How it Works Gets It Wrong


In my on-going search for anything barter related, I stumbled upon an article on How Stuff that attempted to explain the concept of barter, and moving on to more modern explanations of barter, including trade exchanges and community currencies. A paragraph on the first page struck me as odd:

Pure forms of the bartering economic system are extinct. Earlier in history, large economies relied widely on a barter system, but modern economies don’t. Sure, you’ll find remnants of it in rural areas or in developing countries, but much of the world has turned its back on bartering. It turns out the old-school system has a slew of shortcomings that makes currency a more preferable option.

Jane McGrath needs to make some changes to her probably-two-years-old article. Barter is alive and well, with more and more traction being gained because of the lack of currency spread across the world. More and more people are turning to classic barter and barter exchanges to get the things they need to survive and ultimately thrive. When cash is short, it doesn’t matter if your customers have money or not anymore, what matters is if they have something you want or access to something you want. Currency was and is a substitute for real value, not value itself.


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