Did you know that anywhere in the world you can get things for free? The other day I was walking though my town of Kraków, Poland and I saw a sign that said “free shop”. I was like what is this? It was filled with nice items that are totally without price. You just take what you need or want or donate what you want no questions asked. They are give-away shops. Not exactly charity shops for he needy but open economic exchanges. Books, furniture, clothes and household items are founding these free markets. Some have a swap (one in one out policy) but most are purely free.
As an unrepentant capitalist and someone who is libertarian leaning, I have no problem whatsoever on the exchange of goods and services outside the traditional market economy. That is economic activity outside of the world of money and prices as a yardstick of value. It is the ultimate in free market economics.
Its origins are the Freeganism or anti-consumer movement of direct action. Some anarchist (I am not this) are into it, but the reality is practical and everyday people use these open markets. I mean lets be honest how much different are they from these flee markets and tag sales where things are for a nominal price, except the ideal.
- Human life is not only about economics, it has many dimensions – Many forms of human exchange take place outside the economical price system and everything in life does not have to be quid pro quo.
- As an alternative to capitalism I would the freeccyle network as my personal favorite. Why? Under socialism or communism the state or armed power allocates resources and determines value. In contrast under this anti-capitalist model of ‘free’ people exercises their own personal liberties.
- Social evolution – It is an ideal, and perhaps the world will never become like this, that is so evolved socially. However, it does not hurt to have an example by people who are more socially developed. They are usually peace and love type people who in my experience have never hurt anyone or at least in contrast to the other side of the spectrum, that is reptilian brain dominated humans are much more socially responsible and aware.
- Open source is a free model – Is this high in the pie hippie stuff? What browser do you use? Firefox or Chrome or if you are remotely connected to the IT would you know the best software is open source or based on the idea of free exchange and donations. Just because it is free does not mean anything, sometimes free open exchanges are the best or one way give and take actions work better than arms length transactions.
- Must we consume the world? – I mean what if I go into the Free Shop and take everything to my apartment? Will I be any happier than if I temper my desires and live a more Epicurean life? Sometimes I think people would consume the world if they could. Do not be mislead, if you drink life in large gulps, you will still not have enough of it when it is time to leave this world for the next.
What is the Freecyle network
You can search for a free shop in your area or connect with a group here -> FreeCycle network is an organization of people who share this Political economic ideology outlined above. It also has environmental motives as the less junk that goes into landfills and can be humanly recycled the better. Started in Tucson, Arizona, and although grass-roots it has almost 8 million members.
What do you think about this economic philosophy?