Sunday, September 6, 2009

Barter Economy: Preparedness in Interesting Times

Barter Economy

Thanks to barter, I can post to my own blog again. Had been blocked, but never fear, from out of the world-wide-phone booth leaps a geek friend, cape billowing, to part the cyber-sea !!

Couple months back, a question from him, turned into a lengthy professional consult by me. 

Agreement—he would “pay” me with his skill sets. He would figure out the posting snafus, and make the writing experience more user-friendly. 

Result of barter arrangement: no money-burden; needs met; two clients well-satisfied.

Barter of goods and services, hello new economy, is an economy old as camel caravans, Cornish tin, Roman wine, attar of roses, cinnamon, silks, and Baltic amber… 

Though money was scarce, farm goods "bought" goods from sea and overland; harpists sang for their supper; tinkers bartered repairs. Younglings apprenticed to master craftsmen, or sailed for the New World in exchange for 7 years labor—things of value, or craft skills and labor as medium of exchange.

All this, without skimming of the money pot by the banking cartel of the Federal Reserve... Stay tuned as the predator class tries to muscle in on local economic solutions. Example?... Recent destruction of the silver- and gold-backed Liberty Dollar movement. 

If the US dollar
(the peachback "fiatsco" backed by nothing but empty promises to pay) is debased into oblivion, what then?   

Barter will survive, though the bankster, lobbyist and congressional gravy train may not. 

What do we have of value which we could use as a medium of exchange? What skills, what goods, what willingness will emerge from the derivatives-implosion dead ahead?

  • A cord of wood for x-bushels of apples?   
  • Childcare for groceries or meals shared?    
  • Tutoring in exchange for training in carpentry?    
  • Use of a commons-vehicle by neighbors who take turns doing errands for the community?   
  • Or digging and weeding a garden with a master gardener to learn how, and to share in harvest?
    We don’t yet know all we can do together.

    It’s Labor Day Weekend in the US, summer’s end, a time of County Fairs, farmers markets, picnics and yard sales. En route to the fair, I “hit” eight yard sales on a lightning scan for bargains.

    Interesting developments: glass canning jars from grandmother time are not being sold anymore: they’re being put to use to prepare for winter and uncertain times.

    BigBox gulag-shlock is being disgorged, in the “new” belt-tightening economy, but I watched people gravitating to useful items—kitchen pots, wool blankets, work boots, and exercise equipment to pull the plug on the couch potato era! Small amounts of fiat exchanged for something solid.

    In an odd echo from an earlier, cash-strapped barter reality, the dustbowl 1930’s, I had the strangest call this week—May amount to exactly nothing, but I heard from “To Kill a Mockingbird” yesterday!

    Do you remember Atticus Finch being paid with barter—sack of hickory nuts, mess of collard greens—for his legal fees?

    Same thing happened with my Texas grandfather. He was once deeded mineral rights to a property by a man who had no cash to pay for legal work that Granddaddy had done for him.  

    No money meant Grandmama sewed the children's clothes, patched, turned the cloth to the unfaded side and cut and sewed again.  Granddaddy tended not just his legal practice, but a big family garden, milk cow, egg-layers, smoke house for backyard-raised hams and bacon. A skilled woodsman, he brought home dove and quail.

    Money stayed tight for the family with nothing much coming in, but  barter of mineral rights, maybe wood split, a plucked chicken, things like that. 
    Mama used to laugh at her “oil money.” She’d get a couple dollars of royalties a year. Well, now an oil company actually wants to drill, and they’re trying to track down my cousins! May just be a dry well, or any revenue divided among a big family, but yesterday, I heard from my granddaddy’s time.

    So you never know about barter, but it may be coming, and we’ll turn our thoughts to what really has value, holds value… holds true.

    Note to Readers:   
    Yeoman Gardener has published a book 
    Wayfaring Traveler, 
    Whale Rider of the Tide and Amazon reviews


    1. Sometimes it isn't even as formal as a barter, which you are legally obliged to pay taxes on. A neighbor turns new ground for you, and you bring him vegetables four months later.

      Vendors at the farm markets do it. The woman from the orchard offers a basket of plums for your leftover chard at the end of the day. You shovel out the cowman's barn for the manure and he throws in some milk for the kids. He's such a nice guy that you plan on giving him the huge pumpkin when it's ready to decorate his little store. Fun.

    2. Here's a barter-savvy fellow in Toronto, who has linked to this piece, and is a resource for barter info. Many thanks!

      Zone5b, luv the farmers market anecdotes. Farmers are such interesting people, close to the land, doing a work of service, and are often way more generous than... "He who dies with the most toys, wins!"

    3. It is always good to read your wise words...thank-you from all of us who need you to light the way...H O

    4. Note ZH, thank you for your comment and the change-work you are doing in the world. I have not posted your biz contact, however. Social media would be the venue for that.


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