Skip to main content

Against the IFP

Centralizing control over a currency’s infrastructure is a seemingly obvious mistake.

One would think any Austro-libertarian worth their salt would be able to see thru such a charade. Yet here we are, again. Face to face with economic illiteracy. Not garden variety lefist economic illiteracy, but one far more stinging and painful - one which comes from within our own community, rather than from without. 

First, Bitcoiners faced the economic illiteracy of maximalism and small blockers. Attempts to masquerade money’s primary function as value storage (Ammous) or rejecting Menger’s Regression Theorem altogether (Szabo) are luckily demonstrably false. Nevertheless, the shock of our fellow Bitcoiners illiteracy was like an unexpected slap in the face. Suddenly, we were forced to confront the fact that the ignorance of our allies in the fight for sound money, had led them astray. Yet, thru BCH we were thankfully able to keep Satoshi’s dream of peer to peer cash intact. 
Well, crypto anarch…

The Power of the Good Neighbor

Spring evening somewhere in Oslo, birdsong and
children playing as the only background music.

The individualistic thought world; breaking down groups and geographical areas into smaller and smaller components until you hit the fundamental building block of society - The single person - and from there, zoom out and see families, neighborhoods, parts of the city, larger metropolitan areas, the nation and beyond. 

In theory, when you take the individualistic view its easier to hone in on the elements you want to surround yourself with and expose your family to. Connect with like-minded people and create a positive atmosphere for growth and prosperity, whatever your values might be. The advantages to surround yourself with like-minded individuals is especially important for any aspiring Gray-marketeers (Agorists) that seeks to dodge any government rules and regulations.

But, when we look on a modern city-state of today you would have to get over many hurdles to design a "perfect" neighborhood consisting of people with an as-close-as-possible view of culturally accepted behavior in the general area of what we can call home. Not impossible, but more often than not you are playing a game on Hard-mode and have to accept some forms of compromises.

With ever decreasing property rights in favor of public/government control elements added to the mix, the top-down control on communities, families and lastly the individual settlement gets more and more restrictive and oppressive. [1]

As the saying goes, "one bad apple spoils the bunch", or in other terms, one bad neighbor can really split the community. If you can't control how to handle this bad apple, if any negotiation doesn't leave you the option to make it costly to do bad stuff next door in some form, you risk having it spread and set a new tone contrary to the ideals of you and your neighbors.

"and while the principle [of live and let live] does indeed hold and apply for people living far apart and dealing with each other only indirectly and from afar, it does not hold and apply, or rather it is insufficient, when it comes to people living in close proximity to each other, as neighbors and cohabitants of the same community." - Hans-Herman Hoppe

Much can be said on the topic of the 'Bad Neighbor Problem', indeed, but the topic of the Good Neighbor is much more interesting to me at this time and particularly how powerful it is to both be and have Good Neighbors.

Cheaper security transactions (and predictability of behavior as an added bonus to that) is a fundamental advantage of surrounding yourself with like-minded people. If close proximity isn't possible, the second best thing is having a well-made network of people. If you are, for example, a gray-marketeer that rather barter with your peers for goods and services and opt to cut out the unnecessary middleman that is government bureaucracy and taxation you always run a risk of getting exposed to agents of the state. If you have Good Neighbors that are on the same page in regards to your principles the risk of getting caught for something the state considers a crime is at a minimum.

"Try to influence your friends to speak appropriately by your example. If you find yourself in unfamiliar company, however, keep quiet." - Epictetus, advicing 21st century Gray Marketeers

When someone says "security", it is very easy to fall into the trap of thinking about arming yourself and having a bulletproof vest on a coat hanger, but security, at its core, is much more in the lines of trust - If you can trust your Good Neighbor (or your network), the need for swords and shield are much lower. Your inner circle should form a wall of trust [2] and allow everyone associated to fly under the radar, together. Sooner or later, security measures have to be invested in somehow, either in the form of firewalls for your computer, arms for your hands or camouflaging your business against any snooping eyes, but the first and reasonable step is to build that wall of trust with your fellows. [3]

Pooling of resources with others is a great way to accelerate prosperity. With a, sort-of, shared economy mindset of tools and knowledge you can overcome temporary hurdles - I could invest some money in specialized tools, or borrow my Good Neighbor's and allowing me to add to the pool of resources by buying equipment we lack between us instead. Makes more sense right?

One of the largest obstacles I've encountered (that I've 'solved', using the word very loosely here) is space - Since I live in a concrete box four stories above ground, with a cramped balcony and not much space in general for what I want to grow one of my limiters is space, and it will stay that way for quite some time. Tall plants or wheat is absolutely out of the question. What I've done to resolve this issue?

