Archive for May 5th, 2012

No Money

May 5, 2012

Is it possible to live completely without money in this day and age. Most people would say no, but Daniel Suelo would disagree. He has gone completely without money since 2000. I read about him in Yahoo News.

Daniel Suelo is 51 years old and broke. Happily broke. Consciously, deliberately, blessedly broke.

Not only does he not have debt, a mortgage or rent, he does not earn a salary. Nor does he buy food or clothes, or own any product with a lower case “i” before it. Home is a cave on public land outside Moab, Utah. He scavenges for food from the garbage or off the land (fried grasshoppers, anyone?). He has been known to carve up and boil fresh road kill. He bathes, without soap, in the creek.

In the fall of 2000, Suelo (who changed his name from Shellabarger), decided to stop using money altogether. That meant no “conscious barter,” food stamps or other government handouts. His mission was to “use only what is freely given or discarded and what is already present and already running,” he wrote on his web site, Zero Currency.

At first I thought he might be mentally ill, but he does not seem to be. I am just a little envious of him. It must be nice to live without all of the worries and trouble that having money and possessions bring with them. If you don’t have or need any money, you don’t have to work. Maybe Mr. Suelo is on to something. I can’t do it though. I have responsibilities that I cannot walk away from, and anyway I like my comforts.

Some people do not appreciate his life style.

While the book reviews have been generally positive, Suelo has come under fire by some who say he’s a derelict, sponging off society without contributing. They are valid criticisms: This is a guy, after all, who has gotten a citation for train hopping (what would Jesus say about that?). And he’s not opposed to house sitting in winter–not exactly living off the land.

And besides: How is he actually helping others by going without? It’s not like he’s solving world hunger, or curing cancer.

Sundeen disputes these arguments. “He doesn’t accept any government programs—welfare, food stamps, Medicare,” he said. “The only ways in which he actually uses taxpayer funded derivatives is walking on roads and using the public library. So in that regard he’s a mooch–he’s using the roads and not paying taxes. But if you try to quantify the amount of money he’s taking from the system—it’s a couple of dollars a year, less than anyone’s ever used.”

Instead, he is actively promoting “his idea that money is an illusion,” Sundeen said. “The Fed just prints it up, it doesn’t mean anything and it’s going to lead us down the road to serfdom.” Suelo simply doesn’t want to contribute to that, and so he lives life on his own terms.

I don’t think it is fair to call Suelo a mooch, either. He is not living off anyone, especially the taxpayers. His friend Sundeen is right about money being an illusion. Those green pieces of paper the government prints are not really worth anything, except what people think they are.

Anyway, if Obama is reelected, we might all be living without money, in caves.

No Money

May 5, 2012

Is it possible to live completely without money in this day and age. Most people would say no, but Daniel Suelo would disagree. He has gone completely without money since 2000. I read about him in Yahoo News.

Daniel Suelo is 51 years old and broke. Happily broke. Consciously, deliberately, blessedly broke.

Not only does he not have debt, a mortgage or rent, he does not earn a salary. Nor does he buy food or clothes, or own any product with a lower case “i” before it. Home is a cave on public land outside Moab, Utah. He scavenges for food from the garbage or off the land (fried grasshoppers, anyone?). He has been known to carve up and boil fresh road kill. He bathes, without soap, in the creek.

In the fall of 2000, Suelo (who changed his name from Shellabarger), decided to stop using money altogether. That meant no “conscious barter,” food stamps or other government handouts. His mission was to “use only what is freely given or discarded and what is already present and already running,” he wrote on his web site, Zero Currency.

At first I thought he might be mentally ill, but he does not seem to be. I am just a little envious of him. It must be nice to live without all of the worries and trouble that having money and possessions bring with them. If you don’t have or need any money, you don’t have to work. Maybe Mr. Suelo is on to something. I can’t do it though.  I have responsibilities that I cannot walk away from, and anyway I like my comforts.

Some people do not appreciate his life style.

While the book reviews have been generally positive, Suelo has come under fire by some who say he’s a derelict, sponging off society without contributing. They are valid criticisms: This is a guy, after all, who has gotten a citation for train hopping (what would Jesus say about that?). And he’s not opposed to house sitting in winter–not exactly living off the land.

And besides: How is he actually helping others by going without? It’s not like he’s solving world hunger, or curing cancer.

Sundeen disputes these arguments. “He doesn’t accept any government programs—welfare, food stamps, Medicare,” he said. “The only ways in which he actually uses taxpayer funded derivatives is walking on roads and using the public library. So in that regard he’s a mooch–he’s using the roads and not paying taxes. But if you try to quantify the amount of money he’s taking from the system—it’s a couple of dollars a year, less than anyone’s ever used.”

Instead, he is actively promoting “his idea that money is an illusion,” Sundeen said. “The Fed just prints it up, it doesn’t mean anything and it’s going to lead us down the road to serfdom.” Suelo simply doesn’t want to contribute to that, and so he lives life on his own terms.

I don’t think it is fair to call Suelo a mooch, either. He is not living off anyone, especially the taxpayers. His friend Sundeen is right about money being an illusion. Those green pieces of paper the government prints are not really worth anything, except what people think they are.

Anyway, if Obama is reelected, we might all be living without money, in caves.


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