What is a free market? To answer this question we must first examine what trade is. Trade is, at its core, the exchange of one good for another. In order for the exchange to take place at all both parties need to benefit from it somehow. In theory, a free market should therefore benefit everyone participating in it. In a market, different goods compete in both price and quality to best suit the buyers needs while still creating a profit for the seller. There’s really nothing more to it than that. Human minds, however, have traits less admirable than desires to participate in mutually beneficial relationships. Envy, for instance, plays a large role in how we view other peoples interactions and, in turn, how we interact with each other. A desire for equality, however you might define the term, seems to be something we’re all born with. Many seem to think that their standards of living can only be measured in terms of how they differ from the standards of other people, in other words in relative terms. If you look at standards of living over time instead, almost everyone on the planet is enjoying a higher standard than their parents or, even more certainly, their grandparents did. This makes us biased. There’s an estimate stating that some eighty people own half of the earth’s resources but there’s little evidence to suggest that the other seven billion of us are fairing ill because of this. In fact, the opposite is more in line with reality. Globalization has made a select few extremely wealthy but at the same time it has also almost completely eradicated poverty from the face of the earth.
Since the invention of money, arguably mankind’s first invention, trade has become easier and easier over time. Before money a mutual coincidence of needs was required for a trade to take place. Money though, has never been a fair game. Counterfeiting is a sneaky thing, and a much bigger issue than most people realize. Most central banks aim to keep inflation levels between 2 and 3 percent to incentivize spending and make citizens work and do stuff. Unfortunately, people doing stuff is also slowly destroying the planet. Here’s what most people don’t realize though, inflation is counterfeiting and counterfeiting is theft. The U.S. dollar has lost more than half its purchasing power in the last 30 years. In other words, someone stole half of the total number of U.S. dollars in circulation across the globe. The same or worse goes for every other fiat currency there is. If you think that this is just a hidden tax and that the money has been distributed fairly across population you’re probably very naive. Inflation is an unfair, dishonest and sneaky way of stealing at best. This should be blatantly obvious to everyone but unfortunately, it’s not. To Satoshi Nakamoto though, it was and it made him act accordingly.
For the first time since barter we can now have a fair free market. A real free market if you will. A free market in which you get to keep the fruits of your labour instead of having to trade it away as soon as possible or watch it rot and lose its value. A free market between people, without sneaky middlemen who take a cut or governments who claim they’re always entitled to a piece of the pie in order to protect you. The necessity of social security and infrastructure can be debated but after Pandora’s box was opened and Bitcoin popped out people now have a way to secure their children’s future themselves. To those of us more suspicious of large institutions in general this was a long awaited gift. The future may play out in many different ways but you can, at least to a certain degree, choose what sort of future you want to be a part of. You can stay in the systems you born into or gradually opt out of them and into whatever parallel reality you find most alluring. Make sure you choose carefully and make sure you follow a path in line with your morals and what you believe will change the world for the better at the deepest level. For those of us who believe in individuality as a necessity for collectivism the choice is easy.