This is the information James Taris shared with LETS groups all over the world on his international LETS tours between 2002-2004.
first Western man to declare non use of
As of the 16th. March 2001 I Conrad B. Born have ceased to use the common accepted currency of any nation. That is to say I will not use money in anyway to enable my life. Instead I will use the means of "Complimentary Currencies", or barter.
In order to make a clear delineation of my non use of money, I will not keep money in the form of cash, in a bank, building society or trust or even handle money in any way. Any monies handed or given to me for any reason will be placed in a sack and then given away within 24 hours to a person in need or a worthy cause. (At any time that money is in my possession I will not use it in any way. I realise this is only a very slim delineation between use and non use. I hope to be trusted in the same way as I will be learning trust that my course is true and worthy for mankind)
If a person purchases a need or object I request and for which we create an exchange through the use of a complimentary currency or barter, this means is acceptable. That is to say if a person uses money on my behalf, but with whom I barter, it keeps the use of money once removed. By purposefully creating such hurdles the real necessity, time and sustainable elements are more deeply considered.
Our way of life has become so enveloped with the use of money, that there are very few options open at present. My intention is to renew old pathways within the present scheme of things, and hopefully create new ones and enable alternative methods.
My intention is to use as many of the present alternative currencies/systems in place today, possibly introduce other systems such as the Japanese "Hureai Kippu" to the UK or at least canvas for it to occur and encourage the addition of any new ideas which enhance the concept of "Sustainable abundance". This will involve building a network, beginning with our local LETScheme and including those with whom I make barter agreements.
I wish to highlight the narrowness and fear of scarcity of monetary thought by example, creating "sustainable abundance" without using money. Bernard Leitaer believes we can use both ways by redressing the balance with complimentary currencies and Michael Rowbotham suggests reform � not a new system. I am not suggesting that we do away with the present monetary system at all and I support the positively and realism in their concepts and understand that they have taken to heart the adage, "Use the problem as part of the solution". But at this time as the scales are so unbalanced I am going to put all my weight onto the lighter side.
Ultimately it�s about consciousness.
It is not just a case of survival and money , but to raise our consciousness with and through, recognition of consumer addiction, greed and fear of scarcity.
It is my intention to open up a more realistic consciousness regarding money by not using it. To me it feels as if we are caught on a one way road, where the global attitude is suffocating us and the planet. Especially Bio-regionally and any sense of community, so necessary for the perpetuation of our species. Remember it takes a whole village to raise a child. I wish to revitalise the local way of life by building a local network and begin to re-balance Libra. Now we can have both global and local, Our diversity coupled with IT, are the tools, yet we must start at the same place as peace begins � at home!
I realise this is an ongoing process and I see great possibilities. The first movements of the tsunami have just begun with the beginnings of 2600 known complimentary currencies or exchange systems. A tsunami it has to be. A small trickle is not sufficient, for the evidence is such that we have only 20 maybe 30 years remaining should we continue on our present course.
This has to be a wave we can ride towards sustainable abundance. It has to have this sort of movement and become a movement, for we need the power of numbers to sway the consensus reality and to support the revolution of higher consciousness. There will be a fight afoot, fortunately not with the sword, maybe not even with the legal system, but that of human rights recognition not yet realised.
As consciousness grows there will be differences that seem unsurpassable, as consciousness grows, I have found it releases more acceptance. With acceptance and the ingenuity of our minds, we can find a way.
I do not have a totally defined plan, I have considered several points, which in some cases are only "subtitles". I intend to find the answers as I go along. I trust that time with the help of the wave riders will reveal them. A song by the singer and musician Enya asks the question "who knows" � she answers � "only time".
I realise that I am by no means the first, and many have gone before in a variety of different ways and means. I am sure I am not the first to live without money in the Western World, in the year 2001. But I shall declare it, and make a noise about it through all the mediums available in an effort to raise consciousness and turn the trickle into a surfable tsunami. If anyone else feels they have the right to this title I am quite happy to relinquish it.
Apart from being a course to follow towards sustainable abundance and a challenge of our resistance to change, it is also a form of "civil disobedience" towards the major politics, policies and corporations who seem determined to run our lives. So by not using money I will not pay any major taxes towards systems which in the scheme of things do not appear to be working sufficiently towards necessary sustainability.
Please note: I have had to amend my original statement in order to enable less stress for my partner and our relationship, which continues on a firm footing. But due to the risks that are becoming apparent connected to housing authorities and benefits to that of being fraudulent and the fact that some local councils are now hassling a few LETS users without true guidelines from the government, we have decided that I must now move out of our home and live separately. We hope that this is a temporary measure until such time as "complimentary currencies" are more widely accepted and/or the government sees the wisdom and support which is gained by using them. As you can see this course of action which I have chosen has many far reaching applications.
In my original statement I stated that, "I have an agreement with my partner that I will maintain a balance by supplying other goods, materials and even services through the use of complimentary currencies or barter, so that some of the elements for which my partner uses money are lessened, and the monies left over are used to cover my share of presently non tradable utilities and goods." Now by living separately this does not apply and yes, it could possibly put more strain on both of us in addition to two domiciles. Although as time goes on mine will be more and more of a sustainable nature.
I realise this is leaving me open to the criticism that I am just "copping out". I would like to point out that this is just the beginning. I intend to wean money totally out of my life as time goes on as I believe this will create a path towards greater sustainability. I am not doing this to enable a lazy life, and if you take the time to think on it, the number of pleasures money brings in its instancy, are not mine to enjoy any more. (As a chocoholic, no more instant fixes as I pass the paper store!)
This is, but the beginning. What follows is, I hope a chronicling of events, ideas and experiences, even a data base, coupled with input from anyone who takes an interest in this process and who wishes to grow towards sustainable abundance.
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