Mark Boyle’s radical experiment in living without money in an alternative “Freeconomy” may not be everyone’s cup of tea. I certainly don’t foresee myself living off the grid in a converted caravan, foraging for food, cycling 100 miles a week and brushing my teeth with crushed cuttlefish bone. However, even if I never “opt out” of the current economic system to the extent Mark and others have, my soul resounds with the justifications for these radical shifts in living which Mark has made.

Money, he suggests, has fundamentally disconnected the consumer from the consumed. We are no longer aware of the direct repercussions that our purchases have on people, animals and the environment. Money has facilitated that great divorce between our consumption and the embodied energy and physicality of the world.

Secondly, Mark suggests that money has replaced community as our primary source of security. He describes this relational and spiritual disconnect in a jarring analogy: “Prostitution is to sex as buying and selling is to giving and receiving”.  Mark, the “Moneyless Man”, is on a quest to bring into balance his head, his heart and his hands; to start asking “How much can I give?” not, “How much can I get?”; to reconnect his consumption to the physical environment and interpersonal relationships.

That I can get on board with. How about you?

Valerie Anderson

Valerie Anderson coordinates Operations at Common Change. She received her MPhil in Development Studies from the University of Cape Town and has spent the last 6 years establishing and maintaining a range of community development projects both in her home country, South Africa, and in low-income urban areas in the United States. She is a writer, problem-solver and strategist and loves to create environments in which others can thrive. Valerie and her husband, Brett Fish, have recently returned to their beautiful home city, Cape Town. You can find more of Val’s writing at

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  • Sean

    Very true. The global vegetarian, self sufficiency, occupy wall street etc. movements r all modern protests against the destructive & selfish lifestyles destroying a small, finite planet (look up “TheStoryOfStuff”),,, we need 2b radically more involved in restoring wilderness areas & promoting the sustainability of eco friendly business…