In writing The Secrets of Clayton County, one of the thoughts that kept surfacing was the reality of bartering being a fully acceptable medium of trade. Was it more purely the evolvement of a rural culture, or was economic down-turns, catastrophes and the fear of a broken financial system that found people using food, fuel and other basic staples for exchange.
Interestingly enough, barter has been used throughout history… at myriad times when either a monetary system was non-existent or during times of economic disaster. History supports that in countries where people feel their money is unfairly taxed, barter as a form of exchange increases significantly. The question begs to be asked, “Are there any intrinsic problems with a barter system?”
One of the primary problems with bartering is the reality that there is no sound method of establishing common units for the exchange – leaving some whose goods or services will be in too large a supply and others quite scarce. At the end of the day, those who have basic food, fuel, and staple commodities will more likely have the more attractive exchange. Unfortunately, they could also become the target for raiding and looting should the economy be destroyed.
The more sophisticated and accustomed people become with the benefits and downfalls of barter, more decisions will be made to gather excess staple goods and increase skill sets in services which support daily needs. The final consideration would certainly be how much effort should be expended in developing negotiation skills in an environment where value remains in the eye of the beholder and the exchange rate remains susceptible to the varying needs of individuals.
I trust you have an opinion about bartering… I would love to see your comments.
Don Wooldridge, Author