Posted: August 31st, 2013 by Militant Libertarian
by Paul Rosenberg, FreemansPerspective.com
Regardless, it is here. It has been building for some time and it is ready to break out. And it will break out as soon as enough of us start acting in support of the golden age, rather than accepting its delay.
Yes, I know that it doesn’t remotely seem like a golden age is here. We have overwhelming bills, we are working more hours than we can really handle, and we are stressed to the point of illness. Please place this thought aside for a moment; I will explain it below. Before that, I want to give you an idea of what the golden age will be like. It is important for us to look ahead, so we can see where we are going and to make some sense of the current situation.
As I worked on this issue, an old passage from the book of Isaiah kept leaping to mind; it beautifully describes the arrival of a golden age. Here’s the part that relates to us now:
Go through the gates, prepare the way of the people. Cast up, cast up a highway, gather out the stones, lift up a standard for the people.
Regardless of who Isaiah had in mind, this is an excellent summation of what we must do to set our golden age free. So, let’s step outside of the gates – outside of the city – outside of the televised script – and take a fresh look at what lies before us.
The Great Boom
What lies before us is an economic boom beyond anything we’ve ever experienced. Please understand, this is not the usual idealistic scenario of happy miracles leaping up once we all start living the “right way.” Everything below is based upon factors that already exist.
This is not “could be.” This is “already here and needs to be released.”
The following list is based upon a very clean scenario: the failure of existing economic and ruling structures in the West, followed by individuals reorganizing on their own. In real life, the changeover will be an uglier process than is depicted here, but it is important to start with as clear a set of images as possible. It’s hard enough to depict the future, without making it complicated.
So, the great boom begins with a collapse of existing systems, similar to the end of Soviet domination in Eastern Europe. Once released, we would begin to encounter these things:
- An immediate and massive increase in prosperity. There will be no income taxes, property taxes, sales taxes, payroll taxes, gasoline taxes or the like. People will spend this ‘extra’ money on other things. A few will blow their new money at racetracks and casinos, but most of them will buy things of more enduring value and invest in promising businesses. Some percentage of this money will have to be spent on physical and fire protection – however newly organized – but that amount will be an order of magnitude lower than what people paid within the old structures.
- Massive growth in the gas and oil businesses. With no one forbidding them, people will begin extracting oil, and especially gas, from lands they own. This will not only create jobs in drilling, but in pipeline construction, liquefaction terminals, trucking, and dozens of specialties. There are thousands of trillions of cubic meters of natural gas all across North America, Europe and elsewhere, and most of it can be safely and reliably extracted using a technology called “fracking.” (It involves horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, at depths of two miles or so.) And this is not the only new hydrocarbon technology.
This energy boom will affect far more than just oil and gas; it will make nearly every other product cheaper and therefore more abundant. In addition, it will deprive many of the world’s biggest trouble-makers of easy money from gas and oil. All those billions of petrol-dollars will be transferred to the hands of individuals and private businesses… who have a long track record of behaving much, much better than oil-rich dictators.
- New security and commercial adaptations. All sorts of new services and businesses will emerge. One early group will be replacements for the security services formerly monopolized by the state. It will be a time of multiplied options. Some will fail and some will succeed, but the world will become much more interesting. Millions of self-organizers will be set free from office cubicles and corporate manuals. Instead of taking orders in very narrow fields of action, their minds will be free to create… and they will create.
- Many more, and better, industry associations. Once there is no more state to punish rogue businesses, the responsible people in most industries will organize themselves and create industry associations. These associations will effectively police their own trades and will tend to develop their businesses. They will certainly be better at this than uninformed politicians a thousand kilometers away.
- Unregulated professions provide more and cheaper services. Why can’t a dental assistant with twenty years of experience replace your filling? Why can’t a reliable person drive you around for a fee? In the golden age, these will not be questions that people have to ask. Such things (and many more) are now forbidden by professional regulation laws. This has especially hurt the lower end of the economic scale. The dentist has to go through many years of expensive training to be able to work. Merely to pay back his loans requires him to charge high fees. That cuts out the low end. (The same goes for lawyers, doctors, etc.)
If you need crucial services, you will always have to pay the higher rates, but the man who merely needs a filling replaced shouldn’t be forced to pay for a dental surgeon. And the dental surgeon should be able to work his way through school by filling cavities. These changes will not only provide better value, but will open good jobs to many more people. Those who go on to the tops of their fields will still be well-paid and reputation agencies will form to provide the necessary assurances of safety.
- Marginal operations will become viable. Martial arts schools, storefront churches, small restaurants and many other businesses that can’t usually make it now, will become viable. This is doubly important because these are the types of businesses that are undertaken for love of the work, and which tend to enrich people’s lives. Our lives will be enhanced in unexpected ways.
