Sharing is a form of resistance to the hyper-consumptive corporate state. Yes, the same one that is making war on good people everywhere. That’s the message I took from this video. Oh, I know it’s just about tech stuff and Gen Y and swapping DRM-encrypted DVD media. But that’s really the conclusion. We consume too much. The reason is the inflationary policies of the banking cartel’s “Federal Reserve”. Cheap money spurs excesses of production and consumption. It traps us in cycles of debt and wage slavery. It eviscerates our salaries and savings. It is the modern slavery.
How do we escape it? By sharing. If you satisfy your demand through sharing, there is no need to spend the worthless monopoly money called dollars. Nor is there a need to earn them for that matter. Sharing reduces demand. That reduces interest income to banks (on the loans all businesses use) and tax payments to governments. It will also bankrupt corporations. Less corporate money means less money for politicians. If it costs less to run for state office, reform candidates have a better shot at winning.
The lady in the video, Rachel Botsman, says that people trade millions of items at Swap.com. Yet 99 per cent of the trades are successful. No money is involved! Can eBay rival that success rate? They certainly don’t approach that level of value conservation. Their PayPal service takes up to 3 per cent of all transactions. Sharing is programmed into us. We are naturally good at it. And it is very efficient.
Capitalism, on the other hand, seems strange. It’s mysterious. We have to learn it. We have to figure out the concept of money. Accountants undergo advanced training to balance checkbooks, but 2 year olds know how to share with a belly laugh. Capitalism can be harnessed. The state can take a cut off the top. State-backed corporations form cartels to control resources and skew markets. They funnel extreme concentrations of wealth into their own hands to the detriment of hard-working individuals everywhere. It is simply unnatural and, frankly, destructive.
Sharing is legal. Unlike agorism, where money can change hands for verboten items, sharing carries no risk. Every day people share by making donations, they give birthday presents and Christmas may be the greatest day of the year to share. If you’re sharing and some bureaucrat gets in your face, just tell them it’s a gift. It won’t work for everything, but it will work for a lot.
Sharing happens in the liberty and reddit communities all the time. When I was in jail, people shared their time with me (tax-free!) by calling and demanding my release. They also donated money to my legal defense fund. The same thing was shared with Adam Mueller of Liberty on Tour just 4 months later – with shocking results. Right now, members of the liberty community are sharing dollars and solidarity with a comrade in a desperate situation.
“What’s mine is yours.” That’s a basic human feeling. I’ll risk saying it’s a part of human nature. Libertarians must move beyond stale talk of rights and property. We need a more basic connection to our fellow human beings. The concept of liberty rests on other principles, like the ethic of reciprocity. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” We all like to be on the receiving end of sharing. So pay it forward by sharing more yourself. You may even strike a blow for liberty!
As Botsman notes, online social media is enabling people to share more. Instead of pursuing agorism – the libertarian strategy that builds centers of economic activity outside the purview of the state – secretly and in small groups, perhaps we should take some lessons from this video. Car-sharing services, such as zipcar or DriveMyCar, take agorism into the mainstream. Sure, it’s not perfect agorism, but it’s an impressive effort.
See, for example, the evolution of the car market sector in the graphic to the right. It’s moving fast! Is the agorist community getting left behind? Is the mainstream moving beyond us? Let’s focus less on waiting for collapse. Let’s start growing our networks to include people interested in leading-edge social media trade. That will give us a fighting chance to bypass collapse and go straight to the new society we seek.