A life without Euros
By Miriam Landman on August 5, 2011
Wouldn’t it be great to return to the times of the barter economy? There would be no worries about money, no bubbles and most important: more equality between people. It’s no coincidence that over the past 15 years more and more social exchange systems have popped up. These systems are called LETS: Local Exchange Trading System. LETS have their own complementary currency, like Noppes, an Amsterdam based LETS example. When you deliver a service or product, you earn Noppes. With these Noppes then you buy the products or services you need. It can be a fun and cheap way to get a job done or even a strategy to survive for countries that can’t keep up with the highly competitive world economy.
But holding on to a barter system on your own in a prosperous country like Germany, that must not be easy. The 69 year old Heidemari Schwermer gave up using money 15 years ago. It all started with Schwermer opening a swap shop for the huge amount of Dortmund’s homeless. Soon after she decided not to buy anything without giving something away. Next step was quitting her job. By 1995, the shop had changed her life so much that she was spending almost nothing, as everything she needed seemed to find its way into her life. A year after she sold her apartment and decided to live nomadically, trading things and services for everything she needed. It was supposed to be a 1-year experiment, but she just couldn’t give up her new lifestyle and said to be happier than ever.
Watch the trailer of the documentary about Heidemari Schwermer: Living without money.
If you go to the Burning Man and get hooked to the gift economy there, maybe you want to do an experiment only spending Exchanghibtion Bank notes for 1 year. So far, this means you will be spending your days dancing on festivals and parties. But I’m sure you will find ways to turn your art into food, clothes, shelter and eventually a happy live.