Living Without Money


Adam Navis and Marina Santee look at the unusual choice of Heidemarie Shwermer. She chose to live without using money!

Transcript


Voice 1

Welcome to Spotlight, I'm Adam Navis.

Voice 2

And I'm Marina Santee. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 3

"I feel free. My heart is my home now."

Voice 1

Today's Spotlight is on Heidemarie Schwermer. Heidemarie believes that people today have a problem. We place too much value on money and things. She believes that we have started to define ourselves by what we own. To fight against this, she has been living without money for over thirteen years.

Voice 2

In most places in the world, Heidemarie is unusual. Most people use money for everything. It is the way to get what we need. But it is not the only way. There are many situations that can force a person to live without money - situations like war, or natural disasters. And all of these situations are troubling. The people facing this extreme poverty and difficulty need help.

Voice 1

But Heidemarie Shwermer had money. She had a job and a home. She chose to give it all away. She chose to live without money.

Heidemarie stopped using money because she wanted to help people. She had moved to a new town in Germany. She saw that there were many people living on the streets. Many people did not have jobs or homes. So she started a group that she hoped would help.

Voice 2

It was called Gib und Nimm. In English this means Give and Take. It was a place where people from the city could bring goods and services to trade. So, for example, if you were good at fixing electricity you would offer that service. Another person may be good at cutting hair. So you would trade services. People could also trade goods. If you had books you were finished reading, you could bring them in. Another person may have extra clothes. You could trade books for clothes.

Voice 1

This is not a new idea. Before money existed, this is how society worked. Everyone would trade goods and services with each other. And this is the way life still works in places where people have very little money.

Voice 2

Heidemarie hoped that the people living on the streets would come to her Give and Take. But they did not. They did not think that she could understand them. They did not think her new idea would help. But this did not stop Heidemarie. She still wanted to make a difference.

Voice 1

So she started giving away everything she owned. She decided that she was not going to buy anything. She would only give away or trade. People did not always understand her. But Heidemarie says that the more she gave away, the better she felt.

Voice 2

So how did Heidemarie survive without using money? Heidemarie was trained as a therapist. She would listen to people talk and try to help them with their problems. She was able to give this service for many things she needed, like eye glasses. She believed that all work had value. She did not think that having more education made her better than other people. So she also started doing other jobs, like cleaning and washing.

Voice 1

Finally, in 1996, Heidemarie made a big decision. She decided to give up her job and her house and live without any money for one year. She would move from house to house offering services for a place to sleep. She would get food and clothing by trading. She only carried around a few things.

Voice 2

She loved this way of life so much that she is still doing it today, over thirteen years later! Here is how she explained her new life to the British newspaper The Times,

Voice 3

"Life became much more exciting and beautiful. I had everything I needed. I knew I could not go back to my old life. I had much joy. My body felt better than it ever had. But, living without money was just a first step. I knew that I wanted to change the world. But, I could not change the world just by giving my services for a place to stay. I knew I had to do more."

Voice 1

This is why Heidemarie now travels to many places to talk to people about her life. She wrote a book about her life. And soon there will be a film about her, too. She hopes that people will see her story and think about their own lives. Heidemarie knows that the divide between rich people and poor people is growing. And she hopes that she can plant a seed in people's hearts. She hopes people will ask themselves "What do I need? How do I want to live?"

Voice 2

Heidemarie also believes that money can get in the way of happiness. She says that all people have value and worth and skills to share. This is more important than money and things. But she also knows that the people who have money feel safe. They do not want to give it up. And she knows that there are many people without money who need food, homes, and health. This is not an easy problem to solve.

Voice 1

The problem of rich and poor has been around a long time. The Bible talks about this problem a lot. Christians believe that God cares about the poor. God also warns people about being rich. He says that being rich in money and wealth can cause many problems. One Bible verse says,

Voice 4

"The love of money is the cause of all kinds of evil. Some people want money so much that they have given up their faith. They cause themselves a lot of pain."
1 Timothy 6: 10

Voice 2

Sometimes, people use this saying incorrectly. They say that "money is the cause of all evil." But the Bible is saying that the love of money is the problem. The problem with money is that people start to value it more than anything else. But the Bible teaches that God wants us to value people and relationships and service.

Voice 1

Heidemarie believes this, too. She knows that people need money to survive. But she also knows that too many people believe that money is the most important thing. She hopes that her life choices can get people thinking about how they value money. She wants people to feel free.

Voice 2

The writer of this program was Sara Leo. The producer was Adam Navis. All quotes were adapted and voiced by Spotlight. Computer users can find these programs on our website at http://www.radio.english.net. This program is called "Living Without Money."

