White Versus Black Markets

Agorism is built upon black markets. Most people think of black markets as seedy back alleyways where you’re just as likely to be shanked by a seller as you are to die from the drugs they peddle. Meanwhile white markets are thought of as well-lit shopping centers where everything is guaranteed to be safe by an army of government regulators. Truthfully the difference between white and black markets is the former is under the control of the State and the latter is not. Nowhere is this difference better illustrated than in Samuel Edward Konkin’s rebuttal to Rothbard’s criticism of agorism:

With the side-excursion over, we turn to Counter-Economics, admittedly the basis of agorism and the New Libertarian Strategy. Rothbard finds NLM neglecting the “white market”—yet there is one crucial point on which it is most definitely not neglected, here or in my other Counter-Economic writing. The agorist imperative is to transform the White into Black. Nothing could be clearer. To do so is to create a libertarian society. What else can a libertarian society mean in economic terms but removing market activity from the control of the State? Market activity not under control of the State is black market. Market activity under the control of the State is white market and we are against it.

To illustrate, slaves building pyramids are white market. Slaves who run away, deal on the side stones and tools they ripped off, and otherwise engage in non-slave activity are black market—and free to that extent. What should the libertarian view be toward white-market pyramid building? Or, if you think pyramids would not exist in a free society but aqueducts might, what should our new be toward aqueduct building on the white market vs. black-market water smuggling? New Libertarians urge the slaves to screw the aqueduct and go for their private buckets until such time as aqueducts can be built under voluntary arrangements. Would Rothbard suggest anything else? Gradual phasing out of aqueduct construction and hence gradual phasing out of slavery?

If anything the white market is the seedy back alleyway where government agents wait to beat you to death with baseball bats. Consider the businessman who complies with each of the State’s numerous fee generating regulations only to fail to properly file his taxes one year. Quickly he will find himself face to face with a revenuer who will make him an offer: pay the demanded tax money and you may be let off with a fine and/or some jail time otherwise the alternative is death. I’ve not heard of a single “illegal” Mexican laborer going to somebody’s home, kicking in their door, and threatening to murder them if they fail to reroof their house again after three years.

The situation quickly changes when you’re dealing with the black market though. You no longer have to company with a laundry list of regulations designed only to extract fees from your business. Since you receive no official income from black market dealings you don’t have to decide whether you are going to pay taxes or have your kneecaps broken with a man with a baseball bat and a vaguely Italian accent.

All white market activity is slave activity. Although on the surface the rules have changed with most nation states replacing chattel slavery with, what I like to call, bureaucratic slavery the outcome isn’t dissimilar. White market actors are enslaved. Like serfs from feudal times, white market actors today must pay a percentage of their gains to the State. If they fail to do so they will be kidnapped and forced to labor in a prison or outright killed if they resist. Oftentimes people will make a remark like “If you don’t like it, leave,” but even that option can be taken by the State if you fail to hand over its demanded share of your efforts.

Ultimately what separates the white market from a black market is in the latter everybody is free to transact when they want with who they want whereas the former everybody is required to transact with the State under penalty of death.

Only The State Can Sue You For Being Clever

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it is brining a lawsuit against Volkswagen:

The lawsuit is the latest chapter in the fallout since the EPA published a notice of violation in September accusing Volkswagen of installing software on many of its diesel vehicles that would stop the car’s emissions control system from working properly during normal driving, but engage the emissions control system while the car was being tested in a lab, effectively helping Volkswagen cheat air quality regulators in the US.

A press release from the EPA said that approximately 499,000 diesel cars with 2.0 liter engines were found to have defeat devices, and some 85,000 cars with 3.0 liter engines were similarly implicated. The complaint filed by the Department of Justice suggests that the software to defeat the emissions control system in 2.0 and 3.0 liter cars was slightly different, however.

According to the complaint, during federal emissions testing, 2.0 liter engines from Volkswagen “run software logic and/or calibrations that produce compliant emission results” which the car’s onboard system calls the “dyno calibration,” referring to the dynamometer that’s used during emissions testing.

What makes this lawsuit noteworthy is that it demonstrates yet another double standard between private companies and the State. Although the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) makes it illegal to bypass means of preventing the copying of data there is no such law for defeating physical systems. If, for example, you take apart your television, wristwatch, or automobile the manufacturer can void the warranty but it cannot sue you. Likewise, if you buy one of those terrible Masterlock padlocks and pick it open Masterlock cannot sue you for bypassing its system. And while Microsoft may be able to sue you for bypassing the copy protection used on the Xbox it cannot sue you for taking the physical system apart. In other words manufacturers cannot sue you for being clever with hardware.

