Oct 312007

Speaking of using gold coins, you might be wondering where you can safely purchase some, whether you’re looking for collectibles, investments, or security should the dollar fail as many predict. I’ve written about Monex before in my Applied Anarchy series, but today I want to present you Monaco Rare Coin.

Monaco is active in all aspects of the rare coin business, covering the wholesale, collector and international markets and auctions. With over 40 years in the industry, the experts at Monaco can not only identify opportunities in the rare coin market that others may miss, but also have the connections, expertise and capital required to take advantage of opportunities that smaller dealers aren’t equipped to handle. But the reason they’ve been able to last for 40 years is because they’re willing to use their expertise to your advantage, not just their own.

Oct 312007
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Pull a dollar bill out of your wallet and take a close look at it. What is it worth? $1? Why? After all, it’s simply a piece of paper (cloth for the finicky out there). You only believe it’s worth $1 because the government insists that it is worth $1 and you have faith in the government. More importantly, the people and businesses where you hope to spend that $1 have faith in the government. So, what do anarchists do about money? Excellent question.

According to Greg Goebel’s A Short History Of Money, the first paper money was introduced by Kublai Khan in 13th Century China. It only lasted about 150 years. The fact is, mankind has survived (and performed commerce) for the vast majority of its history without government money at all. Returning to Goebel’s article we learn,

Pacific islanders used cowrie shells; Aztecs used cacao beans, the main ingredient of chocolate, though it seems a bit unlikely that this was the origin of the modern term of “bean-counter” for an accountant; livestock was common among herding cultures; slaves were sometimes used, too, but they were much harder to control than cattle and so not as popular; and many cultures used salt, including the Romans for a time, leading to the modern term “salary”. Incidentally, after World War II cigarettes were used as a medium of exchange in many countries then in very poor condition, and it is said that in Italy “penny candy” was commonly used as “small change” even into the 1970s.

Most likely modern man would return to using silver and gold as the primary medium of exchange. In order to avoid the need to carry large sums of coins, private companies (read: banks) would likely issue paper money for day to day transactions. The value of these paper notes would vary based on the amount of faith the interested parties had in the issuing organization.

Personally, I’ve started collecting actual silver coins and bars from eBay. I decided to go primarily with silver U.S. coins for two reasons: 1) I can’t afford gold, and 2) the percentage and weight of silver in U.S. coins is fairly well established and widely recognized. Of course, I then read a post at FSK’s Guide To Reality called Protect Your Gold and Silver Coins, and now I’m a bit more concerned. FSK addresses the very genuine concern of precious metal coins becoming worn (and thus devalued) through repeated exchanges. Fortunately, he also proposes some simple and practical solutions for these very problems. I suggest you read his post, it’s both short and to the point (unlike most of my posts 😉 ).

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Oct 312007

Many small business owners skip some of the best known business magazines and newspapers, thinking they’re only for ‘the big boys’. If you’re included in this category, then you’re about to become very happy that you don’t skip Philaahzophy because both the Wall Street Journal and Inc. Magazine have recently run articles on Ryon Gambill (nominated as Inc.’s Entrpeneur of the Year) and his amazing Bill Collector In A Box Website.

This is, hands down, the first piece of software any small business owner should be purchasing. After all, the most frustrating aspect of any small business is outstanding debts and lost or late payments. In the past, small business people have had to weigh the expense of hiring an outside collection agency (or even an attorney) against the lost revenue itself. Worry no more! Bill Collector In A Box makes it not only affordable, but actually simple to handle all of your collection needs in house. Here’s just one example from their latest newsletter-

Clients that regularly report late accounts to the bureaus receive payments regularly with little or no effort and only spent $5 to do it! If you report twenty $500 accounts to the bureaus and 2 pay, that is a return on investment of 10x. It works when used consistently..our users have proven it.

But that’s not all it can do. Check out these other amazing features-

  • Keep all of your customers in one place, allowing you to manage contacts to ensure payment and print reports to track progress.
  • Skip tracing to locate debtors who have moved without paying.
  • Report bad checks to Shared Check Authorization Network (SCAN), the same bad check service used by such companies as Wal-Mart, Barnes & Noble, Neiman Marcus, and U-Haul international.
  • Process credit card and ACH payments without any additional equipment needed.
  • A new “Refer-A-Friend” program that rewards you for turning fellow business owners on to Bill Collector In A Box.

