|This article is part of the|
Living together theme
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.
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!
- Swap clothes or jewelry with your friends is eco-citizenship :
- No CO2 to import them,
- No over production…
But that's not all :
- We can indulge in quality articles, especially for the young who won't wear their clothes for long,
- We can recycle the gifts we didn't like, which is no doubt better than throwing them away,
- We save money !
How to organize barter meetings?
- You can simply develop a group with people you know and who will in turn acquaint you with new members, meet at one another's home, swap and have a nice cuppa! Bartering can be fun and friendly! (True, you'll have to mind the members share the same tastes, are about the same size....)
- Use the internet, plenty of sites where you can create an account, detail your profile and post your lists of wanted and proposed items.