Many people have never experienced an environment in which a free-market can truly exist. I, however, was lucky enough to be part of a week-long event where such an environment did exist. From June 16th – 23rd, I was in Lancaster, New Hampshire at the Free State Project’s Porcupine Freedom Festival, shortened as PorcFest. During PorcFest hundreds of people (this year saw well over 1,000 attendees) join together to meet and mingle as well as live out a freedom lovers paradise. As attendance has risen, the number of vendors at PorcFest has grown as well, thanks in part to the wider range of attendees and most importantly, the lack of government interference.
Most of the vendors in the Agora Valley section of the campground were not “legitimate” businesses in the eyes of any government and many have no store outside the PorcFest event. To the best of my knowledge, no one contracted any food-borne illnesses, even with the lack of any regulation on the food vendors. All of the transactions were voluntarily agreed upon by all parties involved.
Many transactions were barter transactions involving silver, copper, bitcoin and/or other goods for services. During the week, I had a goal of conducting as many transactions as possible using alternative currencies, and was able to conduct all but a handful of my transactions without the need for Federal Reserve Notes. From my conversations with vendors, alternative currencies were not only more widely used this year, but bitcoin was by far the most popular alternative currency of the ones being used.
The free market worked so well that anyone looking for work found a “job” at a rate normally above what would be considered “minimum wage”. Even some children looking to make a few extra dollars were successfully contracted to work, granted at lower rates that would not be allowed in the “real world.” Such voluntary and mutually beneficial contracts would be prohibited outside of PorcFest due to the regulations against such activity. This week-long festival is just one example of the free market in action!