At the Free State Project's 8th Annual Liberty Forum conference, a unique discussion took place when editor in chief of Reason.com and Reason TV, Nick Gillespie, sat down to chat to keynote speaker, Patrick Byrne, CEO of Overstock, in this intimate and fascinating interview.
This post originally appeared at e3ne.org.
All wealth comes from production and exchange: making and trading goods and services. The two are closely related: the more you trade, the more you’re able to produce. How does that work? Through the magic of specialization.
When you trade, you’re able to specialize in your comparative advantage, that is, what you can do relatively cheaply compared to everyone else. If you didn’t trade, you’d have to make everything yourself: clothes, food, shelter, transportation, health care, etc. You’d be very, very poor. By trading with other people, you can focus on doing one narrow thing really, really well, earning money, and trading that money away for other goods and services that other people focus on doing really, really well.
If you see a faded sign by the side of the road that says '15 Miles' to the... Sugar shack... stop, and enjoy! This weekend heralds the 20th Annual Maple Weekend. Join the fun at a local New Hampshire sugar house. Visit sugar makers to learn more about the centuries-old craft of maple sugaring. Meet your neighbors, and get some sweet tree gold while you are there. Insider tip: For the best maple syrup, go for dark... it's more flavorful and sticky-finger-licking good!
Photo credit: NH Maple Producers
Community. The word always left a bad taste in my mouth. In my life, “community” has meant something awful, something dreadful. And by age 23, I knew that becoming part of a community was something I would fight to avoid at all costs.
I think it was just after September 11th 2001 when my confusion began. I was a theater major at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. When the towers fell, and the flags began to wave, I took solace in the sense of community I felt on campus. There, I was among people who seemed to understand the reality of what was actually happening. This was no War on Terror, but a war for profit; and the masses rallying behind it were getting swindled. It was tremendously comforting to know I was not alone, to know there were many others who had not fallen victim to this great hoax. These people called themselves liberals. So, I supposed I was a liberal too. Then, things began to change.
Jody Underwood, Ph.D., is a founder and owner of Bardo Project and is one of the faces of Bardo Farm. She lives off the grid on a large property in New Hampshire with a varying number of people, depending on the season and the year, all learning back-to-basics skills. She moved to NH for the FSP in 2007 and is currently on the FSP board of directors. She focuses on K-12 education both professionally and as the chair of her local school board, which recently instituted school choice and included private schools as part of the choice (which is causing a stir in the state department of education). Her goal is to figure out ways to revolutionize education.
Former NH state legislator, the man behind Porcupine Real Estate, and early mover Mark Warden chats to Freedom Phoenix's Ernest Hancock about the Free State Project, Liberty Forum 2015, the upcoming Porcupine Freedom Festival, and a bit about this and that. Topics covered include nanobreweries, citizen activists, budget cuts, jury nullification, and more.
MANCHESTER - Over the last year, Community Market Days (CMDs) have sprung up in Manchester. I attended one in January and left with a ridiculous quantity of food: several pounds of humanely-raised ham, bacon, two varieties of sausage, and pork chops from Bardo Farm; two dozen eggs; baked goods; and grassfed ground beef ordered wholesale.
I spoke with five members of the Shire Co-op to learn more about this unique organization. I spoke with Jessica Love, who moved to Manchester from Florida three years ago as part of the Free State Project; Constance Spencer, another Free Stater who moved from Alaska with her family less than a year ago, now also in Manchester; Jack Shimek, a 30-year New Hampshire resident who signed the FSP Statement of Intent prior to the selection of New Hampshire as the “Free State”, now based in Milford; Kate Ager, a Keene native now living in Henniker; and Daniel Cuevas, also in Manchester.
SLN: Thank you all for agreeing to be interviewed! Could each of you tell me what your role is in the Shire Co-op?
FSP Board Meeting
Time/Date: Friday, March 6 @ 12:00pm EST
Location: Day 1 of Liberty Forum @ JD’s Tavern (Radisson)
Attending: Seamas, Carla, Jason, Jody, Matt, Aaron, Rich (by phone)
Meeting called to order at 12:10pm
Approval of previous minutes
Carla status as contractor vs. employee
a. Liberty Forum
b. Outreach at other events
c. Free Stater Magazine
a. Balance sheet update
b. Preliminary Liberty Forum results
c. 2015 Budget
a. Ian Freeman / FTL
b. The future of Liberty Forum
c. Dealing with inactive participants
Minutes from last meeting were approved.
Carla’s status as an employee. Jason is taking the lead on setting it up.
Patrick M. Byrne gives his keynote address at the 8th Annual Liberty Forum conference hosted by the Free State Project.
Bio: Patrick M. Byrne, CEO, launched Overstock.com in 1999 with revenues of $1.8 million. In 2013 Overstock.com had revenues of $1.3 billion and net income of $88.5 million. Forbes magazine named Overstock.com the No. 9 Best Company to Work for in the Country for 2010, and Byrne the CEO with the highest employee approval rating (92%). Byrne received the 2011 Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
In 2001, Byrne began Worldstock Fair Trade, an Overstock.com division selling handcrafted products from artisans in developing nations. The department distinguishes itself by returning 60-70% of the sale price to artisans (over $100 million has been paid to Worldstock’s artisan suppliers). In addition, all Worldstock net profits are donated to fund philanthropic projects in several countries. Worldstock and Byrne have funded the building of 26 self-sustaining schools internationally that currently educate thousands of students.