Wendell Berry says that in the preface to his very interesting book Sex, Economy, Freedom, and Community that his book about “sales resistance,” a term which I think he never uses again (I do intend to look at the book again and review it). I presume he means by this term a life less economically mediated: where your happiness and survival depends less on actions whose medium of exchange is cash. This is one of the great pleasures of life in the woods, where you grow your own food and gather some calories as well, where your heat and water are not paid for with anything but labor, where you are constantly scavenging for free things that just might be useful.
One of the problems of course is that we are utterly without experience in such a life: all the little solutions other generations came up with we now no longer have access to. The other day I passed one of my water buckets and found a chipmunk dead in it, as occasionally happens: they jump in looking for water, and find no way out. It reminded me of a friend who was having problems with chipmunks eating his tomatoes. He wanted revenge: traps, poisons, something. But before he spent his little money he wanted to know what would work best. I told him that buckets of water are cheap and effective if he needed to rid himself of them, though I live in the Hong Kong of chipmunk density and while I lose some tomatoes and lots of strawberries, I thought they were generally animals I could live with. But that said, I do have water buckets out already.
Sales resistance, though, is still one of the most effective means of reducing your tax burden, if you’re a teapartier and that appeals to you, and for whatever reason solutions, even ineffective ones, are more satisfying when they are free, just as food you grow tastes better than food you purchase – this may be just vanity, but it feels almost like the original, Edenic purpose of vanity, a worthy pride in the process of being alive.