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Should You Deal on the Black Market?

Written by Subject: Economy - Economics USA
Question: what would you call a producer of goods and services (at oligopoly prices and of dubious quality) that others were prohibited from selling, that is constantly engaging in turf wars with the few other producers, that uses violence as a first resort for settling disputes, and treats the consumer as sub-human?
Answer 1: government
Answer 2: the black market

Government and the black market are inextricably linked – symbiotic.  By definition, the black market cannot exist in absence of government.  Conversely, government shenanigans would be tolerated for milliseconds in the absence of the black market.

No reasonable person expects a square deal from government, or the black market.  The preferred terms are cash and carry; prepaids and upfront fees are money lost.  There's no refund if you don't like the quality of a black market CD or government trash collection.

Unless you happen to be a big fish (whale, actually) there's no access to dispute resolution.  The average player cannot have his case heard in a government court, and neither the government nor a black market operator will grace an arbitration table.  The average person's options are limited to acceptance or violence.

Like their government counterparts, black market operators compete for turf and market share not in cost or quality, but by war with other competitors.  They lobby politicians, just like their unionist and mercantilist brethren in the red market, for stronger protectionist measures.

It is strange, then, that the black market should ever be confused with a free market, especially by those who would never make the same mistake when describing the red market.

Some may distinguish between government and the black market in that occasionally the black market does good things: feeding populations starved by government controls, providing needed currency to areas awash in fiat money, etc.  However, it must be noted that areas adequately served by the black market are more disposed to suffer the government tyranny that gives rise to the black market.

If bread, meat, and fuel were not available on the Harare black market, do you suppose Robert Mugabe would still be alive today?

Contrary to the popular supposition, the black market does not act in opposition to government, it supports government.  They are, to reiterate, symbiotic.

Thus, it is also strange that the agorist ideas of Samuel E. Konkin are often disputed by noting the presence of a black market.  The underlying agorist principle is not dealing in prohibited items, per se, but discrimination in who you deal with, and how you structure your dealings.

One need not subscribe to left libertarian ideas to recognize that dealing with bad actors, whether in the dark alleys of the city or dark alleys of government, is tantamount to validation and reward of the bad acting.  Every deal you make for a cheap knockoff purse or a cut of your neighbor's paycheck strengthens the black market and government by just that much.

Agorism does not condemn a man for dealing with government or the black and red markets, as long as he does so with the conscious knowledge that he is supporting government tyranny and despotism.  Agorism certainly does not suggest that a man be self-sufficient, as self-sufficiency is another name for poverty.

Rather, agorism advises a rigorous engagement in counter-economics.  Be a producer in the area of your comparative advantage and make your dealings, to the extent possible, with those who share your beliefs and values.  If you care about the environment, you should deal with environmentally conscious people and firms.  If you care about voluntary cooperation, you should deal with others who reject violent means and violent dispute resolution.

If you want big, tyrannical government then, by all means, make your deals on the black market.

1 Comments in Response to

Comment by Morpheus Titania
Entered on:

AH yes the government is the Black market or at least they encourage it.  The word  "Government" is synonymous with word "MAFIA" 

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