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.[1] 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.[2] Boyle currently lives near Loughrea, in the west of Ireland.[3]

Early life

Mark Boyle grew up in Ballyshannon, County Donegal, in Ulster. He took a degree in Business at the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, before moving to Great Britain in 2002.[4][5]

During the final year of his degree, Boyle watched the film Gandhi, about the life of Mohandas K. Gandhi. He has frequently cited this as the moment that changed his life.[5][6]

Early career

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.[7]

Moneyless lifestyle

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.[8][9] However, he was forced to turn back only a month into the trip, as language barriers halted his journey shortly after he arrived in Calais.[10]

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.[11][12]

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.[13][14][15][16][17]

Mark Boyle is one of a small number of individuals who have lived without money in recent times. These include Heidemarie Schwermer (de) and Daniel Suelo.[18][19][20] 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. [5]

Freeconomy Community

As of 4 October 2012, the official website, www.justfortheloveofit.org, claims "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.

Freeconomy Blog

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.[21]

The Freeconomy Village

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'.[17][22][23]

The Moneyless Man

Boyle’s first book, The Moneyless Man: A Year of Freeconomic Living, was published in June 2010 by Oneworld Publications.[2] The book documents his first moneyless year, including many of the practical and philosophical challenges he faced. The author’s proceeds go to the Freeconomy trust, towards purchasing land for the foundation of the Freeconomy Community.


  • "If we grew our own food, we wouldn't waste a third of it as we do today. If we made our own tables and chairs, we wouldn't throw them out the moment we changed the interior decor. If we had to clean our own drinking water, we probably wouldn't contaminate it."[6]
  • "The degrees of separation between the consumer and the consumed have increased so much that we're completely unaware of the levels of destruction and suffering embodied in the stuff we buy."[6]
  • "If you don't own a plasma screen TV, people think you're an extremist."[6]
  • "It was really important for me to give up bank accounts so I closed my bank accounts so there was no safety net. I think that's the key. I think if I had a safety net I would not have got the benefits that I got from it. It was the fact that I knew I was living moment to moment, day to day."[24]

See also


  1. ^ Mark Boyle, "My year of living without money" The Guardian, 9 November 2009
  2. ^ a b Mark Boyle (16 September 2010). The Moneyless Man: A Year of Freeconomic Living. Oneworld Publications. ISBN 978-1851687817. 
  3. ^ Bryony Stone, "What do we own? Living off the land in Galway with the Moneyless Man" Unlimited, 16 August 2016, retrieved 17 May 2017
  4. ^ Conor Pope, "Putting cash in the trash", Irish Times, 9 August 2010
  5. ^ a b c Mark Boyle, "Mark Boyle – The Moneyless Man", The People’s United Community, retrieved 14 February 2011
  6. ^ a b c d Mark Boyle, "I live without money – and I manage just fine", The Guardian, 28 October 2009
  7. ^ (18 May 2010) Matt Ford, Free and easy? One man's experiment in living without money", CNN, retrieved 29 September 2011
  8. ^ Kimberley Mok, ""Freeconomy" Pilgrim Begins Walk From Britain to India", Treehugger, 1 Feb 2008
  9. ^ BBC, "Penniless India trek is under way", BBC News, 30 January 2008
  10. ^ Steven Morris, "Passage to India curtailed in Calais as language barrier trips campaigner", The Guardian, 1 March 2008
  11. ^ The Mirror, "Meet the man who lived on no cash for a year", The Mirror, 25 November 2009
  12. ^ Simon Newton, "Man To Go Cashless For A Year" Archived 29 April 2011 at the Wayback Machine., Sky News, 29 November 2008
  13. ^ Matt Ford, "Free and easy? One man’s experiment in living without money" Archived 14 February 2011 at the Wayback Machine., CNN World, 18 Many 2010
  14. ^ Jessica Salter, "The man who lives without money", The Telegraph, 18 August 2010
  15. ^ Mark Boyle, "Mark Boyle's 'Moneyless Man': Why I Live Without Money (VIDEO)", The Huffington Post, 23 September 2010
  16. ^ Mark Boyle, "The man who lives without money", ABC Environment, 12 April 2010
  17. ^ a b Tiara Walters, "Priceless liberation", Times Live (South Africa), 31 October 2010
  18. ^ Heidemarie Schwermer Living without Money
  19. ^ Stefanie Marsh, "Living without money", The Times, 24 November 2009
  20. ^ Christopher Ketcham, "Meet the man who lives on zero dollars", Details, July 2009
  21. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 11 February 2011. Retrieved 2011-02-15. 
  22. ^ Shaun Chamberlin, "Dark Optimism – Projects Page", Dark Optimism (blog), retrieved 14 February 2011
  23. ^ Mark Boyle, "Celebrity Short With Mark Boyle", World News, retrieved 14 February 2011
  24. ^ "'Moneyless Mark' the Donegal man who plans to live in money-free community". Donegal Democrat. 20 May 2013. Retrieved 20 May 2013. 

External links