Barista-Free Coffee Shop Uses the Honor System to Turn a Profit

Cool!

TIME

Any time the honor system is used successfully, I think of Ayn Rand—the founder of Objectivism, the academically bankrupt theory of overriding and extreme self-interest. According to her philosophy, the honor system should never work: According to her, rationally, it shouldn’t work because one should take what they want and pay nothing for it. (Incidentally, there’s an economic theory that governs this principle called the “tragedy of the commons,” where a resource is spoiled for many through the actions of selfish individuals.)

10 months ago, a coffee shop in Valley City, North Dakota (pop. 6,700) called The Vault put the honor system to the test; now, months later, they’ve earned 15% more money than they’ve asked for, the Associated Press reports. The Vault isn’t any different than your local cafe—it has commercially brewed coffee, gourmet flavorings, pastries, and soft drinks. But what it doesn’t have are…

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