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gottamakeart's avatar

Bartering: better than money?

Asked by gottamakeart (1323points) July 10th, 2009

Bartering (trading goods or services for same) Also Known As trading, swap, etc.

Your opinions and experiences Please :)

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16 Answers

kenmc's avatar

I’d say it depends on the size of the economy.

A small town where people trade goods and services for other goods and services, it makes sense. A massively sized country in which people don’t know each other, money would be better.

cookieman's avatar

I have a full time gig and I teach one or two nights a week – but I have always had one or two freelance clients running on the side.

Lately, with the down economy, it’s been harder to find clients willing to spend any real money.

As such, my current two clients are bartering with me. I’m designing websites and marketing collateral for each. In return, my daughter gets “free” ballet classes and I get “free” acupuncture appointments.

Works great so far.

Saturated_Brain's avatar

No no no a thousand times NO. Things would become soooo complicated I dare not even think about it. On a tiny scale perhaps it might work, but once more people become involved then you’re in quite a big mess.

Anything larger than a village would be problematic (sorry @boots for downsizing your small-town economy) =P

sap82's avatar

Well, I am sure after the pres is done wrecking everything we will be back to bardering. So I would suggest getting real good at it. Also, stock up on items that people will find more expensive than gold. You know, stuff like chocolate and pimple cream.

hug_of_war's avatar

We learned about this in economics. I forget the term but basically to barter each individual has to want what another has. It’s a lot harder to work that out than money. So while it may work for individual cases, I daresay even a small town would have a hard time coexisting completely on a barter system.

ratboy's avatar

Sex for drugs seems to work well. Maybe the structure of such transactions ought to be analyzed and applied in other commercial spheres.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

The problem with a barter system on a large is that people will invariably have disputes over the value of items traded.

cwilbur's avatar

Another big problem with bartering is that complex deals get really complex. Suppose I have significant computer skills, and I need new eyeglasses. The local optometrist needs a steady supply of eggs. You have eggs, but your computer is broken. That means that all three of us need to agree on a fair three-way exchange. With money, we agree on how much a pair of eyeglasses is worth, how much it is worth to fix a computer, and how much a dozen eggs is worth, and use money as the medium of interchange.

CMaz's avatar

No, maybe, sometimes.

YARNLADY's avatar

Certainly not in any large scale way, but bartering goes on everyday, anytime two people get together and agree to help each other out, doesn’t it?

gottamakeart's avatar

I advocate bartering between individuals. I’m not sure how any businesses could handle it since they have to make a profit and keep records. I’ve traded old furniture, etc for other things I actually wanted.

Its just one way to get around the whole nonsense of having to sell something to make the money to buy something else, which I would hope is commonplace, but from what I’ve seen thrown out on curbsides (its amazing what becomes “junk”), hardly at all.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

It works as long as you aren’t dealing with stupid greedy people, its on a small scale, among people that have a modicum of decency, and it isn’t too complex. I do it now and again, and have for years, and it works fine, no problems at all.

Hell, even with some people, dealing with goods and services for money still ends up in court. Life is about choices, your results may vary.

growler's avatar

Bartering seems to work pretty well alongside a currency-based economy, but I shudder to think of the implications of going to a purely barter system. It seems to work on a very small scale (trading baseball cards or produce) or on a very large scale (I’ll give you three Aegis cruisers for forty MiG fighters) but very difficult to implement in the global and national economies in our current society.

As a general theory I’d say the above statement still holds true – fine on a very large scale in which the numbers are ridiculously big and fine on a very small scale where the items are very small, but nigh impossible in a system involving many items frequently changing hands.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

Bartering is great! I’ve bartered for artwork, salon treatments, massages, car payments, furniture, etc.

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