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Building The World’s Largest Free Sharing Network

I’m delighted to announce that The Free World Charter is about to come of age – and is set to become one of the world’s largest free sharing network platforms this Summer!

Since creating the Charter in 2011, lots has changed. Calls for a more compassionate, environmentally-aware society are now a common part of mainstream conversation. The ‘end of capitalism’ is a hotly trending topic and many writers and philosophers have been busy putting out their stalls, brimful with alternative ideas.

In short, I think many, if not most people are now becoming aware that the way we operate our society is coming to a natural end. I don’t think anyone is in doubt that the world of our grandchildren will be vastly different to the world we know today. Aside from anything else, the children of today seem to be getting smarter and smarter, so their future society will never allow itself to be subjugated through ignorance as we were.

But something else has changed. Those of us who have been discussing the topic of a moneyless future have grown tired of the conversation. Words are cheap and action is hard – but made even harder because it’s not always clear what we can do to help bring about this change – aside from talking about it. Also, many of us are heavily anchored down in the monetary system with bills, mortgages and regular commitments that are not so easy to shake off.

In the last few years, it has become apparent to me that if we are serious about creating a world without trade and money, then there are indeed ways that we can take action to manifest that today. If we are serious about sharing global resources, helping each other unconditionally, and making the most of technology to create a world of abundance, then there is no reason why we cannot begin those forms of sharing today – even if only in a small way.

Maybe today, we can only afford to share small things like some old books, a raincoat, or half an hour of our skill-time, but if all those small acts multiply in their millions and people begin to feel the benefits personally, confidence in that sharing ethos will grow. Soon we will begin to see larger, more valuable items and skills being offered and received.

We already have the technology to create the free world. What we don’t have is the habit of sharing unconditionally. We have lost that art in our highly individualised world, where we learn to compete from elementary school level. So, it’s time for some retraining, and the signatories of the Free World Charter looks to me like an ideal place to begin.

Using our existing signatory base of almost 60,000 people worldwide, we are planning to create the world’s largest free sharing network to facilitate the unconditional exchange of goods, skills and knowledge.

LMEF-pinkFreeworlder.com will not be a social network like Facebook or Twitter, full of endless discussion, pictures and videos. Our network will primarily be a search, find and transact utility, where all members, items and skills are placed on a searchable map and indexed according to an innovative ‘iTag’ system.

The idea is to connect people with the people, skills and things that they want to connect with, in an environment where good intentions and trust are already pre-requisite among users.

Way back in 2011, FWC began with the war-cry ‘Let’s Make Everything Free‘. Now we are going to put those words into action.

The site is expected to launch this May, with pre-registrations open on March 1st. In the meantime, we a have created a pretty cool landing page which I think you will like, and we invite you to support our efforts financially with a donation if you can, which will help us enormously.

Thank you.

Please support the development and costs of building the Freeworlder Network platform with a donation.

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Payments can be made in any currency and are automatically converted to Euro. * Monthly donations are not subject to any minimum term and may be cancelled at any time from your Paypal dashboard.


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Colin R. Turner is a writer, broadcaster and founder of The Free World Charter, an initiative which proposes an alternative society beyond the use of money.

flyer-promo

Download Our Free Promotional Flyer

flyer-promoSo a few of us put our heads together and came up with this simple double-sided A4 flyer to help promote the ideas of an Open Economy and a money-free world.

Written in plain, simple language, without casting blame or espousing mysticism, this little flyer contains the perfect matter-of-fact explanation of a money-free world with an outline of the concept and all the most common questions answered.

Please download your PDF copy today, print it out and offer it to people who you think might be receptive.* (Also available in Czech!)

* In our experience offering this information to people not ready to receive it (eg. bankers, economists, politicians, etc.) may not be worth the negative results on either side. By far the best approach is to be selective and look for a positive result.



two-booksSPECIAL OFFER EBOOK BUNDLE:

Download both F-Day and Into The Open Economy books, PLUS an extra exclusive article and some desktop wallpapers for just €9.99!!


