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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Usury 5 - Really Really Free Market

Last Sunday, there was a Really Really Free Market (RRFM) at the Post Museum. 
For more about the Singapore RRFM, click here
Everything in the market is free. As the RRFM website says, "No money. No Barter. No trade. Everything is FREE!"
The founders of Google ever said that free is best, as nobody can compete with 'free'.
Is this possible in today's materialistic society? Particularly so in highly urbanised and compact city states like Singapore. But here it is, there is a market where everything is for free! :)
The Really, Really Free Market (RRFM) movement is a non-hierarchical collective of individuals who form a temporary market based on an alternative gift economy. The RRFM movement aims to counteract capitalism in a non-reactionary way. It holds as a major goal to build a community based on sharing resources, caring for one another and improving the collective lives of all.
Participants from the SouthEast Anarchist Network (SeaNET)[2] held demonstrations using the first known Really, Really Free Market to protest the G8 summit. The first known Really, Really Free Market took place simultaneously in Miami, Florida, and Raleigh, North Carolina during the anti-globalization protests against the FTAA in 2004.[3] The idea quickly spread across the United States.
The RRFM website states the following reasons for giving things away free:
  • Because there is enough for everyone
  • Because sharing is more fufilling than owning
  • Because corporations would rather see landfills overflow than anyone get anything for free
  • Because scarcity is a myth constructed to keep us at the mercy of the economy
  • Because a sunny day outside is better than anything money can buy
  • Because "free trade" is a contradiction of terms
  • Because no one should have to do without food, shelter, entertainment, and community
  • Because life should be a picnic, but it only will be if we make it happen
Are we seeing the beginning of what will be a world where we won't need to work for money because everything we need is already provided for us for free? 
This is what philosopher and comprehensivist Buckminster Fuller sees in his World Game. Futurist Alvin Toffler envisioned that there will be more and more common "Prosumers", like open source programmers, bloggers, YouTube contributors,...etc in our societies - this may be a halfway house towards a world where we work only for passion and not for money. Read post about "Revolutionary Wealth".
RRFMs are so far fragments of free flea markets doting around the US and now has set foot in Singapore. But is giving away free sustainable in the larger scheme of the market? Or is the market any more relevant if everything is free?
Proponents of this free world thinks that technology will enable us to make things cheaper and cheaper. This is evident in the computer industry.  Some say that one day nanotechnology assemblers will produce things so cheaply that it will not be worth selling to anyone. When we reach that, then truly the whole world will be a RRFM as we will have manifested the true abundance in this eternally regenerative universe. Then, money and the monetary system that goes with it will  be obsolete.

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