What else could you possibly want from a collections department of your own?

Oct 312007

Two years ago was the first real Christmas I spent with Z. She’d only been back in my life for a few months and we were all still feeling our way through the new ‘family’, but I really wanted to make an impact and had very little concept of what to get a 9 year old girl for Christmas. I’ve never been one to follow ‘lists’ as I’m much more of the spontaneous type of gift giver than one to be slave to a calendar. Hence my general distaste for holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Anyway…

I ended up dropping something like $400 on a (then) just released 60G video iPod. All of the other adults in her life thought I was nuts, but she still uses it regularly two years later, so I’m guessing I did pretty well. My major concern wasn’t so much whether she’d lose or damage it (after all, that would be a lesson learned), but that her mother would “steal” it from her. You see, her mom’s a music junkie (yet another area we’re polar opposites) and I was pretty sure the iPod would end up being used more by my X then by my daughter. So I worked out the only solution I could: I dropped another $150 buying her mother a used fourth generation iPod on eBay! It worked, for the most part. But it didn’t take long for me to get iPod envy. Despite my general lack of music listening, the world of podcasts amazed me and I wanted to take part. Almost two years later I finally have a 20G iPod of my own – and this one only cost me $20.

How did I pull that off? Well, it was much easier than you might think.

I managed to get my paws on a broken iPod. It wouldn’t charge, wasn’t recognized by the computer or iTunes, and would only display either the Apple logo or the ‘sad’ iPod icon. So I did a little research and took a shot with buying a replacement battery from iPod Battery Depot. I figured if it didn’t work I’d still have a spare battery for Z’s iPod if she needed one in the future. Well, obviously, it worked. It did take a little babying, three or four restore operations, and a complete rechargethrough a borrowed wall charger, but now it’s working great!

So, if you’ve been craving some iPod goodness of your own just ask around and see if any associates have a ‘dead’ iPod they’d be willing to donate to you, then find yourself an online replacement battery shop and take a little risk. Now if I could only get Z off the bubblegum pop “music” that so many 11 year old girls love…

Oct 312007
Part of the Applied Anarchy Series - Previous in series         Next in series

Avoiding government entanglements in our personal lives is all well and good, but doesn’t do much to “spread the word” about the true freedom that anarchy brings. Talking to your friends and family about the fallacy of government often leads to derision (at best). So what, you may wonder, can you do as an individual to help bring the world we live in closer to the free world we, as anarchists, envision? By supporting our fellow anarchists and believers in freedom whenever possible. Here’s a few tips to get you started-

  • Join the Free State Project – I’ve said it before and I’ll surely say it again, but the Free State Project is clearly the best chance Americans have of achieving Liberty In our Lifetime. Although not an anarchist organization, it is a practical one and has already made an impact for freedom.
  • Read Anarchist Authors – As a result of coming to anarchy ‘naturally’ from a basic logical standpoint I’ve never been one to read a lot of anarchist texts (though that’s starting to change) and that’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about making note of what products or services your fellow freedom lovers provide and supporting them with your hard-earned dollars. For example, I first heard about author F. Paul Wilson and his Repairman Jack character on Free Talk Live. Since then I’ve been devouring his mainstream novels about a very non-mainstream hero. And these are the only books that I insist on buying new copies of instead of going to the used book store. We need these types of books to climb the charts and end up in more people’s hands.
  • Support Anarchist Media – Nationally Syndicated radio shows like Free Talk Live are few and far between. Freedom oriented media of this quality is even more rare. If you don’t already listen to FTL then I couldn’t recommend them more highly. If they aren’t on your local talk station then give the local program manager a call and ask them to carry it. If you already have a local affiliate call and thank them. Again, FTL isn’t, technically, an anarchist show, but Ian is clearly an anarchist (despite his eschewing the term in favor of Free Marketeer).
  • Avoid Corporate Welfare Recipients – Y’all should be familiar with my anti-corporate shopping stance by now, but that’s truly just a matter of personal choice. As an anarchist (free marketeer, libertarian, whatever), one of the best things you can do to slow the $150 Billion corporate subsidies handed out each year is to stop supporting the companies that suck off this government teat. They’re already benefiting directly from the theft of your labor, why would you want to give them even more of your cash? If you spotted your car on the street a week after it was stolen from you would you use your spare keys to reclaim it or to fill the tank with gas?
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