This September 15 marks ten years since the collapse of Lehman Brothers triggered the 2008 financial crash.

While the global economy appears to be roaring, the hidden story of our current ‘economic boom’ is that debt has kept rising, because money keeps accumulating. We’re sleepwalking to collapse, with global debt having reached US$247 trillion.

Free Money Day is a chance to remind people that debt is temporary when money constantly circulates.

This year we encourage you to leave a few coins or notes on a park bench, hand out money to strangers, move your money to a credit union and keep spreading the word that for our economy to work we need profits to constantly circulate.

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A dog carries dollar bills in its mouth.Our economy can work for everyone.

How? The same way every healthy system works, through good circulation. For the body, it’s blood; for the environment, it’s oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen; for our economy, it’s money.

If your heart stops pumping blood through every part of the body, tissue dies. If vital elements don’t circulate appropriately throughout the environment, our ecosystem collapses. When money accumulates at the top, instead of circulating freely through every economic level, a sick economy is inevitable.

Free Money Day is an opportunity to encourage money to circulate more freely through our economy. Whether you leave a little money with a note on a park bench, or hand money to complete strangers, know that by sharing money more freely you are helping t0 create a more caring, sharing economy.

We look forward to hearing how people engage with Free Money Day in 2017. We’ll hope to be back in full promotional force next year (if you’re interested in helping out, we’re seeking a voluntary event manager). For now we’re deep in the final editing stages of our book outlining how a truly circulatory economy is attainable in our lifetimes.

All the best for a wonderful Free Money Day!

Donnie and the team

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From-Manu-Caddie-in-NZIt can feel amazing to share an experience with a complete stranger.

Free Money Day is a chance to do just that! Join us this September 15 and share some money with strangers as a way to build greater social trust and explore our relationship to wealth, as well as how we create an economy in which money circulates, rather than accumulating with the elite few. If talking to strangers isn’t your thing, you can always leave two of coins in a public place with a note saying ‘please take me, and pass half on – freemoneyday.org’.

What will you be doing this Free Money Day? Whatever you’re level involvement, know that you’re support is helping to create a more sharing and caring economy.

This year we’ll be a little less ‘hands on’ in planning and promoting the global day, as we’re deep in the final stages of writing our forthcoming book, How on Earth, outlining how we see a sustainable economy emerging beyond capitalism. But we’ll still be tracking and supporting your involvement as best we can.

Image credit: Manu Caddie, N.Z.

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In a world where hoarding wealth is considered the norm, giving money to complete strangers, with no strings attached, seems like a radical idea. Yet, for the hundreds who have taken part in Free Money Day since its humble beginnings in 2011, there is a knowing that greater sharing is needed in this world, now more than ever.

More than this though, our experiences on Free Money Day, each September 15th, confirm that people feel more comfortable giving, than receiving. In 2014, for example, Jennifer Hinton said it took her and three friends over an hour to give away 35 Euros in Athens, Greece.

Guy holds up Free Money Day sign in Sydney's central business districtThis is where Free Money Day offers such a liberating opportunity; for while the day is certainly a chance for people to push through personal inhibitions about engaging with strangers, it offers an even greater opportunity to expand our ability to receive. In wrestling with the judgments we place on ourselves in relation to money and our worthiness, we more clearly see the pervasive influence of mainstream stories about human nature (if we are essentially greedy and separate from each other, how could we possibly give freely to a complete stranger?). With love and vulnerability at the heart of the Free Money Day exchange, we can continue to collectively heal the rifts that emerge in any scarcity-based culture.

Free Money Day in AthensBut few are willing to jump straight into the vulnerability of receiving from a stranger. So we encourage Free Money Day participants to use a simple technique (which also serves to spread the experiment): suggest to recipients that they keep half the money you are giving them, and pass the other half on to someone else. This technique massively increases people’s willingness to engage in the experiment, reinforcing that people feel a need to view the giving as legitimate, which in turn legitimises the receiving.

In many ways, it is not surprising that people are suspicious, confused, even sometimes offended when they are offered ‘free money’. Mainstream economics still holds that we are driven by rational desires to further our self-interest. This assumption drives a pernicious culture that reinforces its own beliefs by placing on the pinnacle of success those who have been most successful at maximizing their self-interest. So many hear the words ‘free money’ and immediately think ‘greedy scam’. But greed has been absent at every Free Money Day event so far. No one has tried to ‘game’ the experience to make money for themselves. Rather, generosity has been abundant; from people handing out the last few notes in their wallets, to one couple giving away $35,000 of land to whoever arrived next on their organic farm.

