This Blog Has Moved!

My blog has moved. Check out my new blog at

Your Ad Here

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

NYC Hotel Economic Terrorism

This story is interesting. NY State politicians are considering a law banning sublets shorter than 30 days. This is obvious corporate welfare.

Who benefits from such a law? Executives at large hotels benefit from the law. A hotel room costs $200+ per night. Individuals can rent spare rooms for much less, undercutting hotels on price.

The Internet allows individuals to directly buy and sell. This bypasses corporate cartels. State thugs are declaring this practice illegal. This law targets websites like Craigslist and AirBnB.

However, that article underestimated the evil of this law. How will this law be enforced? Undercover police will troll the Internet, pretend to be customers, and then arrest the room renter. What sort of scumbag takes a job like that?

The hotel cartel externalizes its costs via the State. If the hotel cartel had to maintain their own private army, it wouldn't be profitable. Via higher taxes, I pay the salary of the police who enforce this bad law.

Asset forfeiture laws make this particularly evil. If you rent a spare room, State police may seize your home/condo/coop. Asset forfeiture doesn't have due process. Once police seize your property, the burden of proof is on you to recover it. You are not reimbursed for legal expenses, even if you win. State thugs might even profit from enforcing this law, when they seize the property of victims.

The asset forfeiture law takes advantage of a weird legal loophole. Instead of "State vs. FSK", it's "State vs. FSK's house". My house is charged with a crime and not me. Therefore, I'm not entitled to due process when my house is stolen. Literally, the property is accused of a crime and not the individual. You might say "Isn't that Unconstitutional?" Unfortunately, State judges are pro-State trolls.

A pro-State troll says "This law is good! The subletters are ignoring hotel safety laws!" These regulations are designed to impose extra costs, rather than being true best practices.

A pro-State troll says "These subletters aren't paying taxes on the rental income." All taxation is theft. In a bad economy, people should get creative about ways to earn extra income.

A pro-State troll says "How can the renter and rentee trust each other?" The website AirBnB offers an eBay-like reputation feature. If you go to a State-licensed hotel and get lousy service, you are usually SOL.

Some people attempt to sell taxi/transportation services on the Internet, without a State license. Undercover cops pretend to be customers. Then, via asset forfeiture, State economic terrorists seize your car. This hotel law may lead to police seizing people's homes.

NYC's rent control is a bad law. If you rent such an apartment, you may be able to sublet a room for more than the rent! However, landlords are eager to discover such arrangements, so they can use it as an excuse to evict people and charge market rents.

George Donnelly and others say "Agorists should just use eBay and Craigslist!" The fallacy is that undercover cops will pretend to be customers. Any successful agorist will attract the attention of the State cartel he competes with. An "agoristbay" is needed, to facilitate counter-economics.

This proposed short sublet ban is an excellent example of State economic aggression. The hotel cartel lobbied the State to violently shut down competition. I'd like to develop an "agoristbay" to facilitate counter-economics.


BroadSnark said...

What's to stop the state from doing the same thing on an agoristbay? There really seem to be two options - either focus on gift economies that the state would have a hard time controlling, or be purposefully antagonistic (knowing and preparing for the repercussions)until the state is overwhelmed.

FSK said...

The advantage of "agoristbay" compared to craigslist is:

- It's invitation-only. This helps screen out undercover cops. This is tricky. There's a tradeoff between recruiting new customers and keeping out State spies.

- "Agoristbay" would be decentralized. State thugs can shut down Craigslist by raiding their office. If agoristbay is decentralized, then State thugs would have to raid most of the users.

BroadSnark said...

Even invite only, I don't see how you would be able to perfectly screen. Some people are very good.

Decentralization is helpful. But it is bound to grow. Which means it is going to draw attention. Which means participants may (probably will)eventually become targets.

It's an eventuality that people should be realistic about, don't you think?

FSK said...

Some undercover cops are very good. Some people are very good at detecting undercover cops.

There's also the risk that the Feds will "Randy Weaver" one of your customers. They'll frame one of your customers and demand that he act as an informant for you, in exchange for a favorable plea bargain.

There's no gain without risk. Everything is risky. Being a complacent slave is risky as the system collapses. Seeking freedom is risky. If you're successful, then terrorists target you.

Nothing is risk free. There's no sure solution when there's a huge criminal organization threatening you. Nearly everyone is crazy.

I'm going to try practical agorism in a couple of years. In the meantime, raising awareness helps. I'm noticing a distinct rise in freedom-oriented thinking.

State thugs can't arrest everyone. If you're successful on a small scale, you probably can fly under the radar. If you're one of the more successful freedom activists, State thugs *WILL* target you. Simkanin, Kahre, and Schiff were targeting because they were encouraging others.

Nothing is risk free. You can still take precautions to minimize risk.

Scott said...

If you're going to do illegal stuff that can get you arrested and hoping to avoid being arrested by prescreening clients, why would you select bartering as the illegal thing to do?

Be a drug dealer, corporate CEO, counterfeiter, pimp, or something that pays better. Since you're going to be arrested you might as well make it worth while, given that your strategy is to do something that has been made illegal, right or wrong.

FSK said...

For marijuana and pimp, there's already a lot of competition in that area. I'm interested in counter-economics, but in areas where there is less competition.

Also, explaining to a jury that "possession of marijuana" is an invalid law might be hard. Explaining that a gold/silver barter network shouldn't be illegal would be a lot easier.

Anonymous said...

Some people in the UK made vodka and sold it to shops. They didn't pay Value Added Tax. The leader got *12 years in jail*.


Recently a man was murdered in the UK. They sentence was 3.5 years. However a Daily Mail article says one of the killers may be released in *months*.


So why does making vodka and not paying VAT warrant 12 years in jail, but MURDER only gets you 3.5 years in jail (if that)?

This Blog Has Moved!

My blog has moved. Check out my new blog at