In Growing Agorism, the Perfect is the Enemy of the Good

At FSK’s Guide to Reality, the proprietor reminds us that the perfect is the enemy of the good.

With the government’s tendrils woven throughout the economy, it’s tempting to throw up your hands and give up on trying to make personal economic choices that aren’t tainted by complicity with state coercion. But this is a cop out. Everyone is capable of making choices that expand the realm of freedom and individual responsibility and that reduce the influence and power of crooks and politicians. What’s important is to start doing it.

That said, I often find myself frustrated at FSK’s seeming lack of creativity in finding agorist solutions when they exist all around us. As Sunni writes in the comments to his post:

Right now, the agorist counter-economy is non-existent.

Perhaps for you, and perhaps in your location, but not elsewhere. I’ve been making and selling a variety of candies — mostly caramels and truffles — for a few years now. I know of others who have a more general approach, but they still consistently and actively seek out informal exchanges of goods and services rather than the licensed and taxed guy with a storefront on Main Street. Some people consider garage sales, Craigslist, and Freecycle groups part of the counter-economy.

By its very nature, “the” counter-economy is harder to see and track, but it’s there, and probably closer than one realizes. Any time a neighbor borrows a power tool instead of buying (or renting) it, or a friend helps another with his vehicle, it’s counter-economic.

It’s the way humans have done business for far longer than shops set up outside the home, with only credentialed individuals permitted to engage in certain activities — and that’s an important key to turn in others’ minds, it seems to me.

I noted some of the ways the government gets in the way of people who are trying to practice environmentally-sustainable living techniques. Here’s another example.

You can enrich the soil in your garden by composting kitchen scraps and such. Lots of people do. And it has many advantages: you send less potentially-useful organic material to be wasted at the landfill, you spend less on soil additives, you frugally regain nutrients in the food you grow yourself, and so forth. And that much is legal… probably… so far, anyway.

Some people supplement their compost piles with scraps from local restaurants — the Starbucks coffee chain, for instance, has a policy of making its used coffee grounds available to gardeners. However, in California anyway, once a single coffee ground from outside of your own kitchen hits your compost pile, you’d better have a solid waste facility permit or the State might shut you down.