What’s happened in the past week? I went to the Horsham Repair Cafe, and became a sharing newbie. This got me thinking about money, its place in my life and what life would look like without it. Well, a life with less really (not that it makes any difference to the taxman).
No more of this money stuff for me. Well, at least not as much. I want to really share.
At the Horsham Repair Café I met the inspiring Christine Sefton. Christine is Community Project Developer at the Eden Project. I was inspired by their ‘Share Fairs’ and the idea of community sharing.
I got to thinking, could I introduce some of this sharing into my own life? Because cash is flexible but it has issues – for one thing it always seems to end up as “debt”. There isn’t really such a thing as a barter credit card you can max out, not that I know of.
Businesses seem to smell credit, and they want a bit of it. They know what we want – instant gratification, comfort, love. And they know we have a way to get it, that bit of plastic (hmm, symbolic) in our pockets.
Like all new converts I try to run before I can walk. I want it all – all of my sharing – and I want it now! I want to become part of the community.
How would this new life look? I know I’d still need money for lots of things. Banks don’t look on it kindly when you turn up with a kilo of goat’s cheese to barter for that month’s mortgage payment. I’m sure insurance companies would listen politely to my offer of an hour’s bad joke telling in exchange for that month’s premium but they’d just use it as pub talk fodder that evening. Sigh. Life is so fickle.
I believe we’re moving towards a new period in history, one in which humanity lives far more in harmony with Nature rather than exploiting Nature and taking her for granted.
We are the only creatures that can do things differently by choice. Imagine if you had lived 100 years ago and suddenly found yourself in a 21st century city. You would be speechless. Imagine coming back even 50 years from now, how different – almost unrecognisable – everything would be to us. How would this world look? Robots walking around? An end to sickness? And end to poverty? And end to war?
I believe we are moving away from blind consumerism and towards a far better understanding of the interconnection between things, and our mutual dependence on the Nature all around us. Sitting together with others and making things or fixing things is always a good thing.
I’ve gone off money and I want less of it. Not that I want a worse standard of living. I just want less money in it. Sound peculiar? Money’s OK, in moderation. What I don’t want is the consumer side of it. What can I do to have less money in my life and still live the life I have chosen?
There’s making things: Sue’s learning to sew her own clothes, busy tacking bits of material together. These things matter, because everything she makes has positive effects.
- she’s in control of what goes into it
- she’s getting more in touch with making things
- she’s not using any air miles
and so on. Sue already knits, and I have numerous gorgeous warm socks, jerseys and blankets to prove it.
Things like community, self-sufficiency and making things oneself all matter.
Although I personally am not that great at the community bit.
I think barter would be a good thing for my finances. I feel it in my bones. But what do I have to barter? I can fix things, maybe I can fix peoples’ computers.
No-money ideas I’ve known
Ok, let’s model. When I was more of a neo-hippy, exploring my spiritual side, looking for answers I met people who had basically dropped out. I remember people who
- tried to sell a suitcase of clothes a relative had given them
- kept my flat tidy and cooked meals in exchange for food & lodgings (never paid much rent)
- made their own clothes
- made their own meals (we already do)
- grew their own food
- made their own homes
- had a lot of faith in life
There’s Freecycle www.freecycle.org
There’s food co-ops like www.brightonfoodcoop.com
There’s Freegle https://www.ilovefreegle.org