Free Money Day and Community-Based Economy

by Project Censored
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On September 15th, 2011, the Post Growth Institute did something unheard of in this money-driven economy. On the anniversary of the 2008 bankruptcy filing by Lehman Brothers, and the collapse one of world’s largest investment banks, the Institute declared a “Free Money Day.”   That day was dedicated to exploring the “Gift Economy” as people handed out their own money to complete strangers. This idea of gifting as a means of exchange, rather than using money, is one that allows both the giver and receiver to gain something from the exchange, without expecting anything in return. Participants came from 44 cities, across 19 countries, creating 64 events they shared with their communities. The offerings tended to cause public confusion and amazement – interrupting the conditioned response to what “money” is — and exploring other forms of exchange.

Free Money Day is a day of exploring creative, ecological economies used by past societies and current organizations who exemplify an informal economy and alternative forms of fair exchange. These include gift economies and bartering, such as Local Exchange Trading Systems (LETS); Time Banking; and organized social initiatives such as worker-run cooperatives and collective housing. The Occupy Movement has been actively employing a number of these.  All show a shift towards a community-driven society and future.

Free Money Day – 2012 takes place on September 12th — all around the world.  We need a new, more caring economy – if you agree, educate yourself about these emerging options and consider what you might offer on this day!

“Sharing is Common Cents: The Free Money Day Experience,” Donnie Maclurcan, Sharaeable, Feb. 20, 2012,


Student Researcher: Katelyn Michelson, San Francisco State University

Faculty Evaluator: Kenn Burrows, San Francisco State University