Friday, September 14, 2012

Free Money Day


I like to say that behind all the stress that comes with seizures and Sophie's disabilities is love and there's so much love that it more than makes up for the hideous stuff. I also say that behind financial distress is absolutely nothing, just a big, black hole that sucks up fear and spits it back out. I've been fearful of late, in micro ways and macro ways, stepping very close to the edge of that black hole.

Then I read this about Free Money Day, organized by Post Growth Institute, a group that is exploring alternative paths to global prosperity across six continents. It sounds completely wacky and utterly idealistic, perhaps even ridiculous, but I like it. Here's what I like:
"The idea is simple: participants take any amount out of their pockets—whether it’s two coins or five dollars—and give it away to a complete stranger. The gift can happen at work, on a plane, in the streets, on a bus, or even online. Instead of paying it forward, the project is all about paying half forwardeach person who receives a gift is asked to pass half of the funds to somebody else."

The co-founder of the institute, Dr. MaClurcan says that "one of the biggest myths that we believe is that there isn't enough money to go around. It's inequality in how resources are divided, not a lack of abundance, that makes resources seem more scarce than they are." There's also this:

"Our obsession with making more money as individuals is mirrored by our societal addiction to unending economic growth, despite the fact that neither of these, at the end of the day, makes any of us any happier," the founders write on their site. "The money systems in which we are currently enmeshed are fundamentally unstable—they create bubbles, and a destructive boom-bust cycle, which result in loss of jobs, homes, health, and even lives."

A solution is to give participants the opportunity to step back from the growth-minded Western culture, even for one day, and flip the fear associated with losing money into an opportunity to share it.

I've got to deliver a cake to a park in Burbank tomorrow morning, so I think I'm going to do it. I'm going to take ten dollars and give it someone and ask them to give away five of it. Call me silly, but I'm glad there are people out there thinking up these nutty things. It gives me hope.

Go here for more information about Free Money Day from the wonderful publication Good News or go directly to the site FreeMoneyDay. And for all the cynics out there, the hard-core conservatives and haters of "liberal crap" (someone said this to me recently), I'm thumbing my nose at you. So there.


  1. I think Free Money Day is a fabulous idea.
    Good morning.
    I love you and your liberal loving heart.

  2. I love it, too, but I'm a softy, left-leaning liberal, and believe (when I'm feeling my best) that small acts do indeed change our world.

    I'll give it a go and let you know! Thanks for the idea!

  3. Brilliant, love it, I'm doing it!

    I love "liberal crap"'s Love at work!

  4. love it. i'm going to do it!

    thank you!

  5. Thanks so much for blogging about this Elizabeth - it's absolutely the most counter-intuitive thing we can do in our culture, isn't it? Where we've so often turned our 'gifts' and everything we value in the 'core' economy into transactions, this act serves as a 'signal interruption' and invites us to think about how we define 'wealth' and 'value'. In no way should this mean dismissing money, because right now, most of us do need money to meet our needs. But what if we didn't? Or what if money worked differently? Not only does the very act of physically handing money to another person create shifts in energy for both giver and recipient, it creates conversations - '...guess what happened today? Someone was giving out money...' and breaks the spell money holds over us. All the best to you and your 'little mermaid', Sophie, and thank you for taking the time to write and spread the word about Free Money Day.

    Warm wishes from Australia,
    Sharon, on behalf of the Post Growth Team



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