Posts Tagged With: poverty

People Who Live Without Money. Yep, It Is Possible.

Mark Boyle

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From an article in the guardian:

“I live without cash – and I manage just fine
Armed with a caravan, solar laptop and toothpaste made from washed-up cuttlefish bones, Mark Boyle gave up using cash.

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.

• Mark Boyle is the founder of The Freeconomy Community. In a subsequent blog he responds to the comments below.”

Daniel Suelo

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Article from details.com

Daniel Suelo lives in a cave. Unlike the average American—wallowing in credit-card debt, clinging to a mortgage, terrified of the next downsizing at the office—he isn’t worried about the economic crisis. That’s because he figured out that the best way to stay solvent is to never be solvent in the first place. Nine years ago, in the autumn of 2000, Suelo decided to stop using money. He just quit it, like a bad drug habit.

His dwelling, hidden high in a canyon lined with waterfalls, is an hour by foot from the desert town of Moab, Utah, where people who know him are of two minds: He’s either a latter-day prophet or an irredeemable hobo. Suelo’s blog, which he maintains free at the Moab Public Library, suggests that he’s both. “When I lived with money, I was always lacking,” he writes. “Money represents lack. Money represents things in the past (debt) and things in the future (credit), but money never represents what is present.”

On a warm day in early spring, I clamber along a set of red-rock cliffs to the mouth of his cave, where I find a note signed with a smiley face: CHRIS, FEEL FREE TO USE ANYTHING, EAT ANYTHING (NOTHING HERE IS MINE). From the outside, the place looks like a hollowed teardrop, about the size of an Amtrak bathroom, with enough space for a few pots that hang from the ceiling, a stove under a stone eave, big buckets full of beans and rice, a bed of blankets in the dirt, and not much else. Suelo’s been here for three years, and it smells like it.

Night falls, the stars wink, and after an hour, Suelo tramps up the cliff, mimicking a raven’s call—his salutation—a guttural, high-pitched caw. He’s lanky and tan; yesterday he rebuilt the entrance to his cave, hauling huge rocks to make a staircase. His hands are black with dirt, and his hair, which is going gray, looks like a bird’s nest, full of dust and twigs from scrambling in the underbrush on the canyon floor. Grinning, he presents the booty from one of his weekly rituals, scavenging on the streets of Moab: a wool hat and gloves, a winter jacket, and a white nylon belt, still wrapped in plastic, along with Carhartt pants and sandals, which he’s wearing. He’s also scrounged cans of tuna and turkey Spam and a honeycomb candle. All in all, a nice haul from the waste product of America. “You made it,” he says. I hand him a bag of apples and a block of cheese I bought at the supermarket, but the gift suddenly seems meager.

Suelo lights the candle and stokes a fire in the stove, which is an old blackened tin, the kind that Christmas cookies might come in. It’s hooked to a chain of soup cans segmented like a caterpillar and fitted to a hole in the rock. Soon smoke billows into the night and the cave is warm. I think of how John the Baptist survived on honey and locusts in the desert. Suelo, who keeps a copy of the Bible for bedtime reading, is satisfied with a few grasshoppers fried in his skillet.

Read More About Daniel Here

Heidemarie Schwermer

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Article from BusinessInsider.com:

In her early 50s, Schwermer decided to see what it’d be like to leave her cushy job as a psychotherapist and live money-free, a journey that’s been documented in the film “Living Without Money.”
Sixteen years later, she hasn’t looked back. Schwermer, now pushing 70, recently took a pause during her stay in Hamelin, Germany to chat with Business Insider about why she decided to leave everything behind.

WWII refugees, Schwermer’s family fled from Prussia to Germany in the 1940s. Her father had owned a successful coffee roastery and kept a nanny and full-time gardener on his payroll. “We were well-off but ended up as riff-raff,” she says. “Then we became rich again and (we) had to defend it. I’ve always had to justify myself, whether we were rich or poor.”

Throughout her life, she became fascinated with finding ways to live without money. A former teacher and psychotherapist, Schwermer formed Germany’s first exchange circle, “Give And Take Central” in 1994. The group helped locals exchange simple services like babysitting or house cleaning for tangible goods. “I noticed that I needed money less and less,” she told Business Insider. “And so I thought, I can try to live one year without money.”

Schwermer attempted to live without money at least four times, she says, but it wasn’t until a friend asked her to house sit for three months that she finally took the plunge. “I said, ‘The time is right. Now I’ll do it.’ I gave everything away.” That included her apartment, which she sold first, and everything that wouldn’t fit into a small suitcase.

What was only meant to last 12 months became her life for the next 16 years. “I only wanted to try to do an experiment and in that year, I noticed a new life,” she said. “I didn’t want to go back to the old life.”

Family and friends weren’t on board when she pitched the idea. She only sees her two children and three grandchildren a few times per year, but says they’ve warmed up to her come-and-go lifestyle. “Now they’re proud of what I’m doing. It’s enough for us,” she says.

After divorcing her first and only husband 40 years ago, Schwermer hasn’t re-married. She’s clearly not in any rush. “If it happens, I’m interested, yes,” she says. “Sometimes it does. Sometimes it doesn’t.”

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/heidemarie-schwermer-has-lived-without-money-for-16-years-2012-6?op=1#ixzz2J8pzM2dt

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The Property of Ownership, Africa Land Grabs, and Injustic

I would like, for a moment, to write about the property of ownership. Is the belief that we have ownership over a section of land, building(s), automobiles, and other items, man-made or not, a healthy thing for humanity?