Yet the EPA is free to sue Volkswagen for bypassing its very poorly designed system. Volkswagen didn’t bypass a means of prohibiting the copying of data as is covered by the DMCA. It wrote a piece of software to detect conditions associated with the EPA’s standardized testing system and present the system with what it expected. A more accurate way of explaining this lawsuit would be to note that Volkswagen is being sued because the EPA is too inept to design a test that’s difficult to detect. Volkwagen was clever and the State can sue you for being clever.

Obama Boosts The Agorist Gun Market

And so beings yet another period of standard capacity magazines becoming as rare as credibility in politicians. Obama has issued a series of arbitrary decrees that are likely to bolster the agorist gun market:

President Barack Obama directed federal agencies Monday to carry out a series of steps to reduce gun violence, including measures to restrict sales by unlicensed dealers — sometimes called the gun show loophole.

Regulators from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives will clarify that anyone engaged in the business of selling firearms must get a federal firearms dealers license and check the backgrounds of all buyers.

You have to appreciate a governmental system with so many checks and balances that one man can arbitrarily rewrite the rules. More importantly, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) has become much stingier about who they will issue Federal Firearm Licenses (FFL) to. If you are somebody who sells a gun every couple of years it’s unlikely the ATF will issue you an FFL and therefore your act of selling is now criminal. Don’t let that get you down though, operating in the black market is far more rewarding than operating in the white market. Not only do you get to keep all of your money since you don’t have to declare the income but your customers don’t have to deal with the hassle of filling out a Form 4473 and submitting to an instant background check. Agorist gun deals and buyers win whenever additional burden is placed on commerce.

“The goal is keeping bad actors away from firearms,” said Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

So these rules are going to keep guns out of the hands of police officers and other government agents?

ATF will also notify firearms dealers that they must file a report when guns from their inventory are lost or stolen, including those in transit. A White House statement said an average of 1,333 guns recovered from crime scenes in each of the past five years were traced back to dealers who never received them.

Another burden and another win for the agorist gun market. Who wants to make themselves a target by filling for an FFL when it carries ridiculous requirements such as constantly informing the government of the status of their inventory? It’s far better to not officially be in the business of selling guns so the ATF won’t decide to perform “random” inspections on their place of business because it suspects they haven’t been properly keeping the State informed about their inventory.

White House officials said the administration would seek funding from Congress to allow ATF to hire 200 new agents and investigators to enforce gun laws.

Excellent! There wasn’t enough agents arming Mexican drug cartels already. This should give the agency more staff so they can arm their cartel partners even faster.

There you have it, Obama is working hard to make the black market an attractive alternative to his white market. You have to appreciate a man who makes business for you at the expense of his own.

People Have Strange Fears

When police continue to kick in doors at oh dark thirty, shoot the family dogs, and desperately scour homes for hours hoping to find something illegal to justify terrorizing the occupants at an incorrect address many people seem perfectly content with the situation. In fact they continue to be apologists for the police and remind us that police are necessary (their words, not mine) for our safety.

But when a group of dip shits occupy an empty government building the previously mentioned people flip their shit. Supposedly these militia members, who haven’t even hurt anybody as far as I know, are to be feared:

Dwight Hammond, 73, and his son Steven, 46, were convicted of arson in 2012 but a court ruled their original sentences were too short.

They said they lit the fires to reduce the growth of invasive species and protect their land from wildfires.

The case has riled right-wing activists who resent government interference.

Those occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge centre in Burns say they plan to stay for years and may use violence if police try to evict them.

Apparently a court system that can extent your sentence on a whim is also not worth fearing since nobody seems to bring that fact up.

I’m not a fan of the various militia movements. Militia groups, more often than not, are statist in nature. They usually want to change the government into their particular belief of how it used to be. But I have a hard time fearing them. Very few of these groups have ever actually initiated violence. Meanwhile the State’s law enforcers initiate violence on a daily basis throughout the country. Of the two groups the latter scares me a hell of a lot more than the former.

Furthermore, I don’t understand why anybody really cares about this occupation. The building they occupied was empty and, more importantly, unowned since the State cannot legitimately own property. All they’ve done is taken ownership of an unowned building.

Yet I keep hearing people tell me I should be afraid of this militia group. I really don’t understand the fear most people have.