All art is propaganda

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When reading this book, there are a couple of things I’d ask you to keep in mind. The more practical part of this book – chapter five onwards – describes the range of building blocks that you, often unknowingly, already have at your disposal for the new design of human society. Pioneers have long since been dedicating their lives to the various parts of the localised gift economy; therefore many of the potential solutions have already been tried and tested, waiting for us to design them into a new holistic way of living and, most importantly, to enact them.

Where it’s possible to describe how to do something fully, such as growing your own shampoo or foraging your own wild sexual lubricant, I do. However, some of the moneyless solutions throughout the following chapters, such as forest gardening in small back gardens in the city, are books in themselves, and when that is the case my only aim is to give you a glimpse of its potential to see if it catches the corner of your eye. If it does, you’ll find that I’ve referenced the books and other sources (often as a footnote) that, from my experience, will give you the most accurate and complete information on the element of the moneyless economy I’ve just touched on. Whether the solution is big or small, they are all important components.

Here and there I will describe some of the parts of this vast practical toolkit as transitionary tools, elements which require us to use what we have now (whether it be waste materials from skips, the internet or money) as one-off acts that will help us put in place sustainable livelihoods for the future. I have tried to find a balance between idealism and realism throughout, but it can oft be a tricky thing to do, so forgive my judgement if I don’t always get it right.

Once you start exploring this path, you’ll quickly realise that you have even more tools available to you than you will find in this book, as many of them will be localised, specific to your land, your people, your life. My hope is that this book will provide you with the foundations and the confidence to co-create your own moneyless economy (or at least a less monetised economy) with others from your local community. And there is good reason to be confident – if I have been able to live without need for money, then trust me, anyone can, for I am at best of average ability and intelligence, and I personally know many people who would be much more capable than myself of doing so. This is not false humility or self-deprecation, but fact.

This is not a one-rule-fits-all book, and is not meant to be prescriptive. Whether you are a full-time volunteer, salesperson, activist or a hedge fund manager, whether you want to help protect the planet’s ecological systems or your own dwindling savings, this book is simply an offer of help to anyone who finds it useful.

Most importantly, take everything I say with a pinch of salt. George Orwell once said that “all art is propaganda”. Whilst I will make every effort to speak only the truth, as I interpret it, I cannot guarantee you that some of my own bias will not be in here too. Therefore if you recognise the chaff of propaganda within these pages, shake it off and keep whatever grains of truth you find left.