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Homeless by Choice: How to Live for Free in America

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posted on May, 29 2012 @ 10:44 PM
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"Our whole society is designed so that you have to have money," Daniel Suelo says. "You have to be a part of the capitalist system. It's illegal to live outside of it."


In my time at ATS, I've come to see how money is the ultimate tool for enslavement. The United States has kind of proven to be an example of how this happens as the Fed devalue your money according to what it needs and we are at its mercy with regards to what we have "earned" is "worth".

But the thought of having no money is surely an uncomfortable one. I've always admired stories of communities who set up their own money to get away from federal tyrannical exploitation, but I can't escape the thought that it's just another dirty system that can and will be exploited once it's a big enough system to drastically change lives.

So, in my heart of hearts, I wonder if we are just naturally doomed to exploit each other. I've heard it argued that without financial incentive that we would never have the impetus to devise technological or humanitarian advancements, but that is an extremely sobering thought for me.

Is it true? Are we completely unable to love each other enough so that the betterment of our brethren is not sufficient reward?

I came across the below article some time ago and I am enchanted by the story of the man who quit money. While it's easy to romanticize, doing away with money would take some adjustment, to say the least. But wouldn't it feel good to NOT have to lower our selves to the lowest form of humans (those who hoard money while humans suffer and starve) just to live our daily lives? There has to be something better.

The Man Who Quit Money




posted on May, 29 2012 @ 10:55 PM
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The judge was a kindly white-haired man. "So you live without money," he drawled. "This is an honorable thing. But we live in the modern world. We have all these laws for a reason." Suelo hears this all the time: that we're living in different times now, that however noble his values, their practice is obsolete.
reply to post by godWhisperer
 


There are levels of survival, but are you willing to consider them?
If you want to stay in the US being homeless is not a very positive way to live, unless you have an open space, but still you are breaking the law and will be in jail, or a mental institution.

You can move outside of the US, or find other like minded people who form the very thing that started it all. In the end, we are just Rats caught in a cage. Enjoy it if you got it.
Money does not have to be all bad.
You can do a lot of good with money, if that reflects who you are.

edit on 29-5-2012 by zysin5 because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 29 2012 @ 10:56 PM
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reply to post by godWhisperer
 


Very admirable! If there were an area here in western ny like that I'd consider doing the same



posted on May, 29 2012 @ 11:01 PM
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reply to post by zysin5
 


thanks for responding! do you mean the sacrifices we'd have to make? i mean, i'd have to give up a lot of my habits were i to give up money right now, but i wonder if it would do me good in the long run. One of the reasons I think we've come to not care about each other's suffering is the disconnect we experience via being so focused on just making it.

And if we are talking about a systemic implementation of more egalitarian cultural mores, then what could be possible if we made it our priority that everyone is taken care of? That's a level of existence I love to think about.

I see you've edited your post, and I think you began to stray away from what I'm thinking about here. It's not that money can't do good things, it's that the very concept of money is deleterious to humans as a whole species.

think about things like the electric car or the thought that pharmaceutical companies might allow disease to exist because it's profitable, these things could not exist if we didn't have this tool for arbitrarily putting a value on a person's actions (you can't tell me everybody has the same opportunity to make a buck).

edit on 5/29/12 by godWhisperer because: respond to edit



posted on May, 29 2012 @ 11:04 PM
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reply to post by godWhisperer
 


Money is a tool used by the capitalist class to keep those at the top at the top, and those on the bottom on the bottom.

Money is only necessary because capitalism creates an artificial scarcity of resources, assuring only those with money have access to them.

This keeps us, instead of having the skill to be autonomously self-sufficient, reliant on capitalists supplying 'jobs' where we are exploited.

Poverty is not a lack of money, it is a lack of resources. The main thing that keeps resources scarce is underproduction. If the means to produce were owned in common, we wouldn't need their money, we could simply produce what we need.



posted on May, 29 2012 @ 11:08 PM
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I have thought of doing this on several occasions.

Unfortunatly, I hate being alone...Money I can do without, someone to talk to...well that's another story.

