Is Mooching Off Society Wrong?

by Kevin on January 25, 2010

Earlier this month I read a fascinating article from the Guardian (a paper in the UK). The article detailed the story of a woman who decided to live without money.

That’s right. Without money and without a job.

How can you live without money? How is that possible? It boggles the mind… until you read the article and discover some of the ingenious tactics you can use in this mindset.

How to Live Without Money

How did she do this? She connected with a group of individuals with a similar mindset. They live and network together in small clusters wherever is convenient.

So how do you live without money?

Simple. Live off of the castoffs of society.

  • They go to bakeries that can’t sell day old bread and get it — for free. (And find similar deals at other restaurants.)
  • They find free items on Craigslist and sell them for profit. This money allows them to have basic cell phone service (which helps maintain connection with the network).
  • They get free or discounted items when homeowners go through upgrades and leave items at the curb.
  • They live in abandoned properties as squatters. Eviction law provides them with a certain amount of time to live in the building for free.

Should Society Judge Moochers?

The whole idea blows my mind.

…and I think it is genius!

There are items that will go to the junkyards and landfills. Old but still edible food, discarded clothing, and lightly used home goods. These items would be wasted and left to rot outside big cities. Instead they are put to good use.

Living in a “Gray Area”

The only issue I have with this lifestyle is living in abandoned properties and forcing landlords to evict. I can see how this isn’t necessarily hurting anyone assuming the squatters don’t damage the buildings. But it’s living in the gray area of the law.

It’s like knowing you shouldn’t be something, but because the law technically allows it for a time then you go ahead and do it to your own benefit.

The Risk of Living a No-Money Lifestyle

This seems all well and good until you consider some critical factors: health insurance and safety.

I have no idea how you would solve the health insurance problem. What happens when you’re rummaging through some discards, you slip, and you break your wrist? You will need medical attention and won’t have insurance or any money.

I suppose there are programs to pay for things like this for individuals without insurance… but is it fair to use these programs on individuals that willingly lived without insurance?

The article mentions that it took some time to meet and network with a group of individuals that she trusted. But you’re all just squatting together — can you ever really trust anyone? Who says the woman that helped you carry that bed frame into the abandoned property won’t turn back around and stab you in the back — literally?

* * *

This is definitely not a lifestyle for me. But I can see how it would be very attractive and, well, cheap.

What do you think? Should we judge the moochers of society or embrace them?

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