able to be present for my kids, and have time to work on my art and writing. I have a LOT less stress.  Life moves at a much slower pace.  We make about $400 USD a month, from farm income and some related off farm income.  Unfortunately we aren't able to save much of that yet, but still, we live a pretty comfortable life, and I wouldn't go back to the USA for anything.



Maureen, what part of Africa are you in? Your situation sounds amazing...
 
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Maureen Atsali wrote:I stumbled on this thread by accident... and as it is a bit contentious, I'm not sure I want to touch it.  But here we go.  I am an American, born to a lower-middle class family.  Started working at age 14, always held 2 or more jobs up to age 30.  Still couldn't get ahead.  In 2011, I quit my job, packed up my kids, and left the USA.  I landed in Africa.  No, I didn't escape the need for money - but I sure don't need as much of it.  I don't heat my house, I don't own a car, I am not connected to the grid.  I grow/raise 80% of my foodstuff, I have no monthly bills.  The government still gets their hands in my pocket any time I buy from the market or a supermarket, or use public transport.  (VAT is 16%)  But in our remote village, we still barter a lot.   We recently made a deal with a neighbor to do the labor of putting sweet potato lines between our trees.  We provide the land, they provide the labor, we split the harvest.  No money changed hands.  I love that, and we make those kinds of deals a lot.  Banks here are pretty crooked and unstable, so I don't keep my money in the bank.  Instead we have, as my husband says, "four-legged bank accounts," and "feathered bank accounts."  We put our money into animals which have a ready market, namely goats and chickens.  First, they pay us "interest" in eggs and offspring.  Second, they are very "liquid" in that if we have a financial need, we can usually unload one or more in less than 24 hours.  I miss my family and friends in the USA, but I love the life we've created here.  I work hard on the farm, as hard as my body will allow, but I'm still able to be present for my kids, and have time to work on my art and writing. I have a LOT less stress.  Life moves at a much slower pace.  We make about $400 USD a month, from farm income and some related off farm income.  Unfortunately we aren't able to save much of that yet, but still, we live a pretty comfortable life, and I wouldn't go back to the USA for anything.



sorry, didn't have that kind of experience so i was wondering how difficult it is to gauge the value of a particular goods or labour.
i guess the key is both parties are happy?

i think it would be really good to have such a life, with low stress and a happy go lucky life. i would love to barter trade with my neighbours
 
Maureen Atsali
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Eddie,
I am in a rural village in Western Kenya.
 
Dennis Clover
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Shelly Randall wrote:I believe money is a convenience.  If I'm a butcher, it's hard to carry a side of beef to my neighbor to pay for some candles.  How is he supposed to make change?



haha i can actually visually him calculating and passing you 3 candles and 3/4 of a candle stick to pay for that slab of beef. lol
yeah i think money as a medium of exchange is the most convenient.

just that money is abused by a lot of those-who-could that may not be appropriate. not sure how bank manipulate money is appropriate.
 
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