In other news, anyone want to go camping for a few decades?



posted on May, 29 2012 @ 11:10 PM
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reply to post by ANOK
 


awesome, ANOK! yes, so by definition it is exploitative and a tool for control, but i wonder if it's possible to even consider a society like, say, Jacque Fresco might envision (not that i think his ideas are the answer, but i think they are a good example of the type of thinking i'm referencing here).

honestly, when considering this thread i felt some on ATS might attack the idea (or me) as being unrealistic and generalized as 'hippy'. but i really would like to know what people on ATS think about the tenability of the idea of a society without money.
edit on 5/29/12 by godWhisperer because: clarity



posted on May, 29 2012 @ 11:26 PM
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reply to post by godWhisperer
 





But the thought of having no money is surely an uncomfortable one. I've always admired stories of communities who set up their own money to get away from federal tyrannical exploitation, but I can't escape the thought that it's just another dirty system that can and will be exploited once it's a big enough system to drastically change lives.


Not to ignore the main focus of your post but this rang a bell with me. I have always thought the answer to money corruption is drastic money competition. Imagine having thousands of currencies to choose from, sure it would be complicated but it would be in the best interest of the money controllers to have the money be as honest as possible else it would no longer be used.

The only reason the dollar can be manipulated so greatly is because it is the monopoly of currency.

Imagine having currencies based on gold, silver, debt, titanium, oil, shells, faith, whatever we want and then being able to accept any currency and be able to exchange it for our preferred currency. Any manipulated currency would very quickly go out of use. The competition would ensure that only the best currencies were used. Probably not a perfect system but certainly preferable to what we have. Just my thoughts, figured I would share.



posted on May, 29 2012 @ 11:31 PM
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Its always something for everybody.. Like me.. It's a shower.. If people didn't have to bathe without smelling like walking bags of musty meat I'd be one homeless ash dude.. I hate not bathing, I just don't feel right.

I guess maybe I should find me a good waterfall to bathe in. If it comes down to it, I will.



posted on May, 29 2012 @ 11:45 PM
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reply to post by sageofmonticello
 


wow! that's an interesting idea! perhaps competing currencies would make for more honest exchanges. i sure as hell would rather take a currency backed by something with more intrinsic value than the fiat currency used by the US gov't (who will absolutely steal value from our money by printing more of it out of thin air).

i guess in real capitalism the market would actually dictate what each currency would be worth, but i can't pay my power bill in godWhisperer currency (which is good! i swear it!) and if i don't pay my power bill there will certainly be hell to pay from the city, who knows who else would be mad at me if i didn't pay for power. I also can't pay property tax with gW currency so my paid-off house would be taken away from me even though i paid the bank way more than the sales price of the house.

i guess what i'm saying is that it really is illegal to live without their money in this country. are other countries this way?



posted on May, 29 2012 @ 11:50 PM
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reply to post by Mizzijr
 


i'm kind of interested more in whether the shower and living with no money are mutually exclusive. the guy in the story definitely needs to address his body odor in ways different than we do, but is it possible to have as good of showers as we have now but in a society not run by money?

what if there are actually better showers out there, showers that somehow lessen our reliance on the current US money (i don't know- maybe they have a filter and recycle the water efficiently or something), it would be in the interest of those with the money to keep us from taking the best shower of our lives!!! we are actually taking lesser showers because The Man wants us enslaved to the inferior shower!

haha, off the deep end, but kinda along the lines of what i'm getting at.



posted on May, 30 2012 @ 12:26 AM
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Originally posted by godWhisperer
reply to post by ANOK
 


awesome, ANOK! yes, so by definition it is exploitative and a tool for control, but i wonder if it's possible to even consider a society like, say, Jacque Fresco might envision (not that i think his ideas are the answer, but i think they are a good example of the type of thinking i'm referencing here).

honestly, when considering this thread i felt some on ATS might attack the idea (or me) as being unrealistic and generalized as 'hippy'. but i really would like to know what people on ATS think about the tenability of the idea of a society without money.


If people would only realise that traditionally the left was all about creating a society that was free of all forms of hierarchy, which includes money. True communism is an economic system that is cash-free, one based on the communal common ownership of resources. That what it is if you take away all the political baggage that has been associated with it.

We could have a money free society if the means to produce, land factories machinery etc., was owned in common, and the workers themselves ran and controlled industry (socialism). That way we could produce what we need, not work 'jobs' to produce goods that simply make profit for the private owner.

We waste so much energy simply producing crap that we are convinced, by advertising etc., we need, in order for a minority privileged class of people to live in luxury, while the majority struggle. That energy and the 'machinery' could be used to improve the lives of all of us.



posted on May, 30 2012 @ 12:42 AM
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Just to post a reply that is more inline with the topic.

I have often thought about doing something similar. Honestly, the only thing holding me back is the fact that i love my wife and she would never stand for it. If she ever left me I think I would do this in a heartbeat, I already have a nice wide open stretch of land in mind where it would be quite easy to disappear. I love the idea of what this person is doing.