Colin R. Turner is a writer, broadcaster and founder of The Free World Charter, an initiative which proposes an alternative society beyond the use of money.

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The Many Paths to Transition

“What’s your transition plan?” has got to be the most common question that gets asked in the post-scarcity activist groups I’m in, with the implied suspicion that similar to Boris and Nigel’s Brexit plan, it simply doesn’t exist. Of course there are glaring differences between Brexit and giving up money (Mexit?), the most obvious being that there’s no referendum scheduled on it in the near future. Nevertheless, the transition plan, or more accurately, several potential transition plans to a post-scarcity society have already been set in motion. It’s just sometimes hard to see them as such, since it’s impossible to lay out these plans in full, owing to too many unpredictable variables. The plans are mostly guesswork, taking the first small steps through the darkness.

People in post-scarcity movements tend to fall broadly in two categories: a) those who believe it will happen through gradual changes b) those who believe something major will change rapidly once critical mass is reached. You can further divide into two more groups: a) working for change within the existing system (RBE-minded political parties and lobby groups) b) building a new society alongside the old one to make it obsolete (Buckminster “Bucky” Fuller, The Venus Project, eco-communities). Most of the time, these different groups go along doing their thing, but sometimes they clash in heated arguments, even blaming the other groups of either not doing enough or hindering progress. Maybe it’s time to look deeper into the logic behind each viewpoint to understand each other’s train of thought a bit better.

The Gradualists

The main idea here is that society has a lot of inertia and people change slowly, sometimes requiring several generations. For example being gay was considered wrong through most of society for a long time. Only recently did it become accepted and appreciated in progressive countries. Yet the work here is not complete: in many nations it’s still dangerous to be gay, and even where it’s not, there’s often more subtle discrimination happening. But the overall mindset is moving in the right direction, and hopefully one day this will be a non-issue everywhere.

Likewise, people have hopes high for gradual adoption of renewable energies and advances in electric motors and batteries.

The problem many people see here is that we don’t have much time to solve environmental issues. There’s the danger of resting on the laurels after small victories. Also, some changes are difficult to make if you’re the only one doing so – you often need large groups to agree to do the right thing together.

The Paradigm Shifters

This is what many groups are aiming for by running education campaigns to show that we’ve already got all the resources we need to provide a good standard of living for every person on this planet. The hope is that once enough people know this, and get the dialogue started on how to change it, we’ll reach a tipping point and can start working together to sort out this mess.

Cons: until the critical mass is reached, nothing changes in the physical world. So in a way, both gradual change and paradigm shift require time. The difference lies in these questions: if things improve by a little bit, do people stop their activism? Do some people even care at all until things get really bad? Will people be able to continue activism if things get really bad and they’re more worried about basic survival? Will people be able to cope with a sudden revolutionary change? Which route is quicker and which route has fewer casualties? I don’t think anyone can prove it either way, so we may see these two mindsets continue to clash. All I can suggest is for the gradualists to keep pushing for little improvements and for the paradigm shifters to keep sharing the big picture truth one person at a time, while appreciating the work the other camp is doing. Often by helping one cause, you’re helping the other anyway.

The Politicians

A topic of much contention these days is whether to engage with the existing political structure or ignore it. Money, connections, PR and control of mass media affect and corrupt all elections so much so why even bother? Many groups argue that it’s worth trying anyway – to get the message out there, to push for gradual changes, to offer a protest vote (and gauge the public’s interest in alternative models), and possibly once the critical mass is reached, to offer a peaceful way to transition within the existing structures. One factor that speaks in favour of engaging with politics is that many ideas that were previously not talked about have now become more mainstream, such as the fact that private banks create money as debt. While Bernie Sanders didn’t become the Democratic Party candidate, he got a lot of airtime and support.

Of course, candidates straying too far from status quo threaten the establishment and thus get subjected to a whole host of character assassinating smear campaigns. Politics is nasty and it’s understandable that many in the activist circles want nothing to do with it.

