My friend Ruod has been a successful and jolly civil liberties broker, until lately when he lost his job in the collapse of the freedom market, a disastrous crisis for institutions in that sector.
Due to the recent rapid inflation of prices, the cost of purchasing individual freedoms had become surprisingly, distressingly high, only payable by most people through the avenue of high-interest loans. And for a while, an ever increasing fraction of the population teetered precariously at the edge of being able to make their loan payments. Then, the whole system hit its breaking point as the growth of other economic sectors faltered; the performance of long-prosperous industries wavered, companies with ambitious plans scrambled, struggled and foundered, salaries dropped, people tumbled out of employment. Now the majority of people with these loans are defaulting, losing their financed liberties, flooding the market with a staggering glut of personal freedoms—fantastic deals with hardly any buyers. Facing an utter dearth of prospective clients as well as clienteles reneging on closing and closed deals, brokers like my friend quickly lost their livelihoods, their businesses collapsing.
And yet, as devastating as it has been, this economic upheaval seems like an unexpected and even fortuitous chance for Ruod to try his hand at interests he’s always so talkative about, like sculpting and sustainable suburban agriculture. But today as we pick oranges, I find out that he’s holding out for a market recovery that would offer him opportunities to work as a broker again.
“Basically, the government is stuck dealing with this pool of excess freedoms now,” he explains to me. “Forced to buy them up and revaluate them because no other institution can—at least not at the necessary volume to turn these abysmal conditions around.”
I nod, knowing this situation well from the news I’ve been following. He sets down the half-full bin of oranges beneath the tree we’re about to start on, then continues.
“But the government can’t use these freedoms because they’re largely personal and individual, not governmental. So they’ll probably act quickly to get these back to the populace for purchase through the surviving institutions. It would cause the government a lot of nuisance to hang on to these freedoms and redistribute them through purely governmental channels.”
“Because they’re not well equipped to handle them, right?” I say.
“Exactly. Poorly equipped, in fact. The government would have to expand its existing agencies and create a slew of new ones to deal with all the freedoms directly.”
“You really think things will work out in the near future?” I ask, plucking oranges from the low branches.
“It has to or we’re all screwed. Royally. If the freedom economy isn’t rescued, it’ll be complete chaos. I know you’re all into the co-op model, but I think that’s way too inefficient at larger scales. I have no doubt the government will do all it can to restore and improve the economy.”
“So you’re pretty much set on trying to take up that line of work again? Even though you’re sure the market will recover, that doesn’t mean you have to get back into it.”
“I’ve thought about some other possibilities,” he says, wiping sweat off his brow with his shirt sleeve. “But basically, I think it comes down to this: I’m good at what I was doing, and I loved it. Getting people connected to the liberties they need and deserve for a good price, that’s something I’m really proud of doing. I’m sorry to see the whole thing get messed up by the greedy entrepreneurs who got carried away pumping up prices to pump cash into their wallets, but I’m certain the freedom economy is one of the best systems we have for maintaining and promoting social well-being.”
I find myself nodding once again. The way he talks about it with such conviction and passion, I can’t help but hope the market can be rehabilitated by the government, despite my doubts about this particular economy’s fundamental structure.