I've started recruiting "Growing buddies", friends and co-workers that like to grow a little bit of stuff in their spare time, but they plant a maximum of 1-2 of each crop that I want? I just offer them some of my harvest for them to double their amount of plants. Totally doable for both parts: Basil and mint requires very little in term of space they need to grow and if I can trade some of that for something that takes up twice the space, I've won some inches. For them, watering and caring for 4 plants isn't that much more work than taking care of 2. They don't really know they are participating in the gray market and help me out with ingredients for wine or beer production in a closet.

Those few who do know what I'm doing with the raw materials gladly share some of their with me, witch means a bottle for them and 2 bottles of some good brew for me. If you get to know someone with more fruit (apples, strawberries and the like)  or honey than they can possibly use, you are in a great spot to turn some of it to beverages and share some with them as payment. See how you don't actually need space for an apple tree in your living room anymore? [4] Division of labor hard at work!

You can imagine how great pooling your resources can be if you do it with one of your Good Neighbors, especially if they have some talents that overlap yours - One of my "growing buddies" is great at sales and have a huge web of people that like organic products and for a fee she is more than willing to share her friends with me.

"A Good Neighbor is a very desirable thing" - Thomas Jefferson

- Alex Utopium, editor at You can feed him some bitcoin, if you'd like.

[1] A good article on this subject is Adam B. Summers "Your Home is Your Cottage" that does a great work explaining the specifics of the problem, from a more Rothbardian perspective.

[2] Sal wrote an excellent article on gated communities with plenty of food for thought on the physical aspect of shielding yourself from thieves and intruders of all stripes (statist or civilian).

[3] I'm still building my network, slowly, any gray marketers in Scandinavia that want to connect? My Twitter DM's are always open, or if you prefer email: utopiumstimulant @

[4] Jack Spirko is a true wizard when it comes to stuff like this, I highly recommend listening to Pete Raymond's podcast episode with him on Gray Market Anarchism, it is a real treat if you like these kinds of ideas!


Popular posts from this blog

Global Warming & Economics

Libertarians who deny the existence of global warming run the risk of making us all look like a bunch of illiterate fools.

Much like economics, being ignorant of planetology or climate science isn't a crime, but having a "loud and vociferous" opinion on the subject while remaining in a state of ignorance can be a dangerous thing. And frankly, the science behind climate change is elementary.

Sunlight enters our atmosphere and warms our planet. Earth then gives off that heat in the form of infrared radiation (this is the same principle behind those cool goggles our collapsitarian friends have). However, and this is a crucial point - the CO₂ molecules in our atmosphere do not allow IR to easily escape back into space. This is known as the greenhouse effect. As the temperature of the planet increases, polar ice caps melt and eventually surface water will begin to evaporate. Since H₂0 also prevents IR from escaping our atmosphere, the additional water vapor only compounds th…

Technological Agorism I: Digital Feudalism

We live in the age of digital feudalism.

In earlier times, peasants saw their productive capital rerouted to their feudal lords. Likewise, we modern serfs see the monetary value of our digital presence being rerouted to big tech CEOs. And just as medieval lords used this capital to maintain their elaborate manors & their status in the nobility (thru kickbacks to the monarch), these modern day lords do precisely the same. The advent of tokenization promises to change this.

Big tech has profited enormously from the digital peasantry in two ways. 
They earn money based on the popularity of user-generated content. In other words, we use FB, Twitter, & IG to view content posted not by these companies, but by the individuals who use their platforms. Big tech collects & monetizes our personal data & has been doing so for quite some time. Own Your Content The tokenization of digital content has already started the process of disrupting legacy business models. Seeing as the fir…

The Economics of BTC Maximalism

BTC maximalism is a flawed doctrine, fallacious in numerous respects. 

First, if you'd prefer to hear these arguments in audio, check out this recent episode of ABNP, where @mrpseu & I discused these same topics. 

Also, a qualifier: I'm not capable of making, defending or refuting technical arguments. I'll leave that aspect of the debate to others. My concerns with BTC maximalism are entirely economic and can be divided into four areas. 

Based on the criteria for saleability as laid out by the austrian school, BTC is not the most marketable digital commodity.A lack of portability relative to other cryptocurrencies implies BTC isn't as sound of a commodity. Value storage is a secondary function of money and cannot satisfy the use-value requirement of regression theorem. BTC maximalism lays waste to the Hayekian notion of competition as a discovery procedure. This final point was addressed in detail on episode 50 of The Agora, Crypto-Economics and thus, isn't elabor…