Counter-Economics

Born Without Money

Free the Planet

Transaction Net – Complementary Currencies

Usury VS. Just Lending

The Baltimore Green Currency Association

River Hours Local-Acting Currency

Please read this article about bankstering and also this document re: accepting your debts for value and discharging these debts directly from your prepaid treasury account. Here’s a website about time banking.

Check out this website devoted to metacurrencies.

Permaculture Research Institute of Australia Ages ago, when I was in college, it dawned on me that having a counter-culture was not enough. There was a thriving counter-culture in the Sixties, but over time, it became commodified and largely trivialized. The underlying structures of the economy can not only resist the strongest attacks, it can turn them to its advantage. The way to change the world is not to drop out, but to actively build a working alternative. To really make a difference, we need a counter-economy.

It was with a mix of chagrin and vindication that I discovered years later that Samuel Edward Konkin III had coined the term well before I did. He used the term somewhat differently than I did, however — he meant things that were expressly illegal, or at least under the table in the “cash economy.” This might mean prostitution, guns, and drugs, but it also might mean lawn-mowers, baby-sitters, a whole spectrum of day laborers, and pretty much any economic exchange that doesn’t leave a paper trail: bartering, gifts/donations, freecycling, volunteerism, and on and on. It might sound a little questionable, but stop and think about the things that make the formal economy run: strip-mining, clear-cutting, union-busting, petroleum, genetic engineering, fast food, hostile corporate takeovers, strip malls — and above all, war. The longer you look at the orthodox economy, the better the grey and black markets look.

“Which government is the best? That which teaches us to govern ourselves.” – Goethe

I produced a magazine on fair trade for exactly one year whose tag line was “The Fair Trade Journal of Applied Counter-Economics.” I defined counter-economics simply as “money at the service of people, instead of the other way around.” Even after learning of Konkin, I used this definition interchangeably with my criteria for fair trade: empowering workers, empowering consumers, safeguarding the environment, and buying and selling locally to the extent possible. Brad Spangler, one of a handful to pick up the torch of the libertarian left after SEK III passed on in 2004, was kind enough to describe my definition as “a separate but arguably compatible sense” of the term.

The philosophy that is most closely associated with Konkin’s use of “counter-economics” is called agorism, also known as market anarchism, or as Kevin Carson puts it, free-market anti-capitalism. I can’t call myself a full-fledged anarchist, because I haven’t completely renounced electoral politics (only the corporate-sponsored parties — you know who you are!), but in the long run, what I call myself is not as important as what I do, and what I do is promote fair trade. Fair trade is neither the black nor grey market, because it is legal. However, by definition, it challenges the dominant assumptions and structures of neoliberal economics. Even now, I’m seeing an upswing in articles all over the web challenging the validity and effectiveness of fair trade. If it continues to grow, corporations will continue trying to buy it out, and if they cannot, they will petition the government to outlaw it. Not directly, of course — it wouldn’t be seemly to pass a law against paying workers well. Rather, you’ll see laws that chip away at any market advantages that fair trade brings. For example, corporations might ask the state to limit the ways fair trade can be labeled, which would keep buyers ignorant and undermine price signals. Or, they might ask for “standards” on all businesses in a given sector — standards that only multinationals have the resources to meet. This isn’t idle speculation… it’s already happened to organics.

Read more from this author about counter-economics

Free State Blogs On June 25, I had the pleasure of riding with Jason and several other freedom fighters from Keene to Lancaster New Hampshire for the sixth annual Porcupine Freedom Festival.

Porcfest (for short) is a four day festival where NH liberty activists, freedom lovers, and fence sitters (those who are considering moving to the free state) meet for several days of fun, activity, competition, speeches, live media, camping, music, food, and much more. The purpose of Porcfest, as the Free State Project (FSP) states is “to showcase the FSP, New Hampshire, and the activists who are making significant changes to the political and social landscape of the Live Free or Die state.”

This year, the festival was hosted at Rogers Family Campground in Lancaster. As we arrived a the campground in the afternoon, a motion light sign on the roadside greeted us with a welcome message by the FSP displaying the motto “Live Free Or Die”.

As we settled in, people were moving about and setting up camp, while elsewhere others were engaging in deep tissue massages, discussion about grassroots politics, and a Henna Tattoos workshop.

That evening, the “Rocket to the Moon” launch party started off the festival with open discussion and socializing. Shortly after, Nick and Toby of Free Minds Media went around interviewing attendees for Free Minds TV.  Mark and Ian of Free Talk Live were also broadcasting from inside the TV room. Later on, I joined some people outside at the bonfire.

The next day was filled with activity. In the morning, individuals with the Appleseed Project went out for full-day rifleman training, and another group went on a nature hike through the White Mountains. Later on, Mike Barskey led an interactive seminar on handling police confrontations and after that, a discussions by The Liberty Restoration Project. Dan Itse of the NH Liberty Alliance, and the Campaign For Liberty followed.

Meanwhile, numerous people including myself were in the Exhibitor area. There, people were displaying information, liberty merchandise, books, a silent auction and more. I sat at the table with the Alliance Of The Libertarian Left. At the table, “Soviet Onion” and Darian Worden organized an impressive display of information pamphlets about strategy and theory.

Read more from this author about counter-economics at Freed State Blogs

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