Mark Boyle (Moneyless Man)
May 8, 1979
Ballyshannon, County Donegal, Ireland
|Residence||near Bath, UK|
|Education||BA in Business|
|Alma mater||Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology|
|Occupation||writer, activist, freeconomist|
Mark Boyle aka The Moneyless Man (born 8 May 1979) is an Irish activist and writer best known for founding the online Freeconomy Community, and for living without money since November 2008. Boyle writes regularly for the Freeconomy Blog and British newspaper The Guardian. His first book, The Moneyless Man: A Year of Freeconomic Living was published in 2010. Boyle currently lives near Loughrea, in the west of Ireland.
During his first six years in the UK, Boyle lived in Bristol and managed two organic food companies. In 2007, after a conversation with a friend during which they decided "money... creates a kind of disconnection between us and our actions", Boyle set up the Freeconomy Community.
A few months after creating the Freeconomy Community, Boyle set out on a two-and-a-half year trek from Bristol to Porbandar in India, the birthplace of Gandhi. Inspired by the non-violent salt march led across India by Gandhi in 1930, and by America’s ‘Peace Pilgrim’, he set off in January 2008, carrying no money and only a small number of possessions. However, he was forced to turn back only a month into the trip, as language barriers halted his journey shortly after he arrived in Calais.
Later in the same year, Boyle developed an alternative plan: to live without money entirely. After some preparatory purchases (including a solar panel and wood-burning stove), he began his first year of Moneyless living on Buy Nothing Day 2008.
Boyle has received considerable positive and negative publicity for his moneyless lifestyle, appearing on television, radio and other media in the UK, Ireland, Australia, South Africa, USA and Russia. Much of the attention has focussed on his day-to-day routine, including food, hygiene, and traditionally expensive aspects of life, such as Christmas.
Mark Boyle is one of a small number of individuals who have lived without money in recent times. These include Heidemarie Schwermer and Daniel Suelo. However, Boyle frequently reminds his readers that a moneyless life is not a new idea; indeed it is the system of money itself that is the new development, having existed for only a small fraction of human history.
As of October 4, 2012 the official website, www.justfortheloveofit.org claims "There are now 42425 members in 168 countries sharing 519515 skills, 106784 tools and 660 spaces" on the Freeconomy Community site. It shares similarities with websites such as The Freecycle Network, Freegle and Streetbank. The Freeconomy Community allows people to share, moving away from exchange economies towards a pay it forward philosophy.
Alongside the online component of the Freeconomy Community, several areas including Bristol and London hold Freeskilling sessions, where freeconomists take turns to pass on their skills in free one-off evening classes. Past topics have included subjects ranging from charity fundraising and anger management to bicycle maintenance, bread-making and campaigning skills.
Boyle has been the primary author of the Freeconomy Blog since it was launched in 2007. Guest writers have recently included fellow moneyless people Heidemarie Schwermer, Daniel Suelo and Tomi Astikainen.
The Freeconomy Village
Boyle is currently working with others to set up the UK’s first land-based Freeconomic community. Other founding members include Shaun Chamberlin, author of The Transition Timeline (2009), and Fergus Drennan, also known as the BBC’s Roadkill Chef.
The Moneyless Man
Boyle’s first book, The Moneyless Man: A Year of Freeconomic Living, was published in June 2010 by Oneworld Publications. The book documents his first moneyless year, including many of the practical and philosophical challenges he faced. The author’s proceeds go to the Freeconomy trust, towards purchasing land for the foundation of the Freeconomy Community.
- "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."
- "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."
- "If you don't own a plasma screen TV, people think you're an extremist."
- "It was really important for me to give up bank accounts so I closed my bank accounts so there was no safety net. I think that's the key. I think if I had a safety net I would not have got the benefits that I got from it. It was the fact that I knew I was living moment to moment, day to day."
- Mark Boyle, “My year of living without money” The Guardian, 9 November 2009
- Mark Boyle (September 16, 2010). The Moneyless Man: A Year of Freeconomic Living. Oneworld Publications. ISBN 978-1851687817.
- Conor Pope, “Putting cash in the trash”, Irish Times, 9 August 2010
- Mark Boyle, “Mark Boyle – The Moneyless Man”, The People’s United Community, retrieved 14 February 2011
- Mark Boyle, “I live without money – and I manage just fine”, The Guardian, 28 October 2009
- (18 May 2010) Matt Ford, Free and easy? One man's experiment in living without money”, CNN, retrieved 29 September 2011
- Kimberley Mok, “"Freeconomy" Pilgrim Begins Walk From Britain to India”, Treehugger, 1 Feb 2008
- BBC, “Penniless India trek is under way”, BBC News, 30 January 2008
- Steven Morris, “Passage to India curtailed in Calais as language barrier trips campaigner”, The Guardian, 1 March 2008
- The Mirror, “Meet the man who lived on no cash for a year”, The Mirror, 25 November 2009
- Simon Newton, “Man To Go Cashless For A Year”, Sky News, 29 November 2008
- Matt Ford, “Free and easy? One man’s experiment in living without money”, CNN World, 18 Many 2010
- Jessica Salter, “The man who lives without money”, The Telegraph, 18 August 2010
- Mark Boyle, “Mark Boyle's 'Moneyless Man': Why I Live Without Money (VIDEO)”, The Huffington Post, 23 September 2010
- Mark Boyle, “The man who lives without money”, ABC Environment, 12 April 2010
- Tiara Walters, “Priceless liberation”, Times Live (South Africa), 31 October 2010
- Heidemarie Schwermer Living without Money
- Stefanie Marsh, “Living without money”, The Times, 24 November 2009
- Christopher Ketcham, “Meet the man who lives on zero dollars”, Details, July 2009
- Shaun Chamberlin, “Dark Optimism – Projects Page”, Dark Optimism (blog), retrieved 14 February 2011
- Mark Boyle, “Celebrity Short With Mark Boyle”, World News, retrieved 14 February 2011
- "‘Moneyless Mark’ the Donegal man who plans to live in money-free community". Donegal Democrat. 20 May 2013. Retrieved 20 May 2013.
- The Freeconomy Community
- The Freeconomy Blog
- Moneyless man Guardian column
- Video of Mark Boyle speaking at TEDxO'Porto, June 2011