Cash has become this imaginary concept. Its value was once tied to gold but then the government removed the gold standard. Then it became just pieces of paper and metal that we exchanged for goods. Today we barely use physical money and instead use debit cards and credit cards. It’s now become this imaginary thing that has this arbitrary value to it. A bunch of bankers deem what that value is depending on how rich they want to get.
Bartering is the act of exchanging goods or services with someone for goods or services they can offer. Bartering gives goods and services a real value. The values are based on how difficult something is to obtain or do. The two people that are bartering are the ones that determine the value of those goods are services, not some banker or corporation.
Bartering for a long time has had a reputation for something only poor people did. If you couldn’t pay for a service you worked it off. Like washing dishes to pay for the meal at the restaurant. It seems to gain in popularity when the economy suffers. This time is no different.
Food swaps in particular are making a comeback and gaining in popularity. People bring excess food that they’ve either made or grown and swap it for food that they want or need. It’s a great idea because in our urban environments and busy schedules there is no way that we can make and grow everything we need, so why not barter with the extra you produce?
But it doesn’t stop with food. Here in the Bay Area we now have a time bank that allows you to provide services to someone who needs them and you can bank your time to get services you need done. This actually creates a whole new non-money based economy. Your time is equal to everyone elses’ time.
We barter when we can. During our year without groceries we used it to get items we couldn’t always get. If we have stuff to get rid of we trade it for things we need. It works out for everyone.