Where we are most wounded is in receiving the generosity of others. Perhaps part of the reason so many Free Money Day participants have reported unwillingness to receive is because we have a cultural connotation that receiving help, from anyone – especially strangers – is linked with weakness. In this way, as experienced by this man who filmed himself trying to give away money, offering help becomes an insult – an accusation that someone cannot manage by themselves – rather than what it is intended to be – a gesture of love and goodwill.

Free Money Day in StockholmIn this light, Jennifer Hinton reported that the most common response she received when she offered people money was “please give it to someone who needs it more than me”. Certainly this response can stem, in part, from generosity for others, and the caring ethic that the Free Money Day experiment hopes to grow. But perhaps there is a part of this response that emanates from a deeper belief: that we are not worthy of love and support, especially not from people who we have never helped. Perhaps it’s a product of the ruthless individualism promoted by neoliberal ideology – where people are expected to succeed by themselves, for themselves. Perhaps centuries of market-based capitalism have ingrained the transaction model so deeply in our psyches that getting something for nothing seems like an impossible trick. And perhaps this is why suggestions to ‘pay it forward’ and learn about the event on the website seems to make people more comfortable with receiving.

Excessive taking (greed) is tightly related to materialism, and evidence shows materialism is correlated with personal insecurity. Insecure people feel unable to fully receive the riches they have been given, and when people are supported, loved and feel abundant, they tend to naturally give with immense generosity.

Thus, Free Money Day is an invitation to explore both giving and receiving. In particular, this year, what can you do to encourage people to receive more willingly? Perhaps your smile can break through their cynicism. Perhaps they will feel your heart. And, if so, what a wonderful opportunity for growth because, as the spiritual teacher, Tiziana DellaRovere, says, the expression give and ye shall receive should actually be reversed: receive, and ye shall give. As we increase our capacity to receive love, we are more able to give of it to others in a healthy way.

Let us continue to share with others that receiving is not about being weak, nor is it about being greedy. It is about honouring the understanding that we are all worthy of love, responding graciously to the gift of the giver’s desire to give, and replenishing our trust in humanity, so that we can continue to experience the richness of our interconnection on this finite planet.

This article was written by Tegan Tallulah and Donnie Maclurcan. Image credits: Nudzejma Avdic, Jennifer Hinton, Amelia Bryne.

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At the heart of Free Money Day 2014 is a social experiment: What happens when we share money with complete strangers?

Keep Calm and Give Away Money posterOn Monday, September 15th, people around the world will experience the answer to this question for themselves. Participants will be simultaneously helping to create a more sharing economy. Why? Because if we can open our hearts to the vulnerability associated with sharing something deemed as sacred as money, then we’re encouraging others, indeed giving others the permission, to do the same. And this grossly unequal world could certainly do with a little more sharing.

But sharing your money need not be a daunting thing. An event can be as big or as small as you’d like. It can be as easy as giving two notes or coins to someone at your workplace and asking them to pass one on, or leaving money somewhere in public, with a small note mentioning #freemoneyday.

Or perhaps you’re able to help share our Thunderclap campaign – a timed Twitter or Facebook post from our supporters, which will create a wave of attention four days before the event when released on Thursday September 11.

So, if you’re ready to make some change on September 15, by giving it all away, join us in registering your event via the sign-up form at http://freemoneyday.org.

Here’s to changing the world, two notes or coins at a time!

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Free Money Day will occur, globally, this 15th September, albeit in a scaled down form from its 2012 success.

The organising team at the Post Growth Institute are presently focussing attention on outlining an alternative macroeconomic framework, grounded in not-for-profit enterprise. Hence, important updates to this websites’ functionality are yet to be made and we won’t be seeking media coverage for this year’s event.

That said, we’d love you to hold an event this year (as simple as handing out a couple of coins and asking the recipient to pass one on!) and to register the details here. We will keep an offline record of all 2013 events, to be updated online as soon as we have the time and necessarily skills to improve the website. If you hold an event, please do send any pictures, videos and stories to: media@freemoneyday.org.

We hope you have a fun day this weekend and look forward to engaging further in the coming twelve months.

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