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Bartering consists in exchanging goods without the exchange medium of money, between two individuals or two groups



Bartering in primitive societies

Bartering was the original method of exchange. In primitative societies an individual who, for example, was a rancher or hunter would exchange meat with a farmer for vegetables. It allows for specialization in a society, which is necessary for flourishing. The restriction is putting a common value on something, for example, it is hard to know exactly how many chickens are worth a cow[1].

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Shift to a monetary system

The shift to the exchange medium of money reduced the limitations of bartering. Originally money were coins made of precious metals like gold and silver. The introduction of paper money made money cheaper to produce and more convenient. In a modern capitalist economy, money is capital and is self generating, this is done through lending money, buying stocks or bonds, and resource exchange. Until President Nixon, the value of currency was based on the gold standard (the value of currency had to be backed by the similar value of gold).

Bartering in modern societies

19th C. utopias : as the industrial revolution was spreading from England to Europe and overseas, some "utopian socialists" were hoping to solve social issues through bartering : Owen and the coupons, Proudhon and the barter bank.

It is rather easy to organize barter : simply make the list of what you want to give and what you're looking for. Websites are dedicated to getting people in contact.

You can also barter with your friends and family. Gardeners will often do that to exchange diverse seeds, the same with collectors and people who organize creative leisures and need to exchange material.

Barter clothes : good for the purse, good for the environment

More and more people are keen on saving money and finding new ways of doing so. There may be various reasons to this, maybe revamp your wardrobe without spending money, or have access to high fashion clothing you couldn't afford otherwise.

Now for the ethical aspect : clothes tend to be made in China, Thailand... in far away countries, which implies a lot of pollution for transport. What's more, as the demand grows, manufacturers have to increase their production, another source of pollution, especially as the textile industry there does not have to abide by such strict laws as we do in Europe.

Swapping clothes is environment-friendly!

But that's not all :

How to organize barter meetings?

See also

  1. Before money

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