Barter Systems and Other Forms of Commerce

hayday_600Bartering springs up in modern cultures when the local currencies are no longer valued by the participants in the local economies.  At least, that’s barter from the perspective of an economist.  However, if other values are in play at the time of the exchange, bartering may not be about money.

Why Sharing Works

1). It opens your heart so that the issues of greed, possession and permanence are kept in perspective. In an agrarian society, one can only eat so much.  Likewise, trading has consequences involving storage, loss and valuation.  Therefore, a willingness to part with goods or services keeps avarice under control.  It also keeps you from being overdrawn at the “bank of favors.”

2). It turns the “karma wheel” so that at some point you have a goody “coming your way”.

3). It builds the fabric of community. It may be the one time when “co-dependency” is not a bad thing. The development of mono-cropping agriculture has robbed rural communities of whole systems of support.  I can still see the abandoned buildings of people who use to grind grain for the local farmers.  Local slaughter houses no longer exist.  Community mercantile stores died because they could not compete with the mega-marts. We have a lot of re-building to do on this level.

4). It teaches you to respect what others have. Just wait until someone returns “your stuff” in less than a pristine manner to see this one.

5). It expands your horizons. We are introducing our friends to “red okra” this year. We had never had it before and were excited about the flavor and size. Every year we try to make a new discovery, not just for the sake of the discovery, but to also keep us from becoming jaded.


John Langlois

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