The danger with ownership is that we believe we possess something, but that some-thing also possesses us, many times to our demise. One of the contributing factors to the depletion of many African resources and land, came when the white men discovered they had no law which said they owned their land. They simply lived on the land, farmed for food, and lived a quite communal lifestyle, free of laws. Well, because they had no law, the English decided to make their own, stating that where law did not exist, that land was under the law of Britain, and was free-game for the whites to conquer and claim as their own.

This process of “land grabbing” is continuing to this day. Here is some information about the issue from www.stopafricalandgrab.com:

“Land grabbing is the contentious issue of large-scale land acquisitions; the buying or leasing of large pieces of land in developing countries, by domestic and transnational companies, governments, and individuals. While used broadly throughout history, land grabbing as used today primarily refers to large-scale land acquisitions following the 2007-2008 world food price crisis. By prompting food security fears within the developed world and newfound economic opportunities for agricultural investors and speculators, the food price crisis caused a dramatic spike in large-scale agricultural investments, primarily foreign, in the Global South for the purposes of food and biofuels production. Initially hailed by investors and some developing countries as a new pathway towards agricultural development, investment in land has recently been criticized by a number of civil society, governmental, and multinational actors for the various negative impacts that it has had on local communities.
The target locations of most land grabs are in the Global South, with 70% of land grabs concentrated in Sub-Saharan Africa. Other primary areas of note are in Southeast Asia and Latin America.”

I will write more on this subject at a later time… stay tuned and please feel free to comment leaving your thoughts below.

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Poverty: The Greatest Crime of Humanity

We are told that poverty is a natural part of our world. We are told poverty will always exist. But my vision for life, our world, and our species call humanity, begins from a place of highest truth. Some call this place heaven, God, enlightenment, nirvana, and a slew of other terms which people throughout history have attributed to this place of peace and bliss.

I believe in the existence of this metaphysical reality, not in terms of an afterlife (nor do I disbelieve in an afterlife), but in terms of a well from which truth is drawn into the physical world. And if truth may be drawn from this realm of peace, are there any limitations on how much truth we may be able to drink and see evidenced in the earth? I believe not.

Let us consider the spiritual aspects which I believe exist in the realm of truth: peace, freedom, giving, compassion, joy, bliss, and contentment. All aspects of truth are found in the source of all things which is love. All aforementioned aspects occur from a place of simple love for one another. Love for all people and love for all of life. Can we say these words of love; peace and joy, are things which can be physically witnessed? Do we not call a tree a “tree” and a house a “house”? The words of love therefore are describing that which cannot be seen by the physical eye, but requires us to use imagination, faith, and the eye of our own heart.

We know the reality within words of love in many forms. We understand compassion when one gives of themselves for another’s well being. We are told that compassion is unnatural, however this is quite simply a lie which has become reality as it has been believed. Compassion, when known, becomes a most natural practice as it arises from our true human nature. It is believed by many that our nature is bent toward greed or “sin” as some call it, but we must reconnect with who we truly are, who we were at birth.

To know God is to understand ourselves. If we know God to be hateful, we will believe ourselves to be hateful. If we know God to be a liar, we will believe ourselves a liar. Many attempt to separate themselves from God, believing that God is good, yet we are bad. But to believe that would be to believe that a good creator would create something bad. The words of love, I believe are all that are worth attributing to God in the reality of which we live.
How do we reconnect with our true nature?

Re-connection to our true nature begins with the understanding that all questions are not only permissible, but necessary for understanding truth. Absolute truth is not found within a given answer, but in the questions we examine. When answers to questions are received they are not “end points” to our search for truth in a given subject, rather; they bring us to a new level of greater questions.

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If you think you have nothing to give, think again.

“And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us. So we urged Titus, just as he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part. But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.

I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.

And here is my judgment about what is best for you in this matter. Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so. Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.

Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality, as it is written: “The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.”

Written by Paul in 2 Cornithians 8:1-15 (from the New International Version)

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5 Solutions to Change the World

I’ve discovered five key solutions to share with the world to eliminate our problems of violence, fear, poverty, slavery, and hate.

1. Peace: Human history has always known war and violence toward one another. Because of this history we have accepted as fact that humanity will always be at war. However, I believe that peace will one day be known by our species, and I will work to that end, whether it be one or one-thoiuand years from now to be realized. I believe our faith can ony be realized as truth if we place it in that which has not yet been seen. And the truth of a world at peace, is the only truth befitting a God who is love.

2. Hope: It is often that I hear “hope” spoken of in a depresding manner. We hear people say “I hope so” commonly with a tone of belief that what we hope for likely will not happen. But I would offer that the only things we should have hope for are those things which there is no doubt we will achieve. I hope in peace, and a world filled with people who simply love one another, share resources, and bring freedom to all of life. These are dreams of mine which I believe to based in promises from a being who cannot lie – God.

3. Resourceful Giving: Poverty is a product of greed. Greed is humanity’s pursuit of power over another, as opposed to service to one another. As we learn the joy of giving we learn that giving is actually one of the most selfish acts we can do. Because giving not only improves the well being of another in need, but improves the well being of our world. When poverty is eliminated by a gift of fortune, the incentive for thousands of other problems is also eliminated, and we create a safer, more connected in relationship world.

4. Freedom: Liberty is one of life’s most badic rights. Freedom is at war with greed & humanity’s desire to rule others. For freedom to be realized we must stand against those who would seek to oppress and enslave others. We stand against oppresdion with weapons not of violence nor words of anger; but with a heart of love and justice.

5. Love: I believe every solution listed above is rooted on simple love for one another. As we, together in unity, learn more about what “loving one another” means, the world will know peace, hope, generosity, and freedom.

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