DISQUS Doodlings - No, bartering never left the economic scene - Granite Grok

DISQUS Doodlings – No, bartering never left the economic scene


Will the pandemic bring back bartering?  The short and to the point answer is: it never went away. Our economic systems started with it and it has continued to this day: two people eyeing what the other person has, figuring out the relative values of each thing, and then trying to do a swap of “equal” value.

At least for the sake of the deal where the reality is “the other guy has something of MORE value to ME than what I have in my hand.” When both believe that, a deal is done. Treehugger tries to make the pitch that things are going to change now because of the Pandemic.

My take is that bartering is still bartering – only that the values of certain things have changed because of supply and demand (what would YOU be willing to barter for a canister of Chlorox disinfectant wipes? For a 20 item box of N95 respirators? You could add toilet paper and paper towels but I’m betting that the perceived barter (and dollar) value has dropped as more of those items are coming back on line in the grocery and big-box stores.

Two things here – one I just discovered in rereading the article and one observation I’ve made over and over here.  First the former:

In Marietta, Georgia, Clifton Lawley is putting his part-time foraging hobby to good use. He’s been posting pictures of his freshly harvested morels (pictured above) on Instagram, asking for trade, and has in turn received duck eggs from a librarian friend and spring vegetables from a nearby farm. In return for delivering the highly-coveted mushrooms to a high-end restaurant in Atlanta, he and his lady friend were treated to a delicious multi-course meal. “I always prefer a barter to a buy,” Lawley adds. “Any opportunity to opt out of capitalism.”

Er, nope.  bartering IS capitalism – trading one thing for another based on value but simply leaving currency/money out of the transaction. He’s trading his time and skill at finding a particular kind of mushroom, in the last example, for the time and cooking skill of another.  Capitalism at its lowest form.  What Lawley is doing isn’t outside of “capitalism” – its just tax avoidance (and only because he thinks he can get away with it as the post above does mention that bartering (here in the US) is a taxable activity.

The second item: a discussion of currency just as a transaction medium or as value in and of itself, or the measurement of a person? It seems that many Socialists, while decrying it being used as the latter, still believe it IS the “measure of a man” and still decries its usage (Go ahead, ask Bernie about the value of his multiple houses). Anyways, a four-way discussion ensued and there’s more here than what I normally paste in. I’ve done so because it shows a split between those of that are capitalist leaning and those that wish to throw out all vestiges of it (even as they mangle basic definitions (above). Emphasis mine:

Ian Watson  -> Marty • 21 days ago
Currency is humankind’s single greatest invention.

fcfcfc ->   Ian Watson • 21 days ago
Currency is mans greatest downfall.

atmusky ->  fcfcfc • 20 days ago
Interesting statement. What exactly do you mean? How exactly do you think humanity could exist beyond the level of hunter gather tribes without some medium of exchange, which is all currency is.

fcfcfc ->  atmusky • 20 days ago • edited
I mean that something that is not real has become more import than all that is, and that is the ticket to the end.
Calling currency just a medium of exchange is like calling a human just a bunch of cells, very, very over simplistic and blind to cause and effect.
Have a nice Easter…..
208. “Currency is nothing more than religion for goods and services.

Note: fcfcfc has been on a multiyear tear that “currency” is the root of all evil in the world, especially the Capitalist West. What he never acknowledges is the Biblical admonition of “the love of money is the root of all evil”. We keep asking him what his remedy, what his replacement system might be and he never tells us. Why? He keeps telling us he’s writing a book. Most of us are putting that into the category of “vaporbook” (as in “software that is supposed to be for sale is “vaporware”).

 Ian Watson ->   fcfcfc • 20 days ago
Currency is as real as the internet or the thoughts in your head.

Currency is an extremely efficient accounting system. Without it humanity would be nothing.

fcfcfc ->   Ian Watson • 20 days ago • edited
Congratulations. I think you have just Re-created a modern definition of a capitalist.
PS: You have no concept of logic, and I LOVE that last line!! Perhaps a working definition of, “A sad person”.

And in which fcfc shows his limited view of what a Capitalist is – a love / lust for money. Period. Nothing as to how it is gathered or used. It’s a typical view of many Socialists. EVEN AS THEY USE currency as the basis for their economies (rubles, any one?).

Marty ->  Ian Watson • 20 days ago
Ian, if you measure humanity and/or yourself with currency then I can see your point. But imagine if everyone’s bank accounts and financial portfolios were reset to zero; who’d have status, who’d be “essential“? Bankers, stock brokers and accountants wouldn’t do so well. Farmers and fishermen would on the other hand. Just something to keep in the back of your mind.

A bit prescient as Government, which it should not do, split the American population into two: those that are absolutely needed and those that are meh. And as he observed, those that are REALLY needed are finally being correctly acknowledge as truly being needed (even if the bankers and bankers have more currency in their possession). But Marty has tried to continue the Socialist conflation of currency and the value of a man.

Ian Watson ->  Marty • 20 days ago
Where did I say I measure people by it? Currency is a tool. A very, very effective one. Fishers and farmers need currency just as much as anyone else. Without it, there is no easy way for them to convert the fruits of their labour into the other goods and services they need to live.

Marty ->  Ian Watson • 20 days ago
Ian and Granite. It’s ok. You like using currency. I don’t. Do your thing and I’ll do mine.

GraniteGrok ->  Marty • 20 days ago

But imagine if everyone’s bank accounts and financial portfolios were reset to zero;

Irrelevant. Not that it might not happen – nuclear war would most likely make that happen. Even with a “reset”, things and skills have VALUE. VALUE that can be traded for either other stuff or other services.

Bartering service for service is easy once the translation of one to the other is established. The other derivatives is NOT. You gonna put a bedroom bureau on your back to bring it to market to haggle for something else – only to have to haul it back if an agreement is not made.

As Ian mentioned, currency is very efficient for transactions – and that’s about it. Facilitation of transactions. And that’s ALL it is about – either directly in a transaction or indirect in being able to accumulate it for larger value transactions in the future.

Without it, you’d have to own one or more warehouses to store all that stuff for “just in case” (ad naseum)…..

Calling currency just a medium of exchange is like calling a human just a bunch of cells,

“Currency is nothing more than religion for goods and services.”

Welcome to your own cult, Bill [aka, fcfc]. Wow, just wow. You’ve been saying that for years, Bill. To date, you STILL haven’t proposed a better system or replacement. Yeah, yeah; book deal.