Mark Boyle in 2009.
8 May 1979
|Residence||Knockmoyle, County Galway, Ireland|
|Education||BA in Business|
|Alma mater||Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT)|
|Occupation||writer, activist, freeconomist|
Mark Boyle, a.k.a. The Moneyless Man (born 8 May 1979), is an Irish activist and writer best known for founding the online Freeconomy Community, and for living without money since November 2008. Boyle writes regularly for the Freeconomy Blog and British newspaper The Guardian. His first book, The Moneyless Man: A Year of Freeconomic Living, was published in 2010. Boyle currently lives near Loughrea, in the west of Ireland.
During his first six years in Great Britain, Boyle lived in Bristol and managed two organic food companies. In 2007, after a conversation with a friend during which they decided "money... creates a kind of disconnection between us and our actions", Boyle set up the Freeconomy Community.
A few months after creating the Freeconomy Community, Boyle set out on a two-and-a-half-year trek from Bristol to Porbandar in India, the birthplace of Gandhi. Inspired by the nonviolent salt march led in India by Gandhi in 1930, and by the woman in America known as Peace Pilgrim, he set off in January 2008, carrying no money and only a small number of possessions. However, he was forced to turn back only a month into the trip, as language barriers and difficulties in persuading people he would work for food and a place to stay halted his journey shortly after he arrived in Calais. One of his travelling companions had travellers cheques for emergencies, which allowed them to travel back to the UK. He had not planned the trip, believing it was best to let fate take its course.
Later in the same year, Boyle developed an alternative plan: to live without money entirely. After some preparatory purchases (including a solar panel and wood-burning stove), he began his first year of "moneyless living" on Buy Nothing Day 2008.
Boyle has received considerable positive and negative publicity for his moneyless lifestyle, appearing on television, radio and other media in the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Australia, South Africa, United States and Russia. Much of the attention has focused on his day-to-day routine, including food, hygiene, and traditionally expensive aspects of life, such as Christmas.
Mark Boyle is one of a small number of individuals who have lived without money in recent times. These include Heidemarie SchwermerDaniel Suelo. However, Boyle frequently reminds his readers that a moneyless life is not a new idea; indeed it is the system of money itself that is the new development, having existed for only a small fraction of human history. Other observers note that for nearly all of recorded human history there has been a system of money or currency in place. and
As of 4 October 2012[update], the official website, www.justfortheloveofit.org, claimed "There are now 42425 members in 168 countries sharing 519515 skills, 106784 tools and 660 spaces" on the Freeconomy Community site. It shares similarities with websites such as The Freecycle Network, Freegle and Streetbank. The Freeconomy Community allows people to share, moving away from exchange economies towards a pay it forward philosophy.
Alongside the online component of the Freeconomy Community, several areas including Bristol and London hold Freeskilling sessions, where freeconomists take turns to pass on their skills in free one-off evening classes. Past topics have included subjects ranging from charity fundraising and anger management to bicycle maintenance, bread-making and campaigning skills.
Boyle has been the primary author of the Freeconomy Blog since it was launched in 2007. Guest writers have recently included fellow moneyless people Heidemarie Schwermer, Daniel Suelo and Tomi Astikainen.
Boyle is currently working with others to set up the UK’s first land-based Freeconomic community. Other founding members include Shaun Chamberlin, author of The Transition Timeline (2009), and Fergus Drennan, also known as the BBC’s 'Roadkill Chef'.