About the event
Is this an ongoing, annual event?
Yes. Free Money Day occurs around the world every year on 15th September (the anniversary of the Lehman Brothers collapse that sparked the 2008 financial crisis).
How much money do I or can I give away?
This is totally up to you. Anything is great, as the money itself is simply intended to serve as a catalyst for conversation.
Where do I get the money to hand out?
As a participant you would be giving away your own money! As a social experiment this is about what interactions you have, what responses you have, and how it makes you and others feel
What if I want to participate but don’t want to hand out money?
You can still participate! Many people have participated in the spirit of Free Money Day by handing out free hugs, movie rentals, or gifting conversations to complete strangers. Creativity is encouraged!
Where can I register my event?
How do I protect myself and others from Covid during Free Money Day?
When doing in-person events, remember to keep a safe distance from other people, wear masks covering your mouth and nose and any other protection to feel safe and comfortable. Carry your own hand sanitizer and use it regularly, and recommend people you share the money with to do the same.
How long does this take?
It could be as quick as two minutes or as long as half a day! – it’s entirely up to you.
What if no one will take my money?
It’s possible – others have run somewhat similar events in Australia and Ireland where this happened. If this is your experience, don’t stress. Even if people don’t take your money, chances are you’ve got them thinking and that’s a wonderful outcome in itself.
I’m actually pretty nervous. What can I do?
In situations like this, taking a deep breath is good too. Know you are not alone and remember this is a social experiment – expect a range of reactions!
Is this legal?
We don’t know of any circumstances in which a non-violent, public distribution of money is illegal. However, we would recommend you check with your country’s laws if you’re unsure.
What if I’m approached by the media?
Wonderful! A chance to build interest in the day and associated issues. Please make sure you state clearly to the reporter/writer/host that you are speaking in a private capacity, not on behalf of the Free Money Day event or organising group.
About the philosophy
How does giving away money encourage less growth?
Free Money Day encourages us to think about what money means, how we attach value to it, and where it comes from. It invites us to experience the feeling of giving money away – which is counter to all the social signals we receive to accumulate ‘more’ – and to appreciate the non-monetary things we give and receive, such as a smile or another meaningful interaction with someone.
What are the benefits of more sharing economies?
More sharing economies open up the possibility of alternative approaches to wellbeing that go beyond the simple driver of more. With resource scarcities and financial upheaval impacting on so many of us, it makes sense to become more resilient by sharing, since it can be sustained over the long-term, whereas growth cannot. Sharing also means we need to buy less. This has great environmental benefits because, buying less, we use less resources, less energy and create less greenhouse gas emissions.
What does an alternative economic system look like?
‘Alternative’ economic activity already exists for most of us in our daily lives – in fact, life might be a lot more difficult without it. Just think of all the things we do that don’t involve (or, aren’t primarily about) money! Caring for others, volunteering at an event, trading clothes with others – these are just a few examples on an ever-expanding list.
Even within today’s financial systems, these activities are evidence that we often put life, not money, at the center of things. What if we can accept that ‘the market system’ has served its function and it is now time our entire economy made life, and all that maintains it, its highest priority? The markets may be part of it, but would cease to drive it. What might such an economy look like?
Life-supporting economic principles are already evident in many worker-run cooperatives and businesses: Fair Trade, Community Land Trusts, credit unions, barter clubs, family and clan-based production, collective housing, job-sharing arrangements, and other forms of the solidarity economy. Meanwhile, ecological economics provides a helpful alternative framework for thinking about bigger picture economic and environmental questions.
What are alternatives to our current monetary system?
Thousands of people around the world have been developing and using alternative currencies, such as Local Exchange Trading Systems (LETS) and Time Banking, as well as many groups and individuals working on ‘open source’ currencies.
Are you saying money is not important?
In the societies in which many of us now live, money does have roles to play, for everyone. In our current systems, access to money is critical for many of us to meet our needs for shelter, food, healthcare and transport and to enable us to have a good quality of life. We do not intend to downplay this reality. But the pursuit of ever more money as an end in itself (including spending beyond our means) can be a trap that robs us in other areas of our lives, making it more difficult, not easier, for large numbers of us to access the things we need for a high quality of living. We want to question how it is that so many of us end up working too many hours, in too much debt, and how this adversely affects our lives. Our intent is to release the hold money has over us. By giving money away, we ‘interrupt the signal’ of the money program we subconsciously run: Always believing that we never have enough, and that we are afraid of running out of it. In the process, might we open up exciting futures beyond the pursuit of more?
Most of us need money to go about our daily lives. What we are doing is getting people to ask questions about how effective, fair and worthwhile our current money and economic systems are, in order to consider realistic alternatives.
About the organizers
Who are you?
A group of people who believe that there is more to life than the pursuit of money and endless economic growth. If you’re interested in knowing more about us, please visit the Post Growth Institute.