Voice 1

If you have a comment or question about this program, you can email us. Our email address is radio@english.net. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Thanks for listening. Goodbye!

Question:

Do you think that Heidemarie was right to give up money? What lessons did she learn?

Comments


Avatar Spotlight
Solid
said on August 06, 2010

I wonder why some churches think that you are more blessed when more healthy you are.

Avatar Spotlight
GelezniyDen
said on August 22, 2011

Hello, hey everybody and good day all people who live in this beautiful world and study the super language English. So my opinion is following: How be written in this article that barter existed before people invented another way - money and use it still and didn’t invent another way I think that money is best way for trade. And even in our country exist companies which suggest live persons on the street for money of course and this service costs much money and persons who use that have a lot of money just they want have the rest like that. But I like normal way for living it is have a job and home and so forth. I want to say that each person in this world has your own opinion and own choice how she or he will live. And always thanks all people who worked above this and another programs we so much help us in learning this beautiful language. Who want reach me and communicate with me just add me to following Skype: gelezniyden.

Avatar Spotlight
layeak
said on August 22, 2011

People make money to easy trading each other.
But today money make some people who wrong way thinking.

Avatar Spotlight
nature187_vn
said on August 24, 2011

Follow me,money is not all but in fact if we live without it,I think it’s really difficult for each person as social…
In Vietnamese,I saw value of money is being lost,the food was increasing,and I wonder if we live without needing eat and we still can live,then money will not being important thing,but in fact it’s entirely differences…
For my conception, a lot of thing what money can’t buy, that is happiness,successful and confidence…
Thanks for program’s story!

Avatar Spotlight
Deepaul
said on September 28, 2012

Very good program! Thank you! After this program i’ve found much information about this woman and now I respect her even more. There are many attitudes about a problem - money and freedom. But the fact that people like Heidemarie are exist and have own opinion is convices me of good future of our world!

Long Pham's avatar
Long Pham
said on September 28, 2012

Thanks for program that supply to this hot subject. The money is very important for everyone, but it is not all, only is tools to service the human who satisfy for life demand daily. But if have not money is poor,not food to eat and survive.

Luis Piedra's avatar
Luis Piedra
said on September 28, 2012

Good program. I think the money can to buy things, but can’t to buy a family.

Edu Berenguer's avatar
Edu Berenguer
said on November 24, 2012

Hello everybody! I really liked this program. There is a good lesson of life in it. It sounds better to say more than one, I guess. Actually everybody should listen to this program and think about their lives, the way of live, how to live better and how to put value on the CORRECT things in life. Nowadays, Living without money is much more than a challenge. Everyone knows what type of world we are living today. It’s a fact. The money value grows minute after minute and the people are becoming very blind, almost a object. In fact, TODAY MONEY USES PEOPLE [CONTROL THEIR LIVES ALL TIME], BUT PEOPLE DON’T USE IT. It is sad, but it is real, it is the REALITY we are.
It’s very complicated to live without money, of course, but it is not impossible. When you decided to live without money you go AGAINST the current system, the government, the other people [slaves]. I think that each one of us should have an experience like Heidemarie had, because indeed we would learn a lot about THE LIFE, OURSELVES AND OTHER PEOPLE. Certainly we would comprehend more about many things, including this: WE HAVE VALUE BECAUSE OF WE ARE, NOT BECAUSE OF WE HAVE. What I AM is deeply related with my value, but not WHAT I HAVE. Material things won’t be a solid building for us. Our personality, our SPIRITUAL situation, our conscience, what we indeed are, are going to have sense, are going to be our BASE.

OBS: I’m studying English so if you see a mistake please contact me. I want to learn. Thanks!

Avatar Spotlight
Luckyman...
said on July 21, 2015

what about you think? can you survive without money? thanks for sharing a great topic. as far as i am concerned without money we will not do anything else in our life. we need to eat, drink, sleep, treat sick, travel… etc in our life. but without money we will not do it. in th other side, money can not buy things such as happiness, family, love…

Hesam Tajik's avatar
Hesam Tajik
said on July 31, 2015

Thanks for excellent programs.
I think that money is very important in life. If you are a rich person then you can help people much. But without money… It may be hard…

Avatar Spotlight
kenhieuloilam
said on September 03, 2015

In the life each of us lives our lives every day. Our lives have many challenges. We live a beautiful good life. We do not know what will happen to us tomorrow. Each peaceful minute second is happiness. The sky is blue and clouds are white. The sunshine is warm and the wind blows lightly. The trees are green and the ocean is blue. The moon shines and stars twinkle. We complete our work every day. We complete our responsibilities and duties every day. We work hard to get essential things for our lives. Money helps us get essential things for our lives. Living a beautiful good life is important.