The collapse of capitalism will also be an end to money as the prime regulator of society — an eventuality both hard to imagine and necessary to understand. Anitra Nelson and Frans Timmerman have assembled an indispensable collection for those who are bold enough to explore this dramatic prospect. Life Without Money is an essential guidebook for the great debate now unfolding and around which our hopes for a worthwhile future unfold.
All ten contributors to this remarkable book insist on the link between the current economic system — with its money, markets and insatiable growth — and the exhausting of the planet ... the purpose of this collection is to begin to tease out the possibilities of a different economy and a sustainable relationship between society and nature ... Even when sketching out the most utopian scenarios, there is an exciting can-do optimism in Life Without Money ... a book like Life Without Money may be the canary in the mine, signalling it's time to come up for some fresh air and new thinking.
It comes as no surprise that 'Life Without Money: Building Fair and Sustainable Economies' has attained status as a landmark contribution in the debate for a moneyless society — Nelson's and Timmerman's publication does not only provide a highly readable text, but also a thought provoking assessment of the market-based status quo.
Phedeas Stephanides, 'Life Without Money: Building Fair and Sustainable Economies' book review International Journal of Community Currency Research 2012 16C, pp. 6–7.
[T]his is a valuable collection of essays that will spark classroom discussions of the possibilities for implementing change without massive social movements.
David Barkin Book review: Life Without Money Capitalism Nature Socialism 25: forthcoming. Availible online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10455752.2013.861975.
[A] remarkable collection on the praxis of non-market socialism. For the contributors of the volume, socialism/communism is not just a state or goal which we have to achieve in some distant future; rather, it is built through immediate practices that reject capitalism and its key institutions — market and money. They regard the manipulation of these institutions for their gradual transcendence to be deceptive, as 'the market system, and its quasi-god money, is a strong barrier to the political and cultural reforms needed to establish socialism'. The volume critiques the reduction of socialist revolution to combinatorics of state power and economic reformism.
Until I became a permaculturalist and a keen student of traditional Australian economics, I probably would have dismissed the sentiments expressed in [Life Without Money] ... as utopian wishfulness. In a highly urbanised and prosperous country with so many expressions of material entitlement life without money seems a flakey ideal ...
My household has been practising what Holmgren calls 'voluntary living within a depression economy' for many years ... I therefore find the main premise of Life Without Money — building fair and sustainable economies — not at all wishful in a prejorative sense, but manageable achievable and critically necessary in preparing for the unavoidable and ensuing crisis ...
It is important to note that in Life Without Money the editors give equal weight to theory and practice ...
Patrick Jones, Gifting economies: modelling alternative economies at the grassroots [feature review article] Arena Magazine — a magazine of left political, social and cultural commentary, #119, August 2012: pp. 23–27.
A timely contribution to an under-researched and under-reported area of economics: the theory of money and proposals for alternatives to the globalised capitalist financial system. I would recommend it to anyone interested in finding ways to develop an economy that functions without money.
The premise of this book is that capitalism is collapsing. It has been described as a contemporary field guide to non-market socialism. It’s fantastic for change agents because it goes right back looking at some of the very first people who discussed these ideas. It summarises history and thinking on these issues so that we can look at how to move forward.
It is certainly refreshing to come across a book that deals seriously with the idea of a world without money... the volume as a whole offers a refreshing look at alternatives to capitalism.
'PB' Gifts and giving. [Book review] Socialist Standard 1291, March 2012.
[T]his is a timely book, reconsidering some classic themes in a contemporary context focused on alternatives to money. Eleven chapters explore a range of interesting and important themes, loosely divided into critiques of capitalism and consumerism, and activism and experiments... There are helpful introductory and concluding chapters by the editors. Although all chapters are clear and easily understood by the non-specialist reader, the discussions are also likely to be valuable refreshers for professional students of political economy…
[My] comments indicate the valuable discussion issues that this book sets up. If the planet’s ecological and social systems continue their accelerating collapse we are soon going to have to confront the task of building new and very different systems, and central among the decisions to be made will be those to do with the nature and role of money. The book does a good job of stimulating thought about these issues.
Ted Trainer [Book review] Journal of Australian Political Economy 69 Winter 2012: pp. 158–160. (This review also appeared, due to a printing error only partially, in Australian Options 69, 2012.)
I was very impressed with your book. As the struggle for sustainability continues it becomes more evident that ecological socialism is the only path for humanity and other species as well.
Jack Mundey, famous Australian union and environmental activist, who led the Sydney Green Bans in Australia during the 1970s, letter to co-editors.
[A]n important contribution to the discussion we all (world wide) must have about the ‘economics’ of survival of life as we enjoy it on the planet. Despite our best efforts, under the present worldwide economic system, with ever increasing use of resources and energy to continue a physically impossible pursuit of individual profit and power on a planet of finite resources, a significant proportion of life on the planet will not survive. Will a few human survivors struggle to exist on Antarctica with a greatly reduced diversity of other life forms, as Lovelock has suggested?
How we change from an aggressive, competitive society (the survival of the fittest) to a co-operative mutually supportive society, survival of the species best able to fit into the finite environment — the fitting[in]est as Karl Henrik-Robèrt suggested Darwin really meant, rather than the fittest — is the issue explored in this book. I think it is an important book for people of any (or no) political persuasion. It is addressing the dilemma of humankind.
Moss Cass, Member of the Australian Parliament (25 October 1969 to 4 February 1983) and Minister for the Environment and Conservation in the Whitlam government, current Patron of the Sustainable Living Foundation (Australia), 7 April 2012 — email to co-editors.