Maybe you ask yourself, what an article on bartering has got to do in a magazine such as Health & Happiness? You will realize it by understanding the main motivation of its followers, who promote a lifestyle based on social economy. Discover how you can reduce the frequency of digging in your wallet every other time.
You probably already have shared with a relative or friend, a good or service against each other, based on a mutual agreement. In short, you’ve swapped! Moreover, when we start to dig the subject, we discover a whole new domain has decided to encourage mutual assistance and sharing of resources, be they intellectual, physical or temporal. We present the Barter Organization whose members choose and value the expertise of others, and fight against waste and overconsumption.
The Origin of Barter
When conducting research to trace the origins of barter, it becomes clear that opinions are as varied as there are primitive tribes and people. However, we can safely say that it is certainly the oldest form of economic exchange.
Previously, in a small isolated village, it was easy for the farmer to trade a few bags of potatoes against a beef cattle farmer. As time passed by, it became increasingly complicated, as humans multiplied and expanded their territory, it became increasingly difficult to find a person who, on one hand, had exactly the need for what one wanted to offer, and secondly, that had exactly what one wanted.
The need of a society undergoing modernization is increasingly complex and diverse, therefore justifying the creation of a unit of exchange. Modern currency has evolved from shells to solid gold pieces, culminating in paper money which is used in all the “advanced” societies in the least.
The functioning of Barter Groups today
One had to find a way to allow multilateral trade – Cathleen shortens Carol’s pants and in turn Carol paints Cathleen’s room, which will be befitting for Cathleen now that it has become painful because of her advanced age, etc. Most groups use a motto barter exchange that enables the recording of goods and services given and received.
If you are a purist, you’re talking about groups here which do not engage in barter in the true sense because they all use some currency to make trade more fluid and certainly more equitable. However, the term social economy makes perfect sense here, since this is not a matter about the possession of money but about the value of wealth exchanged.
In many cases, when one gets the group membership, one receives a book in which transactions are recorded. These listings are based on mutual trust, and no central administration regulates or controls the balance.
In the case of bank trading community services, it really sticks more rigidly to the concept of equal value for all types of services. One hour consultation accounting is equivalent to one hour gardening or shopping assistance. Furthermore, it must “relate” transactions administrative staff responsible to account for and verify the balances recorded in the log.
There are many other groups scattered around the world which operate on a more or less close variant of these two models, sometimes with different names for their currency.
To be useful, an invaluable factor
While it is easy to believe a priori that it is poverty that triggered the need to revive the good old barter system, you realize, talking with adherents of barter that many other reasons motivate them to do so. An important aspect of barter systems lies in community participation in meetings that allow members to meet and develop a relationship of trust between them. Anything is possible. One reader said: “I widened my horizon, realizing that I just have to get involved, participate in friendly games, inform others of my offers and my requests, and thus I can create almost anything that I need!”
Another reader says that she had always been a bit marginal, even as a teenager, and that alternative systems continue to generate strong interest in her. She admits to having given more time than she has received, but in the end, she still considers herself a winner: “By helping a person to do his household, I felt I followed a history lesson. What she said was very interesting, and the experience was rewarding from my point of view. “
It also seems that because of the demands of modern life, the adherents of barter are often amongst the unemployed or early retirees, while they still have much to offer to society and have a little more free time, or amongst the self-employed, who enjoy a bit more flexible schedule. Because it takes time to get to know a group of people, to research and negotiate the goods and services you need, not counting the time it takes to make to deliver is a major consideration of barter.
Finally, the majority of us are still very afraid to leave the single currency system that we’ve always known. Many fear of displeasing the government by not reporting the revenue from barter and ending up in prison. It must, however be noted, that any transaction made between two people is a private matter and that the authorities cannot interfere. As long as they do not try to recognize these exchanges by the same authorities, which would be like giving wool to the shepherd.
The vocation of a group of barter depends on whether one seeks to foam the local economy or to promote mutual aid among the elderly, for example. The idea to swap between several people necessarily brings the need to use some form of currency, some cities or regions and even some countries in the world have pushed the concept too far.