>(REPOST FROM Sunday, January 29, 2006)
So I was flipping through a book called The Anti-Capitalism Reader today at work, and I found an interesting chapter on what is called “parallel economies” – economic networks that exist alongside and apart from the mainstream. What was fascinating is that what is discussed and supported in this chapter is perfectly consistent with a free market, and not the so called “free market” that exists today: fiat money, mercantilism and the evil concept of “intellectual property”. (How one can own an idea is beyond me, considering its non scarcity and quite frankly, enforceability.)
The author discusses alternative currencies in foreign countries, as well as mutual credit and barter associations. These forms of economic activity don’t suffer from the inflationary effects of the US dollar and other state currencies, and the reciprocal nature of the various associations helps solidify a sense of “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours”. It’s all voluntary and thus perfectly free…market.
This actually meshes quite well with more “right wing” libertarian ventures such as the Liberty Dollar, also an attempt to escape the legally sanctioned counterfeit process known as the Federal Reserve.
(The distance between the rhetoric of free markets and the reality has gotten so large that Evo Morales [new president of Bolivia] apparently remarked recently that he was going to depart from the unjust U.S. prescribed “free market” reforms and legalize coca plants!)
Interesting reading, and proof that the stereotypical “left” and “right” need to be thoroughly re-worked.
Currently reading : The Anti-Capitalism Reader: Imagining a Geography of Opposition By Joel Schalit Release date: By 15 October, 2002