Why There is So Much Free and Cheap Stuff

Today I was given a free mountain bike because a friend had bought a new one, and generously offered me his old bike. This got me thinking about how much wealth is floating around in societies with economies on the freer side.

An old roommate and I were once given an entire set of ceramic dishware by his girlfriend’s parents when they bought new dishes. This replaced our plastic dishware, which had also been given to us. We cooked with a set of pots and pans that cost $10 at a yard sale, even though the copper bottoms were surely alone worth more than that.

I tell you this not to brag about all the free stuff I get, but to point out that my standard of living rose because other people increased their own standard of living. In this relatively free market there are mountains of excess; just think how much there would be to go around in a truly free market.

A thrift store down the road sells used books for $.59 per paperback and $1 per hardcover. I bought a 1,500 page hardcover John Hopkins Family Health Book which details countless diseases, symptoms, and treatments for $1. I bought my nieces and nephews some books as well, and I bought myself a $1 sheet that I cut up to use for a toga party. Not only were all these used goods ridiculously cheap, but the money I spent went towards funding an orphanage!

Yard sales have provided countless tools which I use for mini-farming, as well as chicken wire, gates, and reclaimed wood. Yesterday I bought used books on amazon for as little as $.01.

Someday, we will live in a free enough world so that no one goes without. Just think, today essentially everyone on earth has access to more information in their palm than anyone had in an entire library just 40 years ago. Poor people in America are fat. Macklemore looks incredible wearing your granddad’s clothes that he only spent $20 on.

All we have to do is let people be free to sell, buy, and create, and there will be excess enough for all. But the problem is that many people would rather see others have less than everyone have more.

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