I recently learned there’s a new movement sweeping the country – the free market. Chances are good there’s a “really, really” free market in your neighborhood too.
I’ve long supported alternative economies – barters, cultural exchanges, i.o.u.s. Why depend on cash when we possess so many other carriers of value?
So, I’ll admit I was a bit flummoxed when I showed up at the Naples free market on this most recent first Saturday of the month to discover everything was really, really, free. No barter, no trades. The kind of hippy dippy drivel that makes for a stellar term paper and a nervous parent.
Colorful blankets and hand painted signs spread along the perimeter of a quiet baseball field. Craft projects and piles of Made in China goods (funny word, that is). A woman translated gardening advice from Spanish to English and back. A board offered a place to post resources another opportunities – I might participate in an art project featuring male facial hair.
Nevertheless, there was nothing here I really wanted and I found myself wondering whether it was more privileged to reject an offer of no value or to make one? To skim from my excess or not appreciate another’s.
Of course the real value here is serendipitous conversation, open interaction, and the elimination of presumed social hierarchies.
Good things to remember I think regardless of whether the market is free or really, really free.