In a way, this is still sorta my plan only I will be going about it a quite bit differently. I really see the need for money a bit unavoidable in this country. I think in other countries it is easier to get away with the refusal of using money. Here we are trapped and though this guy has found an out, if too many people followed suit it would quickly be stamped out. At any time the law can decide to step in a force this guy back into the system, honestly, he has just been lucky, though I think he has made his own luck in a way as well. In other countries with less population and different laws he wouldn't really have much to worry about.

My plan is simply to use the money/power system as little as possible. My wife and I have a dream we are working towards of purchasing a large plot of land where it is nice and cheap, she will continue to work, cause she loves her job and it is in extreme demand and quite honestly, will always be. Not to mention she loves the modern world and it's comforts. Me, I will be using our land to feed us, use the resources on the land to build our home and really just living as close to nature as I prefer too.

I see the alternative of living simply and cheaply as a better alternative to living without money completely, though I could see myself dropping out completely with the proper motivation.

Anyhow, thanks for the nice read OP, s&f from me.
edit on 30-5-2012 by sageofmonticello because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 30 2012 @ 12:54 AM
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reply to post by ANOK
 


I agree that it sounds great in theory but I have never understood how it would work. I mean where does personal incentive to work hard come from if not from the promise of personal benefit for oneself and ones family? Where does the innovation come from? What of the people that refuse to work, that wish to do nothing at all? Where does the art come from? If bad artist that have no appeal still have everything provided for them, why wouldn't everyone become an artist and make crappy music that nobody likes or crappy paintings that hurt your eyes to look at?

If everyone got everything they needed and did the work that they wanted who would do the jobs nobody wants to do?

The jobs that are dangerous, dirty, etc... that are necessary for the world to function? I can only see force being involved for it to work and force kinda takes all the good will out of the equation.

Please, don't think I am attacking your point of view, just some honest questions as it seems like a great ideal but simply unpractical and not very suited towards human nature. I just don't see how such a world would function and wouldn't mind having a gentle, respectful, intelligent and honest discussion about it. That is, if it doesn't derail the thread too much




edit on 30-5-2012 by sageofmonticello because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 30 2012 @ 01:04 AM
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reply to post by ANOK
 


again, ANOK, i totally agree! it seems like such common sense to me that if everybody's needs were taken care of we'd have a much more pleasurable existence, all of us. suffering clearly begets suffering in this world.

and it reminds me of that einstein quote: "everybody is a genius. but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will go its whole life believing it is stupid."

when we try to shoehorn people into positions designed exclusively to line other people's pockets, we're doomed to suffering. if we had a much more realistic goal of each contributing what we're able to contribute for the common good then it would seem to be better for everybody (except those who prefer to sit on a pile of money and hoard it).

i know i tread in dangerous territory here. 'communism' is a vile word on ATS, it seems. those who, like you say, are convinced that the best thing to do is have all the stuff that they deserve because, goddammit, they worked for it. i feel lucky to have the position i have and the ability to make money, but i'm not going to fool myself into thinking i worked any harder than the barista who gave me tea earlier today, or the janitor who takes out my trash at the office. each of these people struggle to live and pay people who often worked less than most have for things considered necessities (food, heat, shelter).

i do believe that the suffering created by impossible situations (like wages that make it so somebody can work more than full time yet earn less than poverty-level money) has an effect on on all of us.

is it morally acceptable to hoard millions or billions while innocent people starve to death? how could we have come to a point where it's acceptable that somebody could have billions of dollars while people starve to death?

i guess part of my intrigue with living without money is from the desire to do away with the only thing that gives these horrible people their power.



posted on May, 30 2012 @ 01:19 AM
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There are many people doing just that in the South East. Take the Atchafalaya Basin in Louisiana. People have been living in the swamps on house boats for years. They pull right up to a dry piece of land, cut out a garden and live off the bayou. Anyone and everyone can do something similar in their area. That's the way we were made to live, in harmony with nature. Take what you need and only what you need.

Atchafalaya Houseboat
edit on 30-5-2012 by GuidedKill because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 30 2012 @ 01:20 AM
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On one hand I believe poverty is the natural state for humans. Wealth is an artificial state, created by the invention of money. Fighting poverty is a fight against the natural state.

On the other hand, people in poverty seeing people with wealth, want the wealthy to give them things. Like kids expecting stuff from parents, when they grow up they expect people that have things to hand things to them.

