Is it possible to Live without Money

People have been using money for thousands of years. Certainly it makes a better servant than master, but given the advantages of using money, I am unsure why anyone would want to live without it, and it may not be possible for most people.

I see two basic options for those who choose to live without money: total self-subsistence, perhaps with some bartering with other people or businesses; or resorting to begging for food, clothing, and shelter.

Critics complain that money has nothing behind it and it’s illusory, but that is actually its appeal and the genius behind it. If money is worthless, why do people want it all the time? It’s a promise that when received, it will still be good when it’s given again. The properties of money are so remarkable (means of exchange, unit of account, and store of value) that its value should be apparent. The governments of the world print currency (and most money is electronic now) and creation of money via the banking system greases the wheels of the world’s economy. Currency is also referred to as the “blood” if the economy were a human body.

Consider the difficulty of finding and preparing food. People do have gardens, but could they match the variety, safety standards, and availability of food if they had to completely rely on the land to produce it? Most people work and trade the value of their labor for food produced by someone else. And what makes this possible? Money. Living without money means scratching in the dirt to find enough food for one’s self and trading anything else you can find if you don’t gather enough for yourself.

Even bartering systems in existance tend to move towards using some kind of currency. They run into serious problems when one person (a doctor, dentist, or some other kind of specialist) has something everyone else wants, but don’t consume enough of what everyone else has in return. “Credits” earned through co-ops or some kind of bartering services are a kind of money – that cannot be used anywhere besides the co-op. Why not just use the convenience and ease of money?

Churches want money, individuals want money, businesses want money, investors want money, entrepreneurs want money. Mother Teresa would have welcomed more money – it would have helped further her goals. People save money, they waste it, spend it, invest it. Money is what people think about every day and most often, and so much that they don’t even think that they’re thinking about it. We all have goals in our lives – definitely a good thing – and money usually helps us arrive at our goals.
Modern society needs money, and all of us are a part of modern society. A few clever or indigant individuals who refuse to use money or cannot access any money may find a way to survive without money, but the vast majority of us cannot get by without money. Money is not good or bad, but it is an extraordinarily useful tool, especially when used wisely.