I was watching the movie, “The Shawshank Redemption” – a movie derived from a Stephen King novella, “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption” and I was struck by a particular segment of the movie.

In case you don’t know the plot of a movie, in a nutshell, it is essentially about the development of a friendship between 2 men (Red and Andy Dufresne) serving time in Shawshank prison over a great number of years.

In this scene, new inmate Andy has approached long time resident Red in the prison courtyard as Red was the man who could “get things” from the outside world and bring them into the prison.  Andy wanted a “rock hammer” – a very small hammer about 7 inches long – it looks like a toy hammer.  Red of course was wary of the item and the trustworthiness of his new client and negotiations commenced.

The Youtube segment can be found here:

Note: I couldn’t figure out how to splice the video to hone in on the clip I wanted you to see, as the “start” and “end” parameters don’t appear to work as documented via a Google search.  I went over to splicd.com that uses Youtube APIs to generate a link that shows the specific segment to emphasize; you can see that here.

Now, Red knows that Andy is having trouble with the small group of prisoners who rape other prisoners – “bull queers” – so Red wants to get an idea what Andy wants the rock hammer for.  Andy says if there is any trouble he “won’t use the rock hammer.”.  Red then asks him if he will use the rock hammer to tunnel his way out of prison, in which Andy snickers.    Red wants to know what is so funny.  Andy replies, “You’ll understand when you see it.”.  In other words, Red is assessing risk to his business if he trades with Andy.

Once Red makes up his mind to go ahead with the exchange,  price is negotiated.  The rock hammer goes for about $7 in the outside world.  Red tells Andy is normal markup is about %20, but states the rock hammer is a specialty item – “risk goes up, price goes up” – and wants $10 for it.  Andy agrees; it isn’t clear in the movie how Red is paid.

Next, Red outlines the terms and conditions of the sale.  Red states that the item is high risk to Andy – “if they find it, you’re gonna lose it.”   If the hammer is confiscated, Red warns Andy that he is not to reveal who got him the hammer.  Red states if his name is mentioned, “we’ll never do business again.  Not for shoelaces or a stick of gum.  You got that?”.  Andy agrees and thanks him.

An agorist network is where a counter-economy is initiated by participants to trade outside of the taxation/inflation system – a virtual prison – we all are enslaved to.   Some say, “What if someone rats you out to the State!?!”.  An agorist network has TREMENDOUS value to the participants.  They are preventing the State from confiscating the fruits of their labour via taxation.  If they trade in cash and hold that cash for any length of time, they need to convert it to gold or silver rounds/bars to prevent State theft via inflation.  If someone betrays the network, they will immediately be ostracized from the network and their trustworthiness factor goes to ZERO.  No one will do business with them again.  They will be denied access to participate in the agorist network; economic pariahs if you will.

The movie then cuts to a scene where they show the process and the participants bringing in Andy’s rock hammer (shown here via splicd).

The agorist network is keeping the prisoners – a supposedly heinous bunch of people – honest!  Recognizing the value of the network, they all seek to benefit from it.  If any participant betrays another, they’re done.  It’s very interesting that an prisoner does NOT do something that would prevent them access to the “economy” to obtain goods/services to increase their standard of living.  In other-words, their self-interest prevents them from doing harm to others.

Wow.  That’s something you don’t hear everyday.  That is completely the opposite of a corporation where government grants limited liability to decision makers that direct the company in such a way that harms others.

Now some might say, doesn’t Red hold a monopoly position?  He’s exploiting prisoners!  Nonsense.  If a prisoner thought Red was f–king them over, they would start another network or seek out another competitor.

In fact, there is a scene later in the movie where Andy wants to surprise Red with a gift – a harmonica.  In order for Andy to keep it a secret, he orders the harmonica through a “competitor” although that exchange process is not a scene in the movie.

I thought this was interesting. If some say, “An agorist network will NEVER work because people are not trustworthy!”, cite prison as a working model!