For many people, the word Libertarian has negative connotations. Historically, libertarians have been the type of people in America who want to invent their own nations or religions and free themselves and like minded individuals from the shackles of government. Needless to say, in its worst form, Libertarianism has espoused rampant polygamy, racism and a brutally classiest worldview. Because libertarianism basically amounts to retaining individual freedom without government interference (that pesky issue of taxes, for instance), it can take on just about any non-conformist vision. Thus, the more virtuous aspects of the ism have drawn less attention, being less sensational.
In our digital, Internet driven society, in an age where folks are beginning to suspect that 21st century democracy is act pretty flawed, a specific vision of libertarian ideals is springing up in conjunction with a level of accountability that is reliant on online peer networks, rather than government interference. Peer governed libertarianism may actually play a role in transitioning into an era where average folks have more agency in the face of corporate and government corruption. Most people would agree that some form of government is required for society to function, but it's also fair to say that the occurrence of election tampering and harvesting of personal online data indicates a need for change.
Political manifesto aside, this post will look at two huge trends that represent the more positive aspects of digital libertarianism:
If you haven't heard of crypto-currency, you've either been living under a rock or avoiding all forms of media and financial news. While Bitcoin was a novelty just a decade ago, it's become completely mainstream in the past few years, ushering in a digital gold rush and a whole new way of exchanging currency. Initially, crypto-currency (or crypto, as it's referred to), was seen as a silk-road/ dark-web way for shady characters to exchange money, time has shown that the peer governed system (called a blockchain) that crypto runs on has a broad range of useful applications and is an incredibly secure method of safely transferring money. The network of millions of users constitutes the "blockchain" and transactions are verified by every single node in the chain. Innovative new crypto-currencies like Ethereum are pushing the limits of what the blockchain can accomplish, by creating a forum for peer-supported app sharing and smart contracts.
While Luddites and technophobes are still wary of transferring their hard-earned fiat currency into Bitcoins or Litecoins, many have jumped on the bandwagon, taking advantage of user-friendly platforms like Bitbuy.ca to change crypto to cash, or vice-versa.
While online trade through sites like Kijiji and AirBnB is less reliant on disruptive technology, it still provides a way for users to sidestep corporations and – to a degree – conventional forms of taxation while obtaining goods and services at a price point far below the historical average. In the past, if you had an old computer or a couch you had no space for, you'd chuck it in the garbage or give it away. Nowadays, you can easily connect with people on the hunt for a used laptop or sectional and pocket a nice sum. Similarly, when you travel for work or take a vacation, you can rent out your home so that your resources are maximized and your bank account stays happy!