- Maximization is no longer necessary. Once a basketful of reporting, taxation and regulatory impositions are gone, businesses will not have to discard marginally profitable products or services. The two-day-per-week mechanic can work in a corner of the parking garage, the retired accountant can work a couple of mornings per week for old clients, and so on. If you and the customer agree, you can do it.
- Self-help and charitable organizations spring up. Once state charity is gone and productive people effectively double their incomes, they will become more charitable. When it is not coerced, people feel good about giving, creating a double benefit and a virtuous cycle. The new arrangements will be far more effective than the old institutions. The people who run charities will be set free to adapt, improvise and to make informal arrangements that help people.
- Private vendors are free to sell whatever they like. There will be far more products, available in far more places. No one will be forbidding. This provides housewives a chance to sell pastries, teenagers to deliver packages, and damaged people (mentally retarded, crippled, etc.) a chance to work and make money however they are able.
- The War on Drugs vanishes, and rich monsters with it. A very well informed friend of mine says this: One hundred years ago heroin and cocaine were legal, and there was about a 1.5% addiction rate. Now, they are illegal and there’s about a 1.5% addiction rate. I believe him to be correct. In the meanwhile, honest people have been driven out of the trade, prices have skyrocketed, thousands of monstrous criminals have become obscenely rich, massive fortunes have been wasted, and millions of non-violent drug users have had their lives ruined in prisons. When drug prohibition ends, many kinds of abuses will end with it.
- Insurance and bonds. Insurance companies will find broad new areas of demand. Reputation merchants and bondsmen will become important new businesses; escrow agents as well.
- Schooling will be radically changed. Good schoolteachers will find people competing for their services; bad ones will have to move along. There will be lots of work for tutors.
- The return of the middle class. The new economic options will be mostly small. This will give medium income people multiplied opportunities to make money. Also, their financial burdens, relative to others, will be reduced. They will experience greater release and improvement, resulting in a new type of productive middle class.
- The return of fine craftsmanship. Many people will fear for the worst as building codes are no longer enforced. What actually happens will be mostly the opposite. In the current environment, people specify the legal minimum as a default. Once that begins to change, quality workmanship will increase. (If you examine buildings constructed before enforced standards overwhelmed the market, you’ll find excellent workmanship.)
- Barnstorming and dinner clubs return. There were quite a few unique activities that went away because of regulations, among them amateur aviation and dinner clubs. Barnstorming vanished by about 1935 and dinner clubs by 1960, both the victims of regulators. There are many other cases like these. Old pursuits will return.
Not all will be sweetness and light, however. There will be problems. These problems will be minor compared to the overall benefit, and fairly easily solved, but they will show up.
The first problem area is replacements for “old system” services: roads, firemen, policing. The hardest of these, surprisingly, will be roads. The solution involves nothing more than finding a way to pay the same people who fix the roads now (who will be glad for the work and won’t have to bribe politicians), but people will probably ignore the problem until the roads start to fall apart. Then, in desperation, they’ll cooperate and get them fixed. Insurance companies will probably handle the fire department reorganization. There is plenty of private police protection already, so this will barely be a problem. Projections suggest $30 per month, per house or business, as a base cost level. That’s not much, especially considering that taxes and enforced fees will be absent.
Long-standing problems pertaining to waterways and pollution will remain, but should be no worse under the new arrangements than under the old. The common law, which will endure, dealt with such issues back to medieval times and will continue to do so.
Epidemics sound like a scary problem, but, modern medicine being what it is, this is unlikely. Problems may emerge in a few scattered places and times, but they will exist mostly in the fear-based media.
Mafia groups and street gangs will remain a problem, but less so: there will be no easy profits from drugs and no protection to buy from politicians.
The abandoned elderly, the insane and other sad cases have always been with us, and will continue to be. Charity will increase and these problems will be handled better than they are now, but we should expect a few tragic stories. They, too, are part of the human experience.
Probably the biggest problem will be future shock. Like people emerging from darkened caves into the sun, it will take time for many of us to adjust. Taking responsibility for your own destiny can be frightening. We may have to face the reality of genetic engineering and perhaps near-immortality. There will be great nostalgia for being held in place as part of a larger entity.
In short, we’ll be forced to grow up, and that can be terrifying.
But wouldn’t the results be worth it?
[Editor’s Note: This article is an excerpt from Freeman’s Perspective Issue #17: The Great Golden Age Is Here… Waiting For Us to Grasp It. If you liked what you read, consider taking a risk-free test drive. Not only will you gain immediate access to the rest of this issue (which includes the single greatest force holding us back from living this “Great Boom”), but you’ll also be able to enjoy the entire archive – more than 540 pages of research on topics of importance and inspiration to those looking for freedom in an unfree world. Plus valuable bonus reports and all new issues, as well. Click here to learn more.]
By Paul Rosenberg, FreemansPerspective.com