The Man Who Quit Money — and Lived to Tell About It

If you’re get­ting ready to start yet anoth­er work week, let us give you some food for thought.

12 years ago, Daniel Sue­lo walked into a phone booth, left his only mon­ey there ($30), and has­n’t touched any since — no cash, no loans, no cred­it cards, no bank accounts, no wel­fare pay­ments — nada. Instead, he sleeps in caves in the Utah desert (rent free), lives the life of a hunter-gath­er­er, remains active in his Moab com­mu­ni­ty and proves that much of what we con­sid­er a neces­si­ty real­ly isn’t at all.

Sue­lo was pro­filed in a 2009 piece in Details. He’s now the sub­ject of Mark Sun­deen’s new book, The Man Who Quit Mon­ey.

via Laugh­ing Squid

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Comments (10)
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  • Leslie says:

    I admire this and agree with the sen­ti­ment, but some­one pays for the library and the inter­net and the pro­grams he’s using, the food he gets from the dump­ster, the roads he trav­els on, the bike some­one made… He’s just not spend­ing HIS mon­ey.

  • Cat4Truth says:

    “his” money?.…one could research what mon­ey real­ly is, its ori­gin and how its sim­ple func­tion has been com­pli­cat­ed for the sake of the prof­it of a few and that most cur­ren­cies are actu­al­ly “bor­rowed” from a cen­tral reserve bank and dont even belong to the state, let alone the peo­ple… most mon­ey is also cre­at­ed by a mult­ply­ing sys­tem which actu­al­ly mul­ti­plies mon­ey that is owed…so , which does­n’t actu­al­ly exist…so, the con­cept of “his” or “your” mon­ey is the result of a quite super­fi­cial knowl­edge about the flow and his­to­ry of “money”…as Hen­ry Kissinger put it: ” if peo­ple real­ly knew how the econ­o­my works, there would be a rev­o­lu­tion tomor­row morn­ing…”

  • asdf says:

    The drop­ping in val­ue of a house from $500,000 to $300,000 does not imply that mon­ey is an illu­sion, it implies that the val­ue of the house had pre­vi­ous­ly been over­es­ti­mat­ed. Price is dri­ven by sup­ply and demand, and when too many hous­es are built, the sup­ply over­comes the demand, and the val­ue of hous­es drops.

    I think there is a legit­i­mate con­cern about mon­e­tary pol­i­cy in the US, but we do actu­al­ly need mon­ey.

  • Roderick Rutledge says:

    I admire and respect Daniel very much. As has been allud­ed to ear­li­er, how­ev­er, he has­n’t com­plete­ly stepped off the rollercoaster…maintaining ‘world­ly’­con­nec­tions such as inter­net, and eat­ing indus­tri­alised, processed foods, albeit, free.
    He is, how­ev­er, an exam­ple to us all about how to live less mate­ri­al­ly, clos­er to our nat­ur­al roots, and more sim­ply.
    As for hen­ry Kissingers Revolution…we, absolute­ly we need a rev­o­lu­tion, but I fear the result could be just as bad as the cause — e.g. Cuba, USSR, Iran etc.

  • Leslie says:

    I agree that mon­ey is a com­plete illu­sion that we’ve hal­lu­ci­nat­ed into all kinds of ‘real­i­ties’ that cause us all a lot of heartache and trou­ble. More so because it real­ly does not make sense in any real way which is frus­trat­ing, but it mat­ters so much in this coun­try, espe­cial­ly in pol­i­tics. I’ve often won­dered if soci­ety could do with­out it entire­ly but am not smart enough to solve this one. I did learn about the Itha­ca Hour, a babysit­ting-share club in Brook­lyn, and oth­er ways peo­ple side-step mon­ey in com­mu­ni­ties on a ‘To The Best of Our Knowl­edge’ pro­gram. One man they inter­viewed had also stopped spend­ing mon­ey for a year and wrote about it. Sor­ry I’m blank­ing on names now. It was very inter­est­ing though. Gives me hope.

  • Hanoch says:

    I see noth­ing admirable about this fel­low who lives a very self­ish exis­tence. He scav­enges off the labor of oth­ers for his sole ben­e­fit, but he con­tributes noth­ing back to any­one. A shoe­mak­er may prof­it from his trade, but he also pro­vides oth­ers with a valu­able prod­uct.

  • ruthie says:

    Fas­ci­nat­ing. It’s a new way of think­ing and we could ben­e­fit from his per­spec­tive on Need vs. Want, yet I look at his glass­es and real­ize, “Those aren’t an illu­sion. *Some­body* had to pay for them.”

    Well, as long as he’s not on pub­lic assis­tance, let him live as he wants!

  • Lawrence So says:

    It must have been dif­fi­cult to give up his life sav­ings of $30 and ‘quit mon­ey’. I’ve per­son­al­ly quit cat­walk mod­el­ling, eat­ing Bel­u­ga caviar, pow­er boat rac­ing, col­lect­ing Faberge eggs and build­ing my own jet­pack.

  • Mario says:

    His con­tri­bu­tion to soci­ety, if you will, is his mes­sage. Just like a rab­bi, min­is­ter, priest, or shaman…it’s a mes­sage that they con­tribute. The stuff he “takes” or “con­sumes” is either freely giv­en to him or thrown away, dis­card­ed. Scav­eng­ing off of some­body else’s labor is dif­fer­ent than steal­ing from some­body, as it is after-mar­ket.

    As far as demo­niz­ing mon­ey? Hmmm. Mon­ey, itself, is not evil. But how our soci­ety wor­ships it is sim­ply ridicu­lous. It all start­ed when a man want­ed some beets and cab­bage, and want­ed to trade some tanned hides for the veg­eta­bles. But when the farmer did not want what the tan­ner was offer­ing, he instead asked for some­thing of gen­er­al val­ue and worth, so that he could use it to barter with some­one else, to get some­thing he real­ly need­ed. This is where the per­ver­si­ty began: bar­ter­ing for some­thing oth­er than need; trad­ing some­thing that had psy­cho­log­i­cal val­ue for ancient bling.

  • Richard says:

    Hey, this guy is just a lit­tle ahead of his time. Why wait til the last minute?

    Before too much longer, just about every­one will be liv­ing like this. And not too much longer after that, nobody will be liv­ing at all.

    Wel­come to the sixth great extinc­tion, brought to you by, The Mag­ic Invis­i­ble Hand of the Cap­i­tal­ist “Free” Mar­ket.

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