Economics
Mathias Lefebvre Remembers What Many of Us Have Forgotten
Mathias Lefebvre puts it simply: all we need is food, shelter, and love. However, to grow food, to build shelter, and to be close to loved ones, we need land.
April 8, 2015
Martin Adams
Author, Economist

Having refused to enter the workforce after graduating from university, Mathias Lefebvre took to traveling around the world on a shoestring budget. By the time he got to New Zealand he ran out of money, but soon started playing piano in public places—out of a sense of joy. Today, Mathias tells his story with music on the grand piano he pulls around the streets of Queenstown.

In his talk at TEDxQueenstown 2014: Sense of Place “Piano Man” Mathias Lefebvre, the ultimate lifestyle designer, talks about how he got to the place where he lives his life on his own terms. He asks us to think hard about what we really need in our lives and how we can cooperate for a better future for all.

Land = Food + Shelter + Love

In his own words:

I got to learn that I don’t need much. I was very short on money and I realized that every day I need to eat: I need food. Then, I got to realize, too, that it’s really good and important to have a place to stay: I need a home. And then, I got to realize, too, how good it is to have friends to hang out with: I need friends.
So really there are three things I need: food, shelter, and love. What I realized is that with land, I can grow the food, build a home, and live with other people. The point is that, really, the only thing I truly need is land.

Mathias has remembered an ancient truth: that the land belongs to us all.

Mathias Lefebvre—The Piano Man

For more information about how land reform can create meaningful work, restore our ecology, and bring more wealth into our local communities, I invite you to read my book Land: A New Paradigm for a Thriving World.

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Author, Economist

MARTIN ADAMS is a systems thinker and author. As a child, it pained him to see most people struggling while a few were living in opulence. This inspired in him a lifelong quest to co-create a fair and sustainable world in collaboration with others. As a graduate of a business school with ties to Wall Street, he opted not to pursue a career on Wall Street and chose instead to dedicate his life to community enrichment. Through his social enterprise work, he saw firsthand the extent to which the current economic system causes human and ecological strife. Consequently, Martin devoted himself to the development of a new economic paradigm that might allow humanity to thrive in harmony with nature. His book Land: A New Paradigm for a Thriving World is the fruit of his years of research into a part of this economic model; its message stands to educate policymakers and changemakers worldwide. Martin is technical director at Progress.org.