Beyond money: embracing Ubuntu Contributionism for a sustainable society

Introduction to Michael Tellinger and Ubuntu Contributionism

This blog post explores the ideas and philosophy of Michael Tellinger, a South African author, researcher, and politician, in the context of sustainability and sustainable development. Tellinger’s Ubuntu Contributionism proposes a socio-economic system based on principles of contribution, cooperation, and sharing instead of money.

We give an overview of Tellinger’s beliefs, his critique of the existing monetary system, and the core tenets of Ubuntu Contributionism. Furthermore, we examine how this concept aligns with principles of sustainability and how it has influenced various aspects of sustainable development.

Michael Tellinger and his ideas

Michael Tellinger gained prominence for his theories and writings on ancient civilizations, human origins, and the nature of money. Tellinger is known for his belief in the existence of an advanced civilization known as the ancient Anunnaki that supposedly influenced early human development.

One of his most well-known ideas is the concept of “Ubuntu Contributionism,” which promotes a society based on the principles of contribution and sharing rather than money. According to Tellinger, this system would eliminate poverty, scarcity, and inequality.

Critique of the existing monetary system

Tellinger’s views revolve around the origins of money and his belief that it was introduced as a tool of control and enslavement. According to him, money was first created by the Priest-kings in ancient Sumeria, who owned all the land and forced people to work for them. These rulers established massive temples that served as palaces and banks, issuing the first forms of money in the form of clay tablets.

Tellinger asserts that money was not intended to aid humanity’s survival and prosperity but rather to exert control over individuals and societies. He emphasizes that the control of money lies with a global elite, the banking families, who possess the power to create and issue money as they please. This elite, he argues, owns countries, controls governments, and manipulates various aspects of society, while most people remain unaware of their influence and struggle with their daily lives.

Tellinger suggests that as long as money exists in the current system, humanity will remain enslaved to those who control it. He contends that money is not merely a means of exchange but a tool of absolute control over humanity. To address this issue, Tellinger’s UBUNTU Movement has developed Contributionism, a system aimed at systematically removing money from society without violence, opposition, or conflict. The envisioned outcome is unlimited prosperity and abundance for everyone at all levels.

Ubuntu Contributionism in practice

Ubuntu Contributionism is a socio-economic philosophy and proposed system that emphasizes the principles of contribution, cooperation, and sharing within a community. The term “Ubuntu” originates from Southern African philosophy and can be roughly translated as “I am because we are.” It promotes the interconnectedness of humanity and the belief that an individual’s well-being is deeply intertwined with the well-being of the community.

According to Tellinger, in an Ubuntu Contributionist society, money would be replaced with a system of contribution. People would be encouraged to offer their skills, talents, and time for the betterment of the community. In turn, the community would provide for the basic needs of its members, such as food, shelter, healthcare, and education, through collective effort and resources.

The Influence of Ubuntu Contributionism on sustainable development

The ideas of Ubuntu Contributionism, with their emphasis on cooperation, community, and sharing, have influenced the discourse and practice of sustainability and sustainable development in various ways. Ubuntu Contributionism promotes a shift towards localized and community-based systems.

This aligns with the principles of sustainable development, which emphasize the importance of involving local communities in decision-making processes and empowering them to manage their resources sustainably. By fostering a sense of collective responsibility and shared ownership, Ubuntu Contributionism contributes to the development of resilient and sustainable communities.

The sharing economy and Ubuntu Contributionism

The sharing economy, characterized by the sharing and efficient use of resources, resonates with the principles of Ubuntu Contributionism. Platforms and initiatives promoting collaborative consumption, such as carpooling, tool libraries, and community gardens, encourage people to share resources, reduce waste, and foster social connections.

These practices align with the concept of Ubuntu, which emphasizes the interconnectedness of individuals and the importance of collective well-being.

Ubuntu Contributionism and social entrepreneurship

Ubuntu Contributionism recognizes the value of individuals contributing their skills and talents for the betterment of the community. This aligns with the growing field of social entrepreneurship, which seeks to address social and environmental challenges through innovative business models.

Social enterprises aim to create positive impacts while prioritizing community needs and sustainability over profit maximization.

Challenging consumerism

Ubuntu Contributionism challenges the prevailing culture of consumerism and overconsumption by promoting a shift towards more sustainable patterns of consumption and production.

By emphasizing contribution and sharing rather than individual accumulation, it encourages people to be mindful of their consumption choices and prioritize the well-being of the community and the environment.

Ubuntu Contributionism and alternative approaches to finance

Ubuntu Contributionism questions the existing monetary system and advocates for alternative approaches to finance. This aligns with the emergence of ethical finance, including impact investing and community banking, which aim to create positive social and environmental outcomes.

Additionally, the exploration of alternative currencies, such as time banking and local currencies, reflects the Ubuntu ethos of exchange and reciprocity within communities.


Ubuntu Contributionism, as proposed by Michael Tellinger, offers a path to sustainable and equitable development by challenging the existing monetary system and promoting principles of contribution, cooperation, and sharing.

By emphasizing community well-being over individual accumulation, Ubuntu Contributionism aligns with the principles of sustainability and has influenced various aspects of sustainable development.

Interesting facts

Here are a few real places where aspects of Ubuntu Contributionism have found application in life:

  1. The Transition Town movement: Transition Towns, such as Totnes in the United Kingdom, embrace principles of Ubuntu Contributionism by promoting localized, community-based systems. They focus on building resilience, reducing dependence on fossil fuels, and encouraging collaboration and sharing within the community.
  2. Freecycle Network: The Freecycle Network is a global grassroots movement that facilitates the reuse and sharing of unwanted items. It operates on the principles of Ubuntu Contributionism by promoting the idea that one person’s trash can be another person’s treasure, reducing waste and fostering a sense of community through giving and receiving.
  3. Time banking communities: Time banking initiatives, like the one in Ithaca, New York, create a system where individuals trade services based on time rather than money. Participants offer their skills or services to others in the community and earn “time credits” that can be redeemed for services they need. This approach aligns with the principles of Ubuntu Contributionism by emphasizing the value of contribution and cooperation.
  4. Alternative currency experiments: Various local communities have experimented with alternative currencies, such as Bristol Pound in the UK and BerkShares in Massachusetts, USA. These currencies aim to strengthen local economies, promote local businesses, and encourage community cooperation and exchange. While not directly aligned with Ubuntu Contributionism, these initiatives reflect the idea of reimagining monetary systems to prioritize community well-being.

These examples demonstrate how elements of Ubuntu Contributionism, such as collaboration, sharing, and community empowerment, have found practical applications in real-life initiatives, contributing to more sustainable and resilient communities.

Disclaimer: This article provides general information, which may or may not be correct, complete or current at the time of reading. No recipients of content from this site should act on the basis of content of the article without seeking appropriate legal advice or other professional counselling.

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