Really Really Free

Guest Post by Theresa Champion

What: The Really REALLY Free Market, a celebration of alternative economics.
Where: Carrboro Town Commons
When: 1:00-5:00pm, Saturday, April 2nd.

Everyone is invited to arrive between 1:00 and 5:00 pm with goods, services, performances, stories, crafts, food, games, music, clothing, furniture, and resources to give and share (fully free of charge!) with others in the community. There is no buying, selling or exchanging involved - in this market, everything is strictly free. Better than a yard sale, the Really Really Free Market welcomes all items for giving and receiving, and has no price tags!

This event is approved by the Town of Carrboro and is organized by a small coalition of community members. This is a "self-organizing" event, in that it is not corporately sponsored or institutionally organized. The Carrboro Really Really Free Market is organized in the spirit of other free markets cropping up around the South, the U.S. and the world as ways for communities to come together, give, share and receive.

History: Started in November 2003, the Really REALLY Free Market began and both a protest against and a response to the FTAA. The Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) is the expansion of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to every country in Central America, South America and the Caribbean, except Cuba. The FTAA will impose the failed NAFTA model of increased privatization and deregulation hemisphere-wide. FTAA would deepen the negative effects of NAFTA we've seen in Canada, Mexico and the U.S. over the past eight years and expand NAFTA's damage to an additional 31 countries. The FTAA will empower corporations to constrain governments from setting standards for public health and safety, to safeguard their workers, and to ensure corporations do not pollute the communities in which they operate.

For more information about the FTAA:

For more information about The Really REALLY Free Market:



Um, how has NAFTA failed? It's not the cure-all some people make it out to be, but I'm interested in hearing an explanation of how it failed. Just saying it doesn't make it so.

I'm curious as how the Chapelboro politicos view this "free" exchange. I'm sure quite a few aldermen will want to figure out a way to tax this endeavor. I personally love alternative economics, and any commerce that can be conducted without the oppression of taxation is a progressive step toward restoring freedom in America.
Is there any way y'all can conduct this market on a daily basis? Perhaps something called or

Look on

We've had groups here for more than 2 years.

For those interested, a brief review of NAFTA after 10 years (2003) can be found here.

I really wanted to go to that market; but the weather looked bad and I didn't have a ride. Did anyone go? I read the DTH bit about it. It didn't say much. How did it go down? Were people really giving stuff away? I really liked the idea. I'm always pulling stuff out of trash heaps that I don't need but think I'll find some one who does. Eg. I found a guitar stand, looks cheap, who needs that? I have two dorm size TVs, no rabbit ears, don't need that. I have both paper and hard back of al goldmans "lenny bruce", i'd like to get rid of the paper. I have some new bike rim and no bike. I have a junk-tique dresser that's just in the way. My apartment looks like a bad episode of "sanford & son"

hope I get off my butt next year

I missed this as I was out of town this weekend. I have TONS of random small stuff to unload, though. And it's just as Steve said - hardly worth processing for the PTA or a yard sale. I hope they do this again.

anyone here familiar with the "swap shack" at the dump in chapel hill? there's *always* people taking/leaving stuff. its all the same kind of stuff described earlier--not worthy of sale or pta. 'course, you see some people taking mattresses--eek

"Ooh! The Springfield Men's Shelter is giving away sixty soiled mattresses!"
-- Homer Simpson reads the "FOR FREE" section of the paper

Thanks Theresa. I'll try to use that site more often. I especially miss living in Chatham County and the on site swap shop that they have at all their dump sites. I've often taken clothing and especially books there and enjoyed many of the books I've "borrowed". I wish Orange County would use the progressive model of the Chatham recycling program. Hmmmm, maybe I've still got one of those Chatham County Dump Stickers somewhere.....LOL

I went down there early, before the weather turned sour. A fairly large bunch of folks turned out, and the atmosphere was good. We took a bagful of things to give away - mostly new and useful gifts that just weren't getting used- and they were snatched up immediately. It felt strange to just set your wares out and walk away. "But wait, somebody might take it!", oh right, that's the idea...

I've heard that some local businesses (the PTA thriftshop, for example) were upset by the threat of competition, but I don't think they have much to worry about. Most of the stuff folks were giving away would probably be more trouble to process than it would sell for.

