Friday, February 01, 2008


This is brilliant.

From the BBC website:

"A man has started a two-and-a-half year walk from Bristol to India without any money - to show his faith in humanity.

Equipped with only a few T-shirts, a bandage and spare sandals, former dotcom businessman Mark Boyle is set to cross Europe and the Middle East."

The ideas of the "freeconomy" sounds a lot like anarcho-socialism promulgated in Ken MacLeod's The Cassini Division and Charles Stross' Accelerando (also available as a download here).

These are brilliant books, but the fact that someone is willing to experiment with a real Manfred Macx lifestyle is excellent.


After having thought about this for a while I realise why I am a filthy capitalist and why what Mark Boyle is doing is admirable but ultimately less-than-optimal.

Human beings will always trade and exchange goods and services. All money does is create a communal illusion of the value of a piece of paper or plastic that allows transfer of goods and services to be more efficient.

As a reformed Catholic I am also tempted to point out that freeconomy falls foul of the general question: "what if everyone behaved like this?"

In other words, if everyone decided to up sticks and travel across Eurasia with nothing but a pair of sandals and a can full of B.O. then pretty soon civilization would collapse and millions would starve as a result.

This is why anarcho-communism/syndicalism/socialism doesn't stand a chance. As a very general rule co-operation tends to be of a self-interested nature.

The ethic of reciprocity works. There may be an evolutionary basis for morality. This is heavy stuff.

Anyway good luck to Mr Boyle. I imagine he will be treated as a sort of mendicant monk.

1 comment:

lelly said...

oh wow I'd love to do that.
But ( I sound like a total commy here) if every single person did that, it would rock!

thanx fo the comment btw ;)