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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