Next time, I'll be sure to bring more stuff, and hopefully spend a bit more time hunting for treasures...

Again we see criticism of NAFTA without a thorough education on economic events.

To follow the reasoning in your wonderful piece (which I love by the way since it shows what most protectionists like to say abotu NAFTA), NAFTA is solely responsible for every economic ill in Mexico.

Naturally the Mexican Peso Crisis is not even mentioned. Mexico's attempts to overvalue the peso basically resulted in bankrupting their national bank, resulting in defaulting on debts owed internationally. This led to a drastic dropoff in foreign investment since the government there had not only failed in its promise to hold the peso at a specific value, but allowed so much debt to be defaulted on. It simply became impossible to believe that the government there would keep its word to investors and economic destabilization was the result. The fact that at the time there was a nasty peasant uprising in the Yucatan didn't help the situation either, since it made some of Mexico's poorer regions less attractive to both foriegn and domestic investors. The plummeting peso value in the early and mid nineties also accounts for that 81% drop in buying power (though I'd be interested to see where that number came from). Inflation isn't good when it comes rapidly like it does with major economic policy failures.

As for the recent decline in the maquiladoras, the US dollar has been dropping in value relative to the rest of the world. This naturally makes any imports here more expensive than they were before. Couple this with the fact that Mexico refuses to move along in the next stage of industrialization and you have some much more logical explanations than using NAFTA as a kind of anti-panacea for everything under the sun. Mexico needs to move to higher quality and more complex goods. Just as Hong Kong and Korea made the cheapest products around (things like toys usuallly) 30 years ago, what do they make now? Cars and other more complex goods.

Mexico has made some serious mistakes in the last decade, mostly revolving around a policy of always trying to fill the low-wage manufacturing niche that it has outgrown in addition to facing competition from Southeast Asia and India.

Mexico is not a 3rd world country, but what is termed as 2nd world. It's in the transition from agrarian to industrialized and the sooner their government adopts policies that encourage growth and innovation rather than assuming the same strategy will work forever, the sooner they will see a break in their economic fortunes.

NAFTA is not the only thing that has happened in the world while everything else stood still in the past 12 years. So please, stop and consider that. There *are* legitimate claims against NAFTA out there, but your cited column is either ignorant of economic events or purposefully misleading.

Well, forgive me if I misinterpreted the post....

"The left has understood for a couple of centuries that part of the problem is the domination of the state by big business and resulting interventions on business' behalf. NAFTA is only a recent example..."

I'm pretty sure that's not taken out of context. You're free to read it for yourself. Generally interventions mean creating market inefficencies (like. Again, forgive me if I jumped the gun.

Help me out Chris. And I am serious here: Where did Dan suggest that NAFTA amounted to creating barriers. Forgive me if I missed it.

"Rem" has it part right. The left has understood for a couple of centuries that part of the problem is the domination of the state by big business and resulting interventions on business' behalf. NAFTA is only a recent example in a long tradition going as far back as the turning of Europe's historic common lands over to private control and in the US to 19th century land giveaways to rail, mining, and other interests.

NAFTA is the removal of market interventions (tariffs, quotas, whatnot). The very principle of free trade zones is to remove market disruptions by governments.

You yourself called it deregulation in the original post, Dan. It can't be both the net removal of barriers and the net creation of them.

Nothing wrong with bartering, but don't miss the point of trade: That people produce goods that others find valuable. Before money became the tool of the taxman, it was nothing but a highly portable mechanism of facilitating exchange. There's nothing inherently evil about money, just government intervention in the marketplace. We all suffer because of it and it's about time the "progressive" champions of the comon man figured out that the overall problem is the state and its intervention in private affairs and private property.

I don't see what this event has to do with NAFTA.

Also, pay attention the post about the Mexican peso crisis. It's what an American Dollar crisis is going to smell like in just a little while.

Just to clarify--the stuff that was given often rose above the 'not worth sorting out by a thrift store' quality. Of course that stuff went fast (it was free after all) but there was still plenty. Rem--trade has been around for a long time, but so has sharing. This event brought together a broad cross section of the community (not something you see all that often) to share with each other.


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