I’m a person who pretty much thinks about building Freedom every waking moment. Since I know Freedom is about control over my property without interference from any unwanted party I’m sensitive to when interference happens, to say the least.
One of the rare transactions I completely enjoy is having my laundry done when I’m living in Thailand, which my wife and I do for a few months most years. I simply carry a bag of dirty laundry from my hotel room to the laundry shop across the alley. I smile at the man and woman who operate the business and say hello using my poor Thai. They smile back and answer. I leave the bag on the floor and wave goodbye.
There is no form to fill out, no deposit to be paid, no questions about where I’m staying and the room number, no liability rules plastered on the walls, nothing but two humans trading. Two people who don’t speak the same language, who come from different cultures and have as little in common as two people can have. Yet we willingly – and in fact happily – trade.
I’ve used their service for years and they don’t know my name. They use an ancient technology called Analog Facial Recognition to determine who their customers are. When I return the very next day they often see me coming down the alley and have my package of clean clothes in their arms for me. I say thanks, pay them in cash and leave, often in less than ten seconds.
But what is our contract? It’s a simple one. They will clean my clothes at the risk I will not return to pay for them and I leave my clothes at the risk they might lose them. For both of us the amounts of money at stake are very small (I never wear expensive clothes in Thailand) and we both have a perfect track record of doing what we implied we would do.
It’s an inexplicit, imperfect agreement but we are “allowed” to make it between ourselves. There is no third party insisting that extra procedures and regulations are followed by one or both of us.
I’m sure the proprietors have no idea how much satisfaction I get from the exchange. It’s my private peek at a future world where all of us can operate this way inside Contractual Republics. Of course, with better technology it would be possible to imbed certain explicit guarantees and identities into the transaction but, ideally, these would cause no intrusion into my satisfaction of placing a bag on the floor of the shop, leaving and then paying in seconds when I return.
Cleaning my laundry in Thailand is my small taste of Freedom in an unfree world and a little glimpse of a future Contractual Republic. I love Thailand.
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