Living A Better Life With Author Matt Holten.
There is a growing global wealth gap. Federal Reserve data indicates that as of Q4 2021, the top 1% of households in the United States held 32.3% of the country's wealth, while the bottom 50% held 2.6% Add to that climate change is destabilizing many regions of the globe, worsening famine, disease, and civil disturbances. That’s the bad news.
Matt Holten, author of Moneyless Society: The Next Economic Evolution offers hope and steps that everyone can take to collectively right the ship. In his book, Matt explores how capitalism thwarts Earth's capacity to maintain life and undermines our desire for peace and prosperity. Moneyless Society illuminates how, with a new approach, not only our lives but those of future generations could be improved.
Tell us a bit about your background.
My mom jumped off a bridge when I was 15, partially due to the screwed up medical system , but also some family issues with my father's hoarding and narcissistic behavior. I ran away from home shortly thereafter, couldn't get the help I needed, either from family or the medical system. I did lots of drugs and alcohol, bought crack through a hole in the wall in Las Vegas. I've had over 100 jobs, including waiting tables at 7 restaurants, delivering pizza for 8, nearly 20 different telemarketing jobs, customer service, tech support, poker dealing, teaching piano, insurance sales, real estate agent, and much more. I got sick of the capitalist system and working for companies that don't give a crap about people and only care about profits, and I wanted to do something about it.
What was the impetus for you writing "Moneyless Society: The Next Economic Evolution?
To help myself and others lead better lives, to have the integrity to live up to the potential that I know that I have that could help change the world -- I know I would not be happy with myself unless I purse this type of work. I also want to do something about climate change, resource overshoot, inequality, etc, to show people how we can create a better society and way of life. When I heard about The Venus Project through the "Zeitgeist" films (second and third ones in particular -- the first is more of a "conspiracy" type movie, and it would probably be best to not be associated with it...) I wanted to find a group of people who were working toward those goals in a community, but a physical community like that didn't exist. There were only other people online, like myself, who wanted to do something like that, as well. I created the website MoneylessSociety.com in 2013 to catalog my findings about the subject, and in 2017 I began writing the book.
What would you like people to take away from reading your book?
created. We have outlined a realistic path toward creating communities that can experiment with, implement, develop, and demonstrate a better way of life/socioeconomic system.
Who do you see as your target audience?
Working professionals, mostly between the ages of 25 & 45, who know that there is something wrong with the current system but can't really explain what or why exactly, and don't know what to do about it. Also, pissed off people who are tired of the current system and want an alternative, possibly the younger generation in particular, and those who are concerned about climate change, such as students, environmental advocates, etc...
What do you see as the biggest challenges to changing the current system?
Getting people informed and motivated enough to take action and help existing organizations. Also, possible opposition and pushback from the government, corporate entities, etc...
What are some small initial changes that people can make to start that change?
Creating cooperative relationships and entities with neighbors and in their community, starting to produce things within their communities for themselves, learning about technology, automation, new social systems, I'm implementing these practices within their own lives, in their communities, educating themselves and others about these things and their potential, etc..
You also have a podcast, tell us a bit about that.
It's in its second season now, I've kind of taken a little bit of a step back from taking part in some of the episodes however since I've been so busy. Marlow mostly handles the production and content of that, now. although I will likely start to take on more of a direct role in that since the book is done, now. We generally just have on guests from around the world who we feel are aligned with our message, values, etc... and discuss these topics, which there are many facets of this subject, since the topic of capitalism and it's alternatives are vast and all-encompassing...
Do you have any other projects that you are currently working on?
Yes. My wife and I, as well as an environmentalist friend, are working on our first children's book that will deal with what will happen to/with various species as climate change progresses. We intend this to be a series of books that we will likely approach several different organizations about partnering with them, such as the Birch Aquarium here in San Diego - which are ardent supporters of climate change education/information. We intend this to be a series of children's books that are relatively aligned with the overall goals/message of our organization, that focus on the climate change/biodiversity loss aspect of this message. I am also releasing a song I wrote and recorded in a month or two, followed by several others, that are in alignment with our message. My wife and I also own a regenerative farm that we are starting here in San Diego as a family, focusing on moringa production and carbon sequestration/restoring soil health. I would eventually like to devote part of this property to starting one or more cooperatives that are in alignment with our goals. I am also in the beginning stages of learning to grow mushrooms in our garage, which I feel has huge potential in the realm of providing our own food ( a step in the direction of "de-commodification" of food), as well as potential environmental applications. I will be filming and documenting our progress with this. Fungi/mushrooms is/are a huge thing with lots of potential in both the food sovereignty dept, as well as environmentalism. I am also in the process of creating another youtube channel/show called "Transformation Time," which highlights how I have made some pretty good and serious changes in my own life, and also talks about helping people transform their own lives and the communities around them. This show is also in alignment with the overall message of the book and our organization. There is also a robotics project that I have kind of put on the back burner for now until I have more time to focus on it, but I will likely start pursuing this project in the coming months, as well, with a bit of help from some friends and possibly the Salk Institute here in San Diego.
For more information on Matt please visit: https://moneylesssociety.com/