Listen to the 10 minute audio interview by using the purple player above or clicking the download link to save to your computer.
Hello and welcome to the Spirit Guides.co.uk network radio show, with your host, Mark Chatterton. After a break of a couple of months, we are back with a very special guest, who we have been wanting to interview on the programme for a long time. Tonight’s guest is Mark Boyle, otherwise known as the Moneyless Man.
A couple of years ago, Mark was living and working in Bristol. Yet he gave up his full time job and sold his house boat and made the deliberate step of living without any money. This was going to be something Mark would do for one year, and this first year of living without money was documented in his book, “The Moneyless Man – A year of Freeconomic Living”. Yet eighteen months later Mark is still living out in the countryside outside Bristol as the Moneyless man. So a warm welcome to you Mark…
The first thing I want to ask you Mark, is that originally this plan of living without money was going to be for just a year, yet here we are, well into your second year as the Moneyless Man. What made you decide to continue with your moneyless lifestyle?
Does it get any easier, or harder, living without money, given that you are now established in your lifestyle?
I understand that you get your food from a mixture of foraging, growing your own and “skipping”, which is getting food that shops and restaurants throw out. Do you ever find that you are lacking in a mixed healthy diet, or are all your food needs met?
As part of you living without money, you founded and set up the “Freeconomy Movement”. Could you tell us a little about this…
More and more people around the world seem to have this vision of a world without money. Do you see the present monetary system as collapsing one day?
On your website, you have drawn our attention to other people around the world, doing the same as you and living without money. Are you aware of anyone else in the UK or Ireland following in your footsteps?
If anyone listening today is considering doing the same as you, what advice would you say to them?
One final question, where do you see yourself in five years time?
To learn more about the Freeconomy Community, you can log onto the website at:-
Mark’s book is available from Cygnus Books –
Interview taken from the Guardian website:
In six years of studying economics, not once did I hear the word "ecology". So if it hadn't have been for the chance purchase of a video called Gandhi in the final term of my degree, I'd probably have ended up earning a fine living in a very respectable job persuading Indian farmers to go GM, or something useful like that. The little chap in the loincloth taught me one huge lesson – to be the change I wanted to see in the world. Trouble was, I had no idea back then what that change was.
After managing a couple of organic food companies made me realise that even "ethical business" would never be quite enough, an afternoon's philosophising with a mate changed everything. We were looking at the world's issues – environmental destruction, sweatshops, factory farms, wars over resources – and wondering which of them we should dedicate our lives to. But I realised that I was looking at the world in the same way a western medical practitioner looks at a patient, seeing symptoms and wondering how to firefight them, without any thought for their root cause. So I decided instead to become a social homeopath, a pro-activist, and to investigate the root cause of these symptoms.
One of the critical causes of those symptoms is the fact we no longer have to see the direct repercussions our purchases have on the people, environment and animals they affect. The degrees of separation between the consumer and the consumed have increased so much that we're completely unaware of the levels of destruction and suffering embodied in the stuff we buy. The tool that has enabled this separation is money.
If we grew our own food, we wouldn't waste a third of it as we do today. If we made our own tables and chairs, we wouldn't throw them out the moment we changed the interior decor. If we had to clean our own drinking water, we probably wouldn't contaminate it.
So to be the change I wanted to see in the world, it unfortunately meant I was going to have to give up cash, which I initially decided to do for a year. I got myself a caravan, parked it up on an organic farm where I was volunteering and kitted it out to be off-grid. Cooking would now be outside – rain or shine – on a rocket stove; mobile and laptop would be run off solar; I'd use wood I either coppiced or scavenged to heat my humble abode, and a compost loo for humanure.
Food was the next essential. There are four legs to the food-for-free table: foraging wild food, growing your own, bartering, and using waste grub, of which there is loads. On my first day, I fed 150 people a three-course meal with waste and foraged food. Most of the year, though, I ate my own crops.
To get around, I had a bike and trailer, and the 34-mile commute to the city doubled up as my gym subscription. For loo roll I'd relieve the local newsagents of its papers (I once wiped my arse with a story about myself); it's not double-quilted, but I quickly got used to it. For toothpaste I used washed-up cuttlefish bone with wild fennel seeds, an oddity for a vegan.
What have I learned? That friendship, not money, is real security. That most western poverty is of the spiritual kind. That independence is really interdependence. And that if you don't own a plasma screen TV, people think you're an extremist.
People often ask me what I miss about my old world of lucre and business. Stress. Traffic jams. Bank statements. Utility bills.
Well, there was the odd pint of organic ale with my mates down the local.
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