The Buckyists

Whether within or without cities, alternative systems of resource access have been popping up. From community energy, food shares and Freecycle to off-the-grid communities, people have taken matters to their own hands to provide for themselves and their community and starve the beast just that little bit. Third Industrial Revolution enthusiasts believe that the advance and cheapening of technology will make producer-consumers of everyone and capitalism will slowly fade away.

Critics here will point out that land and other means of production are still expensive, especially in cities, and though people in well-off countries can pool money and acquire their own, it’ll still be inaccessible for many many. Until a shift in either money creation and distribution, or reforms in ownership occur, this will not be an option to everyone. Not to mention that rural communities are lacking some of the comforts city life provides, so it’s not always ideal.

Clashes do occur on this spectrum as well, but there really isn’t much reason for it. Buckyists can ignore politics and go on with their business. Reformists can ignore Buckyists because they’re a small minority and focus on the low hanging fruit who still have faith in politics, just not the mainstream candidates.

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Ultimately, it’s unlikely that any of these avenues will be the One True Transition Plan. Each one has its shortcomings which often can be mitigated by work someone else is doing. So here’s a callout to celebrate each other’s efforts rather than trying to convince someone to switch to your team. Feel free to tell them what you’ve been doing. Feel free to ask them how they plan to overcome obstacle X in their plan. But let’s keep the debate civil, even if you’re dead certain their path leads to a dead end (maybe they know it already but haven’t come across a better plan). Ask, listen, share, but don’t belittle, patronise or boast. As long as we all have the end goal of post-scarcity in mind, every step is a step forward. A step towards greater understanding, better infrastructure and more clarity on what’s the best direction to go next, to finally reach the world we all desire.

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Follow Your Heart

Elizabeth from England who now lives in the Spanish countryside builds a dreamy, bohemian home all by herself, having had no previous experience in building or architecture. They say that when you make a decision to follow your dream, your calling, your true path, the universe conspires to make it happen. After being given an old van base by a stranger, Elizabeth knew it was time to begin building her dream.

IMG_6289cThe wooden, sustainable house on wheels is off grid and is equipped with everything she needs to live a beautiful life. This free spirit’s 5m by 2.20m tiny home includes a full size shower and composting toilet, a rustic kitchen with a gas oven and hob, a double bedroom situated on a mezzanine level and a sofa with storage that pulls out into a day bed on the ground floor. The exterior includes a yoga terrace, overlooking the mountains, that runs the entire length of the side of the house. The terrace folds up on hinges for transportation or can be hooked off completely. There is a small front terrace with steps up to the stable door and a covered and shaded back terrace for alfresco dining.

“To learn how to build a movable house from nothing, with a very small budget and no previous experience was so much harder than I thought both mentally and physically,” Elizabeth states. There were so many times when she wanted to give up! She says she battled difficulties, opposition, discouragement, loneliness and pure fatigue but is so happy she made it! For the first time in her life she owns her very own home. She never thought she would be able to say that at 33 years old. The house is kind to the environment, low cost to run and created mostly from second hand, recycled, found or made objects and is more beautiful than she could have dared to imagine.

IMG_6328Elizabeth says, “I want to encourage you whatever you are facing, however hard it seems, however crazy people think you are…you are stronger, braver and more courageous than you realise and if you have hope, you can achieve whatever you set your mind to. It is okay to follow your heart and not the way of the world. Life is short, don’t be afraid to be you.”

Elizabeth documented her journey from day 1 with a photo diary which is published on Instagram daily. Follow the story: @edenwhispers

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The 3 Obstacles to Reason – A PR Guide for Activists

muleThe biggest conundrum facing many Free World advocates, and indeed any activists, is how to convince people of the necessity of the changes we’d like to see. Too often we’re faced with people clutching on to the old paradigm, giving reasons such as “it’s the best we have” or “your idea will never work”. While we may have an arsenal of science and logical points to launch a counter, this often seems to fall on deaf ears. Seems like there’s something more in play beyond plain reasoning, doesn’t it?