It makes me feel very uncomfortable, when a mob sees I have something they want that they don't have. It makes me uncomfortable to drive past many hitchhikers that expect me to pick them up just because I have a car, then recognize them in the next town.



posted on May, 30 2012 @ 01:45 AM
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Originally posted by sageofmonticello
reply to post by ANOK
 


I agree that it sounds great in theory but I have never understood how it would work. I mean where does personal incentive to work hard come from if not from the promise of personal benefit for oneself and ones family?


The personal incentive is still there, we all want more, we don't need money for that. In fact in the capitalist model the worker has no real motivation to work harder, only to do the minimum required to maintain the job.

In socialism, that still uses money, the worker is more motivated because you are paid directly on your production.
The more you work, the more profit is possible, thus the more you earn.

Capitalism has a habit of keeping us from really advancing as quickly as we could. Anything that is a threat to profits of a large industry is in one way or another suppressed.


Where does the innovation come from?


The desire to produce a better world?


What of the people that refuse to work, that wish to do nothing at all?


If they choose to do that then they can. No one is forced to work, that is the point. If you can be self sufficient, and not by exploiting others, then why not? It's not about just giving people stuff, you still have to work for it.


Where does the art come from? If bad artist that have no appeal still have everything provided for them, why wouldn't everyone become an artist and make crappy music that nobody likes or crappy paintings that hurt you eyes to look at?


First off nothing is being provided. Who is doing the providing? No, people will still have to work somehow, resources don't just appear. If all the available labour is put to producing for our needs it has been estimated we would only have to work at most three hours a day. That gives us more time for personal desires.

People will have more time to pursue whatever they want. An artists under capitalism either starves, or works right?


If everyone got everything they needed and did the work that they wanted who would do the jobs nobody wants to do?


First off a job would not be life's priority, people would start defining their lives in what they do outside of work.


The jobs that are dangerous, dirty, etc... that are necessary for the world to function?


Again people will have to work in order to share in resources, it's not a complete free for all. Each community would decide exactly how they choose to distribute resources.


Please, don't think I am attacking your point of view, just some honest questions as it seems like a great ideal but simply unpractical and not very suited towards human nature. I just don't see how such a world would function and wouldn't mind having a gentle, respectful, intelligent and honest discussion about it. That is, if it doesn't derail the thread too much


No not at all, they are valid questions. Human "nature" has been shaped by the society we live in, our true nature has been perverted because of the system we live in. We have stopped thinking of ourselves as a community, but as individuals separate from community. But the capitalist class work as a community, organizing as groups in order to benefit themselves as individuals. They don't want us to be organized, because then we start getting ideas outside of our class, and we become a danger to the capitalist class.

Yeah a cash free society is a long way from ever becoming a reality. Before that happens we would first have to have worker ownership, socialism, and I don't see that happening anytime soon either.

Personally I'm not completely against money, but I am against private ownership, capitalism, because it is exploitation. If the workers owned the means of production, money would be more evenly distributed, instead of going to minority groups who become so financially powerful they can control the state to their benefit.



posted on May, 30 2012 @ 01:47 AM
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GuidedKill- thank you for that link! i live in the extreme northern california and in the 60s there was a movement up here called the back-to-landers who all tried to make a commune near the mattole river. The story in that link reminded me of their ideology. I hear there's still some of those people living (much like you describe) in that community. I'd love to learn more about those who live in the southeast and how they make it. the cops don't mess with them?

and Dbriefed i want to thank you for your post because these are the very issues that are hard to answer whenever we get into a discussion about money/wealth equality. i know what you mean and i have lots of respect for the issues you present. what i wonder is if everybody could have their needs met then you wouldn't have to worry about the safety of your needs, i guess. and i can already hear ATSers telling me how naive this is, but that's kind of the thing i was hoping to discuss here; when you get down to it, is the concept of doing away with money a tenable idea?

your point about there being dangerous jobs is a great one, what is a classic communist response to this?

i think the earlier idea of competing currency is an interesting one and seems like a natural fit for capitalism. this would seem to prevent wealth stratification. we really don't have real capitalism now, do we?

i really want to stress that i have just found these issues interesting and i appreciate the ATS community. i'm not trying to argue for any ology (although i do believe the system we have in the US equates to slavery currently), i'm interested in the discussion so i totally appreciate you getting me to think!



posted on May, 30 2012 @ 01:53 AM
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What kind of dangerous jobs?

Many jobs would not be necessary if profit wasn't desired.

For example we could develop wind and solar power, and stop digging for coal.

Many jobs are dangerous simply because it's too expensive to make them safer, or create alternatives.



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