Does Sustainable Living = Living Without Money = Highest User Experience?

We see barter between Nordic people (to the le...
Olaus Magnus - On Trade Without Using Money (1955). Image via Wikipedia

In the video at the end of this post, Carolien talks about her Zeitgeist experience of living without money as a deeper experience of living sustainably.  She says:

“It’s so nice to be able to give what you like to give, to be creative and use your talents and then just trust that the group will take care of you.”

The trust she speaks of develops in her community as a result of money not being part of the equation.  Not even bartering.  It wasn’t: “Give me so many Euro worth of food for X number hours worked.” Rather it was living by sharing and supporting.  Carolien did a job that needed to be done and in exchange received goods the shop could spare, and that she could use.

How many of us can say we believe that the people we work with, and for – in exchange for money –  will take care of us?  If you work for a large profit-is-the-bottom-line corporation, you can be sure when the going gets tough, all but the toughest are going out the door.  

I recently chatted with a friend who works in a highly specialized branch of IT.  He told me the company he works for laid off about 2/3 of the staff last year, then went on to develop a new product which they’ve just launched.  My friend kept his job, so he was taken care of during the transition.  While he told me the story I heard something of “the group has taken care of me” in his tone.

Imagine if that were the experience of the 2/3 staff who were laid off!  Imagine if my friend’s company – because of the way our economy is structured – had been able to keep on and ‘take care of’ all the staff as well as the key team members they retained? What Carolien talks about in this video is something of what that experience might be like.

Carolien describes having an enhanced life experience.  Do you believe it’s possible to live without money?  If my friend’s company had kept on all the staff, would the company be less efficient?  Is efficiency even more of a bottom line than profit?

At UX Camp Brighton, Alex Goluszko talked about evolution in camera design and presented the Leica as a camera that found a good design and stuck with it. Is that an example of profit stopping improvements or can the Leica really not be improved?

I’ve just spent the day at UX Camp Brighton – and the speaker at one of the sessions I attended asked whether profit was more important than a positive user experience.  At what point in the design process does profit stop improvements? Take money out of the equation and would we get a better product?

I believe that without money futzing up the picture with greed and fear that “I’m not getting enough and someone might get more than me”  we would get the best product and experiences possible because people would do things because they loved doing them rather than ‘for the money‘.  They would work to create the best product they could for a sense of pride and accomplishment, and the satisfaction of a job well done – of seeing people use and enjoy their product.

Carolien’s experience is one testimony to the improved lives we might lead if money were out of the equation.

BioDiversiTree - Apples are free for the taking.

I recently tried this living without money thing at OOTO Festival.  As BioDiversiTree is about consciously giving back to Mother Earth, and giving and taking is already set up at the tree with apples and crafts, I thought I’d give it a whirl with the vendors.  Of the four vendors I approached, one got it.  But it wasn’t a vision understood or shared by all the staff working there.  It was a tough sell.  I was seen more as someone running a blag than someone presenting a legitimate idea. Maybe my Canadian accent being misinterpreted as American contributed to the scam idea?

Now watch the video and tell me what you think. You can leave a comment in the comment section.

2 thoughts on “Does Sustainable Living = Living Without Money = Highest User Experience?

Add yours

  1. I don’t know. Money comes in very handy in our society. I’d prefer to have more money, but it’s nice not to be enslaved by it. It would work in my current state of affairs–who would pay my house payment, etc.
    Of course if my wife becomes unemployed like I am then maybe we be thinking more in this direction.

    Tossing It Out

    1. Hi Lee, The Zeitgeist idea is that everybody would live without money. So if we take money out of the equation altogether, do you think we could function as a society? Or do we need money?

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