A social experiment occurred last week in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.
This experiment took place during the huge gathering that is the Porcupine Freedom Festival.
The Porcupine Freedom Festival (PorcFest) is the signature event hosted by the Free State Project, “an agreement among 20,000 pro-liberty activists to move to New Hampshire, where they will exert the fullest practical effort toward the creation of a society in which the maximum role of government is the protection of life, liberty, and property.”
During this week of liberty from June 22-29, I vended via an “honor store,” and I was not the only one doing so.
I noticed at least two other vendors operating the same way. One vendor was selling t-shirts, and the other sold produce. I was selling books.
All of us accepted Bitcoin.
I accepted cash payments for anyone who wished to pay using that method.
Some of the other people I shared my site with accepted cash payments on my behalf. On a couple of occasions people approached and stated they owed me money.
One morning, Ben Stone (“The Bad Quaker”) contacted me via email to say he owed me Bitcoin for a book he purchased for Jeffrey Tucker. Ben actually sent me more than he owed and an email stating, “Keep the change.”
While I admittedly did not keep a written record to fully account for all transactions, it did not appear that any of my stock went missing.
I did not get a chance to inquire with the other vendors operating honor stores about their experience, though I would presume they also had no unaccounted for merchandise. I would not dare operate an honor store in a different environment, because of the risk stolen merchandise.
I cannot officially call this a scientific experiment; there was no control group with which to compare results.
Based on my previous experiences, it is safe to presume that these results could be replicated in a scientific manner if the test subjects were able to self-identify themselves within the libertarian-quadrant (libertarian, voluntarist, anarchist, agorist) of the Nolan Chart.
I did not spend the entire week vending. I did get a chance to mingle with attendees and vendors as well as attend some of the events.
Two things stick out in my mind most: the sense of community that comes from interacting with people with similar beliefs, and the entrepreneurial spirit of the community.
There were just too many great experiences during the week to begin writing them all down. From the impromptu game nights, to meeting new friends, to the Ramadan meal given out by Muslims for Liberty (in all 313 bowls of free food were distributed), and everything in between; it truly is something you must experience to believe!