Agorism Alive and Well

For those who are unaware agorism is a counter economic system that strives to make an flourishing underground economy. That is to say it strives to make an economy free of government interference. Whenever you do work for a friend in exchange for cash and don’t report that income to the government you’re practicing a form of agorism. As the world economy falls further and further into the pit of failure agorism seems to be becoming more prevalent:

The United States continues to suffer from mass unemployment. People have had to adjust their lifestyles to the new reality—fewer jobs, lower wages, mortgages to pay that are now more than their homes are worth. Millions have dropped out of the job hunt and are trying to find other ways to sustain their families.

That’s where the underground economy comes in. Also called the shadow or informal economy, it’s not just illegal activity like selling drugs or doing sex work. It’s all sorts of work that doesn’t get regulated by the government or reported to the IRS, and it’s a far bigger part of the economy than most of us are aware—in 2009, economics professor Friedrich Schneider estimated that it was nearly 8 percent of the US GDP, somewhere around $1 trillion. (That makes the shadow GDP bigger than the entire GDP of Turkey or Austria.) Schneider doesn’t include illegal activities in his count– he studies legal production of goods and services that are outside of tax and labor laws. And that shadow economy is growing as regular jobs continue to be hard to come by—Schneider estimated 5 percent in ’09 alone.

So the underground economy in the United States alone is estimated to be roughly eight percent of our gross domestic product (GDP). That’s rather impressive, especially when you consider the fact that that statistic doesn’t including illegal activities but only activities that are legal in all ways except their complete ignoring of tax and labor laws.

I personally am in complete support of the agorist movement as I find the very concept of government involvement in the economy detestable. While the government and statists views agorism as theft I view it as a peaceful means of telling the government where they can stick their market interference, wars, and other activities they fund with money obtained through taxation. But as I said the government and statists view it as a form of theft which can be seen by how they refer to the underground economy:

Economist Edgar Feige estimated in 2009 that unreported economic activity was costing the US government $600 billion in tax revenues, and the growth in that number—from the Internal Revenue Service’s 2001 estimate of $345 billion—indicates the growth of the informal economy. Reporting on Feige’s work, Dennis Chaptman noted, “As the recession deepens and regular employment opportunities decline, unreported activities tend to grow, thereby swelling the tax gap and worsening the government’s budget deficit.”

Notice the wording, “costing the US government $600 billion in tax revenues.” Statistis view the product of all labor as property of the government as evident by the fact they consider taxation a form of revenue. Using this line of thinking you would be robbing the government of tax revenues if you took a pay cut that caused you to pay less income tax.

The product of your labor is not the property of the government, it’s your property. If you do not report your income to the government you’re not robbing them of revenue as the money they would have obtained from taxing your income was never rightfully theirs in the first place. Something can not be considered revenue if it would have never been rightfully yours in the first place.

Another way of thinking about this is through the example of a mugger. Let’s say a mugger robbed 10 people one year and obtained $100.00 from each of his victims for a total of $1,000.00. Now let’s say, due to these muggings, eight of the mugger’s victims went out and obtained a firearm and a carry permit. The following year the mugger attempts to rob the same 10 victims for the same amount but is only able to successfully mug two of them as the other eight pulled a gun on him and he ran off. As the mugger was only able to mug two victims for $100.00 each his take for the year was $200.00. Would you say that he suffered a $800.00 loss in revenue? Most people I know would not but that’s exactly what the government and statists are claiming.

Personally I’m glad to see the underground economy growing at such a rapid rate. Government interference in the free market is what originally lead to our economic woes and their attempts to lessen or shorten this depression have only caused it to linger longer and become more severe. Why should the government receive a cut of our labor if they are the reason we as a country are becoming less prosperous every day? Would you continue to pay an employee who continued to cost you money through his actions? No, you would fire that idiot and try to find somebody competent to replace him. Let us fire the government from our economy and instead move towards more underground activity where all transactions are voluntary and each participant gets to keep the entire product of their labor.