That’s right, it’s not only about good arguments. In fact, it’s basically got nothing to do with good arguments and all to do with psychology. Human psychology is a funny thing that often gets in the way of reason. Grab a copy of Dan Ariely’s witty Predictably Irrational and you’ll soon see why. Our prehistorically evolved mental toolbox leaves us stuck with ways of thinking that can’t grasp the amount of data we have and the general vastness of a global interconnected world woven through with mass media, social media, computers and clever but greedy people taking advantage of all of that. We need to learn how those in control have done so, to undo it.

There’re three main aspects of how people are influenced to make certain decisions in life. The first of these is identity.

1. Identity

Convince-CartoonWe like to belong, and thus we like to identify with something. And this identity is then hard to shake. Try telling a car lover to switch to public transport and you might as well be trying to coax a fish to come live on the land! A person’s identity can be formed of many things, they could be interested in sport, they could have strong family values, perhaps have strong roots in their local community. Often they’ve been fed an identity by the mass media which makes it “cool” to be something. You need to understand this identity and realise you can’t dismantle it overnight. Sometimes you don’t even have to. You can advocate your ideas in an angle that is compatible with, and supports their values. Then you don’t have to convince them of anything. You’re only building on what’s already there.

If you want to be sneaky, there’s a little trick you can use called foot-in-the-door. This means you start out with small requests which are easy to do, but get the other person to make your idea a part of their identity. Later you can make larger requests and they might just be happy to help now!

2. Other People

The second main influence is other people. Again, people’s desire to belong to the herd overrides reason a lot of the time. In an experiment comparing four types of leaflet, even appealing to people’s money-saving self-interest wasn’t as effective as appealing to the herd mentality – people were most likely to conserve energy when they were told other people are doing it. This is of course difficult if you’re supporting a minority viewpoint, so take care to avoid painting it as such. Try instead to look for statistics showing support for your cause is on the rise, or target areas where it’s more widespread. Go for the low-hanging fruit, so to say. And also lead by example. Preach by example – but without being preachy – or you might come to odds with someone’s identity!

3. Emotions

Finally, we’re also easily influenced by emotions. Despite building a hefty layer of neocortex on our brains through evolution, we still possess the more primordial “lizard brain”. We like happy things, we don’t like sad things. Ugg. Environmentalists have long suspected that the doom ‘n’ gloom stories have not been working very well, and we’re also quite aware of how seeing extreme poverty is unpleasant and makes us want to turn off the telly. The good news is that the world we’re advocating *is* a hell of a lot happier than what we have now. And aspects of that world are already present in today’s world. You see amazing acts done by volunteers to help people in need, you see people taking initiative to improve their worlds, plant trees, green the deserts.

Stop following mainstream news and look for the positive stories. Give people a flavour of what the whole world could be like, if already within our current system you can see such pockets of awesomeness. Get them to visualise that ideal and never let it go. Maybe they’ll also make it part of their identity, and surround themselves with people who feel the same way. Now that would be a cocktail of motivation one couldn’t ignore!

What is one small thing you could change in your approach today? Let us know in the comments!

Further reading/watching:
“Change of Heart” by Nick Cooney – pretty much an activist’s Bible
“Predictably Irrational” – as mentioned, it’s a nice introduction into just how unbelievably irrational we are!
Mel’s ZDay talk on the topic
Lecture by the author of “Change of Heart”

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The Living Tree – A Childrens’ Charter

“The Living Tree” is a colour poster adaptation of the Free World Charter for young children. It is an illustration (70 x 50cm) that captures the essence of the Charter and presents the core ideas in a simple, attractive and stimulating way. Click here to download it (3.7MB). Artwork by Lukarte. Text adapted from The Free World Charter.



two-booksSPECIAL OFFER EBOOK BUNDLE:

Download both F-Day and Into The Open Economy books, PLUS an extra exclusive article and some desktop wallpapers for just €9.99!!


Colin R. Turner is a writer, broadcaster and founder of The Free World Charter, an initiative which proposes an alternative society beyond the use of money.