The Gift Economy – with ‘moneyless man’ Mark Boyle

How can we live without money, and why would we want to?

For this show I travelled south in rural Ireland to meet my guest, Mark Boyle.  Better known as ‘The Moneyless Man’ – Mark Boyle is best selling author of The Moneyless Man (2010), The Moneyless Manifesto (2012) and Drinking Molotov Cocktails with Gandhi (2015). Although no longer moneyless, Mark lives simply on a smallholding with others and has a lot to share on the topic of going moneyless and why he believes it is absolutely essential for a sustainable future.

For three years between 2008 and 2011, Mark took the ambitious step of going moneyless – living completely without money. he says his desire to go moneyless began when in his final year as a business graduate he had been inspired by  teachings of Ghandi. At first it was just one year as an experiment to see if he could do it, but he enjoyed it so much he did it for three years.

One aspect of going moneyless that Mark believes is very important is to foster is ‘The Gift Economy’. The gift economy is an economic system where no money exchanges hands. And even, unlike bartering, time banking or alternative currencies – with the Gift Economy there are no explicit expectations or contracts. The gift economy is simply the act of giving and receiving freely without expectation. Sound idealistic? Not really. It’s something we all engage in every time we stop to help someone who has dropped their shopping on the street, we let another driver out ahead of us on the road, or we volunteer in the community. Most mums and dads know all about the gift economy!

And the Gift Economy is something that Mark sees as central to humanity’s future to completely replace our current monetary system – if we are going to living sustainably on this planet. Mark argues that money plays a central role in everything that’s unsustainable about how we are living on this earth. Not only because our current economic system is set up as a growth economy – a bad idea given that we live on a finite planet, but also because of the way money commodifies and puts a price on everything it touches – including the essentials of life – food, shelter, land, water.

On this show, recorded on the 25th February 2017 I chatted with Mark Boyle about some of the problems with our curent economic system, what the THE GIFT ECONOMY is and why it is essential; and why, unfortunately, just living sustainably in our personal lives is not enough!

To listen to this programme about The Gift Economy please click on

To listen to other Eco Living in Action radio shows on the Otago Access Radio Website go to

For more information –

  • The Moneyless Man (2010) shares the fascinating story of Mark’s first year of living without money.
  • Go to – to download Mark’s book, The Moneyless Manifesto here for free. This is a How-To Manual to living without money. Full of lots of useful information.
  • Drinking Molotov Cocktails with Gandhi (2015) explores why we need to change our economic system if we are to avoid ecological collapse.

This show was originally broadcast on the 23rd March 2017 with the help of Otago Access Radio 105.4FM. Eco Living in Action is sponsored by Sustainable Dunedin City.

Mark Boyle “The Moneyless Man” currently living without technology in Ireland on a smallholding

Mark is currently a writer of the good old paper and pen variety!


Mark’s small home is timber framed with strawbale insulation and timber cladding. Plastered with cob on the inside. Just lovely!

The Happy Pig – a community hub with sleeping quarters, bar, recreation area and community kitchen is used by others living on the property as well as visitors.








Cooperatives – with Tiziana O’Hara

Can business and real sustainability co-exist together? Or do we have to throw out our current economic system and find another way forward?

For sustainability to flourish, we must have economic systems and methods of production and trade that support the long term health of our planet, as well as bringing social equity, and creating strong healthy local communities. Perhaps the solution is the Cooperative. Cooperative business enterprises differ from more competitive individualistic models of limited liability corporations. By their nature Cooperatives put more emphasis on protecting people’s livelihoods, more equitable sharing of resources, community building and cooperation rather than competition.

In this show recorded on Thesday 28th February 2017, I talk to Tiziana O’Hara from Cooperative Alternatives, a leading cooperative development agency in Northern Ireland, about the many benefits of Cooperatives, how they are run, and what kinds of businesses they can work for.

To listen to this programme about Cooperatives please click on

To listen to other Eco Living in Action radio shows on the Otago Access Radio Website go to

For more information –

This show was originally broadcast on the 9th March 2017 with the help of Otago Access Radio 105.4FM. Eco Living in Action is sponsored by Sustainable Dunedin City.

Tiziana O’Hara and myself in the building whose facilities are co-shared by Cooperative Alternatives and several other organisations and businesses.