Having no money means you have no money.

03 Oct

There have been a couple of TV shows and of course a number of books which followed or described people living for anything from 24 hours up to a year or more with no money. A number of them have been journalists, hence easy access to publishing and TV deals. Of course there’s a ready and willing audience out there who would like to believe that a world without money would be a good idea.

It may well be. I wouldn’t mind living within Ian M Banks “Culture” society in his science fiction books. The Culture has no money because there is no need for it. They have what they need, when they want it and there is no crime and everyone lives for a very long time. But of course that isn‘t reality.

We know what reality is. It isn’t living with no money. However, there are people in our society who believe that capitalism is a bad thing, a very, very bad thing indeed. I think, to an extent, they are right. The imbalance within the capitalist system has become untenable due to abuse, corruption and outright greed. However, no one has come up with a workable alternative.

Not yet anyway.

What would your understanding of living with no money be? Just that. No money. How do you eat? You grow it yourself or you exchange something you’ve made which someone else thinks has value to him or her for the food they have produced. If you want to go somewhere you walk or you build a boat or find an animal of some kind, which you train sufficiently to allow you to ride on it.

Then you have to have a place to live so you need a bit of land and you want to erect a dwelling on it. Probably, to start with, it will be bits of tree branches and some sort of material which is water proof )I think it’s called a “bender”) although how or what you trade for that will be something of a mystery. Water will come from a stream and toileting is going to be pretty basic.

Are you getting the idea yet? In fact it’s much, much worse. No money means you can only trade with what you can make or deliver. You could trade your labour but not for money. You want to grow food? You need a few acres to do that even for yourself and who is going to gift you a few acres because, you won’t have money to pay for it. A tough winter or a poor summer and you’ve got real problems. How do you keep warm? Collect fallen branches? You have to dry them out and keep them dry and you have to collect a LOT! If you fall ill then medicine is out of reach and if you injure yourself then you’ll need to hope it’s something you can repair by yourself.

The next part of it of course, is that since these people don’t like capitalism it would seem to be very unfair that they use anything, which emanates from capitalist activities. So no raiding skips, bins, cadging of friends, sleeping in doorways, accepting lifts for travel purposes etc. Nothing. That’s what you have. A bit strict? There’s a good reason for this.

All of the books I’ve read and the programmes I’ve watched have people in them who don’t spend money but they are prepared to accept a free meal, sleep in someone else’s house, hitch a lift etc. etc. They are cheating.  They aren’t playing the game. They are being perhaps a tad less than honest?

No money means no money and if you hate capitalism to the extent that these people seem to do, then you can’t live of it’s fringes.

This should also be true of environmentalists. If you don’t agree with the way we live our lives feel free to jump on a plane and try living in some parts of Africa where you won’t have to use electricity, you can be one with nature and there is very little pollution (beyond human waste). Go on you know you want to.

Most of these people, who hold extreme views denounce capitalism and our supposed denuding the planet of natural resources. Let them be honest and live out their beliefs. If their way of life is demonstrably better we’ll all join in. If however, they end up starving, ill and die at a much younger age than they would normally we might not be so keen. Neither, I suspect, would they.


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One response to “Having no money means you have no money.

  1. Jim

    October 8, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    The odd journalist living with no money in order to see how he/she would get on is of course just a gimmick to sell papers.
    In reality if we ever got to the ‘no money’ stage it would be a different story. In this situation things would revert to the law of the jungle. Societies survived with no money for thousands of years and they survived by forming allegiances. Niceties were dispensed with and it was no longer just the cleverest who got on in life but those with strong characters and good leadership qualities. Land and property and food was taken by the strongest tribal grouping.
    The advent of money allowed a small powerful elite to control the majority. Wealth brought power and weak people with no other obvious qualities apart from wealth could control governments and start wars for oil in order to make more money.
    As society now begins it’s long slow collapse into oblivion people will be forced once again to leave their islands and learn to form allegiances .
    We are 99 %. They are 1%.


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