There’s No Crying in Agorism

Proponents of liberty have always sought ways of reducing government’s size and scope. One of the best ways to go about this, and at the same time build a society that isn’t reliant on the current corrupted system, is agorism, or purposely doing business in a grey or black market environment. This is done in order to withhold money from government without having to wait for tax cuts to be enacted, which is slow and inefficient at best and nothing but a dream at worst.

Unfortunately, some people seem to be under the impression that agorism is a walk in the park. I’ve heard numerous complaints from people whose expectations of the agorist vendor experience haven’t been met. Well, I’m here to offer a dose of reality on what to expect as an agorist business, and set the record straight on some bizarre misconceptions.

Libertarians are supposed to believe in the free market

It pains me to have to say this to libertarians, but market forces exist. Economics applies. There’s supply and demand, competition, market prices, and all kinds of other factors that determine how well a business fares. You aren’t entitled to a reality-free bubble as soon as you declare your business ventures to be in the name of liberty. You still have to provide a quality product that customers demand at a price they will pay. Most importantly, you have to hustle for your business. And, most likely, you will fail several times on your road to success. Entrepreneurial failure is a feature, not a bug, of the free market.

If anything, running a business in an agorist environment, at least when it’s still small-scale, should be much easier. No taxes, government regulations, employment and wage restrictions, etc. A government-free environment should make making money a piece of cake. Isn’t that kind of the whole point of liberty?

Anything activist should be expected to be harder, not easier

At the same time, while in some ways the agorist approach makes business easier, in others it’s harder. In order to stay under the radar and avoid being shut down, businesses need to keep their operations small-scale, or else take great care in how they scale. If agorism was always as productive as going through official channels, then everyone would be doing it. It’s activism because it seeks to change the world for the better by fighting against the status quo. In order to be successful, then, an agorist operation needs an extra boost of energy. This means that, in addition to all the work required to make a regular business viable, in all likelihood an agorist business will require even more.

Now, sometimes you have a helpful community. Sometimes you have friends and colleagues ready to ease the burden of operating a non-traditional business. Sometimes people do your own hard work for you. Sometimes. Don’t count on it, though. All that extra hustle is your responsibility. Do you need more word of mouth to get customers since you can’t openly advertise? Better have your own mouth work overtime cranking out those words to potential customers, then. If you wait for others to do it for you, you’ll probably fail.

We’re trying to upset the current economic order. It’s not supposed to be easy. Making a living already requires effort. Entrepreneurship is even harder. Trying to run your own business in a counter-economic way is more difficult still. Not everyone’s cut out for it. You can try, fail, make adjustments, try again, and keep trying until you succeed. You can decide it’s not for you and stick to a regular job. You can try agorism, fail, realize that the effort required to succeed isn’t something that’s worth it to you, and stop trying. Whatever path you choose, though, complaining is neither warranted nor useful. There’s no crying in agorism.

Joël Valenzuela
Joël Valenzuela
Joël Valenzuela is the editor of The Desert Lynx. He is also the founder of the Rights Brigade, a mover for the Free State Project, and a martial art instructor.