The Moneyless Manifesto
Author: Mark Boyle
Review by Jan Goodey
In his debut, The Moneyless Man, Mark Boyle set out a pioneering account of living the simple life, and in the Moneyless Manifesto he goes deeper, laying out the philosophical underpinnings of that existence.
With apparent dwindling respect for nature – shown by record losses of Arctic summer ice and reckless energy extraction techniques – The Moneyless Manifesto is an idealists’ charter, proposing to readers that if they follow similar tenets, there can not only be a way out of environmental catastrophe, but also a route to greater wellbeing.
These tenets – to live simply, not beyond your means, and for mutual benefit to nature and others – are the foundation of the ‘freeconomy’, an alternative moneyless economy set up by Boyle and organised through an online forum.
As is often the case with trailblazers, he came to this conclusion while considering a fork in his life’s road, having started out with a degree in business. This change of direction, from the complexities of capitalism to living more with less, is mapped out through creative and practical solutions illustrated in the book.
Boyle’s ideals are supported by the way the book has been published; there is a free online edition and the book is also released under a Creative Commons licence, meaning it can be freely shared for non-commercial purposes. “The ideas and practical tools… should be free to whoever may find them useful, and not made falsely scarce by the mechanisms of the monetary economy,” writes Boyle.
Along with its predecessor, the book serves as a manual for survival and living the good life, but also puts forward valuable concepts that offer the basis for a more progressive economy.
It begins with a detailed unpicking of the monetary system and how it could work without currency, describing a principled approach and explaining how a transition is needed to a web of smaller scale, mutual economies based on giving, bartering and support.
Labour materials and land ownership are studied in the light of his own freeconomy, before we get to the nitty-gritty of what all this could mean in practical terms to the reader. We learn about couch surfing, skipping (rescuing un-necessarily discarded items), rainwater harvesting, herbal health remedies, rocket stoves, solar power, and open-sourcing, among others. All this before we even get to the section on leisure time – foraging your own wild sexual lubricant anyone?
Sprinkled throughout are some inspiring lesser-known quotes from luminaries like Noam Chomsky and Derrick Jensen, through to the Dalai Lama. And although it isn’t going to be to everyone’s taste, Boyle’s own earthy, near-the-knuckle prose sets it apart. If you’re looking for a guide to meaningful change in your life, which will demystify the money system and liberate you from its binds, this could well be it.