no third solution

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An Ode to the Black Market

February 15th, 2006

With enough money and pull, you can probably obtain a Playboy even in Iran. It’s easier for most American teenagers to get a dime-bag of pot than it is to get a six-pack of beer. I’ve heard stories (no doubt, some were exaggerations) of what the former Soviets would willingly exchange for the latest American rock album, or Levi’s Jeans. ad nauseum.

Black Markets exist everywhere that Free Markets are prohibited by legislation. This alone suggests the resiliency of markets, that co-operation and desire for mutual benefit cannot easily be slain. Recognize that the voluntary, or Black market, has existed probably as long as we’ve had legislation that would prefer to (and often does) put the proverbial wrench in the conveyor belt. Even in light of the staggering amount of legislation, restriction, impediment or other constructs of homo legislati, can you find at least, the most basic workings of people struggling to exist and intercourse freely.

Every oppressive regime that attempts to make the market its bitch has realized that the she does not “go gently into that good night,” and meets oppression at every turn with the ruthless determination of men and women who know infinitely more about their desires and how to satisfy them than any bureaucrat, anywhere, ever.

The truly amazing matter in all of this is not the repeated successes of the market throughout the centuries, but rather that there still exists any significant opposition to freedom.


Later: The “Crazy Roger and the Conveyor Belt” story.



  • Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden says on: February 16, 2006 at 11:54 am


    02 16 06

    Now THAT is an interesting perspective! Ha! OK here is one I have been wanting to ask all economists: Do you think that prostitution is REALLY the oldest profession? If so, how does that relate to thoughts about the Black market? I wonder if prostitution occured first and THEN we tried to legislate morality or the other way around….Just my mind taking it to the gutter. Ha Excellent post and loved the gently …night quote-just a shot of elegance;)

  • philosophile says on: February 16, 2006 at 9:16 pm


    The UN had a treaty that banned the international trade of ivory. Pursuant to the passage of this treaty in most westernized countries, the price of ivory increased dramatically over the black market and elephants were killed in record numbers. Government intervention raises the hand of coercive economic forces.

    I’m a fellow bureaucrasher and saw the link on the site. I felt sufficiently inspired to make a blog of my own that might catch your interest occassionally:

  • Lab_FROG says on: February 17, 2006 at 4:01 pm


    An economics professor at MSU that Frog knows of has written a paper on the efficiency of black markets,

  • doinkicarus says on: February 21, 2006 at 11:36 am


    thanks for the paper Frog, I’ll take a gander at it. I’m interested in studying the effects of black markets, taxes & incentives, so it might come in handy for me.

  • Closet Door Dissident says on: February 21, 2006 at 3:57 pm


    Way to point out that governments are NOT all powerful, and wherever free markets are prohibited, black markets will prevail. Now let’s raise a toast of wine imported from cuba, served next to imported baluga…. this one’s for all the bacon eaters of Iran.

no third solution

Blogging about liberty, anarchy, economics and politics