General Question

Stinley's avatar

Is bartering / trading goods more socially satisfying than dealing with money?

Asked by Stinley (11505points) June 14th, 2011

There are lots of trading schemes working aound the world and people who participate seem to find them socially fulfilling. What is it about them that makes people feel so good and why are they not more common. Why do we still have money based economies?

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14 Answers

YARNLADY's avatar

No, when I interact with people on a one to one basis, it makes no difference what exchange medium we use, money, good, or whatever.

wundayatta's avatar

It stands to reason. Only the people who like they would use them. Obviously they’ve got a lot of time on their hands. Bartering takes a lot more time to figure out how much you want to “pay” for something. But then you get to sit around shootin’ the shit, and being social and all. So maybe they like that.

The vast majority of people in the world prefer the ease and simplicity of currency. The vast majority trust the currency system. It’s just a few people who don’t, and want to stick to barter, but those who do barter surely must love it. Otherwise why put up with it? It’s a pain in the bupkus.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

It can be that way for me.
I have traded my artwork with other artists and I love it! It is very satisfying and a high compliment when asked to trade with someone whose work I admire and respect,or if I really like that person,it is a nice reminder of them.
As for artwork I don’t want that is offered in trade? I force them to pay with their hard earned cash…whaaa haa haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! ;)

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

We still have coinage because coinage is better than barter. If we both have cash, there’s no problem ever in making this deal work. But if we have to barter, then maybe I’m dying to sell the hammer I crafted to you, and you’re dying to buy it from me, but you want to give me a chicken for it and you have no other payment for it, and I don’t want no stinking chicken, so we don’t have a deal. But if we have coinage, then you can sell your chicken to someone who wants it, get cash for it, and pay me for my hammer with the cash. Often with barter, in order to make a deal work, you have to involve, like, 20 people to make it work, which doesn’t happen with coinage. Plus, coinage lasts longer – a coin from 200 years ago is still worth the gold in it (ok, this works more if you imagine yourself in, say, 1700 AD than when we have the whole paper money/representative metals thing), but chickens expire, produce and bread and most (and before we started selling canned foods, all) food things expire but coinage doesn’t. There’s a reason that if a society has a coinage system, historians see it as a sign of strength and stability.

dannyc's avatar

I do some business via a barter network. The problem is that the price of service is somewhat nebulous, each person in the network somewhat over-inflating their products. Plus, you can’t barter hard costs like rent, gas, electricity, so the scope of barter is limited. You still need cold hard cash. Excellent for obtaining travel, though.

Nimis's avatar

There’s a certain validation in creating something worth bartering with/for. A certain freedom from the monetary system can also be a welcome change of pace. And there’s also a more personal element.

But like wundayatta said, it’s a pain in the butt. Not only do you have to figure out/agree upon how many jars of pickles are equal to how many apple pies, imagine lugging around a few dozen of those.

Also, they’re not more “common” because you have to report them to the IRS (Meaning that they’re probably more common than you think—especially among tradespeople. People just aren’t advertising that they do.)

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I’ve done both and it’s not made any difference to me.

Ajulutsikael's avatar

Bartering might be more difficult seeing as there is no set value. You might think your item is worth more than what the other person is offering. Then again same goes with anything you have to use money with. I think it’s generally the same. We should move on from this notion of owing people things and having to give some sort of payment to people instead of living in a community where we all work together and help each other out; for free! Gasp.

smiln32's avatar

Bartering is extremely satisfying to me. Anything WIN-WIN is a delight.

seekingwolf's avatar

I’ve done both and it’s not a big difference for me.

Practically speaking, I like the money-based economy. It’s more convenient. Bartering takes up a lot of time.

Buttonstc's avatar

I understand the point about bartering one to one as being somewhat difficult, logistically speaking.

However, when I lived in Philly I was fortunate to find an organization called Butcher Trade Association which organized and tracked everything eliminating the necessity of only being able able to trade with someone who also needed your service.

Everything was done with trade credits. One trade credit was equal to one dollar. The org. kept track of each person’s credits earned and spent.

This way, the guy at the tire place may have had absolutely no need of what I had to offer, but I could still purchase from him with credits I earned doing a job for the guy who owned the gardening/nursery place and so on.

This really opened things up because it expanded your network considerably, provided a convenient tracking vehicle and gave your business exposure to many who might not have heard of you otherwise.

I wish there were more groups like it all over the country. A well organized and managed barter group can do a whole lot to facillitate this type of trade and free up cash flow.

I also didn’t experience any who were overcharging above the usual going market rate since that would put them at a competetive disadvantage.

Naturally, some businesses are more service based and have lower actual product/overhead costs (such as mine) For businesses more product based, the org suggested that they had the option of doing 60–70% trade to cover out of pocket and/or inventory costs.

But even some of those even chose to do full trade. They were free to use their own judgement.

I did find that the social aspect was higher since we all belonged to the same organization and would often do repeat business. It was overall a fun, enjoyable experience for me.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Buttonstc But is that then really barter? It sounds more like they just created their own coinage system for using within that society.

Buttonstc's avatar

No it was barter. It just managed to overcome the obstacle of two parties having a specific need of each others services. That’s quite limiting.

This enabled me to get a whole range of goods and services for no cash outlay. The only “cost” to me was my time.

Other members were able to rent vacation places, splurge on free dinners at luxury restaurants, get their car repaired etc. with no (or bare minimum) cash outlay.

When my car needed transmission work, I was able to find a member doing full trade. He had absolutely no need of my services and would have been unavailable to me for barter normally. But because we were both members of this group, I got my transmission replaced for no cash outlay (I had enough trade credits banked from jobs I did for several other member businesses).

If that’s not barter, I don’t know what else it would be called. It just wasn’t a one-to-one barter. But it was barter nonetheless.

I guess you could call it indirect barter.

Buttonstc's avatar

Barter is, by definition, the exchange of goods or services without the use of money.

Anything which facilitates this is a barter system whether it’s composed of two people or two hundred or two thousand all trading with each other.

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