If the world worked on a barter system, how would you fare? Would you have services to barter? Would you be successful, or would you struggle?
It is a lazy day in May. Abela is visiting her maternal grandmother’s house for the Summer vacation. The house is full with twenty cousins, nine uncles and four aunts. It is lots of fun to play but she misses her books. So one afternoon, after lunch, she walks into one of her favorite uncle’s room in the second floor of the house. He sits on a small coral blue sofa with a magazine. Abela walks close to the sofa and says,” I am kind of bored of playing and almost done with my books which I brought from home. So will you get two books from your friend’s book store?I want to read ‘The Black Beauty’ by Anna Sewell and ‘The Phantom of Toll booth’ by Norton Juster.
He looks at me, smiles, leans back to the soft cushion of the couch and says, “Sure I will bring the books for you and in exchange you have to do me a favor.”
Abela does not care about the favor as long as she can have the books. So with lots of excitement and high hope she slid into the sofa,moves her bang to one side and asks ” What do you want me to do?”
He replies,” You have to complete the third chapter of your math book, solve all the twenty multiplication questions and memorize the time-table.”
What a bargain! Abela thinks but she gives him a small smile and says,” Sure I will.” Then she drags her feet to the study room in the left-wing of the house to look for her math book. Abela thinks hard about the bargain with her uncle and she wants to make sure if that is a right approach. So she looks around for her grand- mother and tells her about the bartering.Her grand mother smiles, pulls Abela closer and says, ” Do you know the Gardner who comes in the week- ends to water the plants and trim the grasses? We also have a deal with him.After he finishes his work, we give him rice, vegetables and clothes for his family. So if you finish your math home work then your uncle will buy the books.”
That comparison sounds more reasonable, so Abela goes back to the study to finish her math.
The Barter system has been used for centuries and long before the money was invented. It goes back all the way to 6000 BC when goods were exchanged for tea, weapons, spices and goats or chicken. Today battering is global. There are over 250,000 companies in USA involve in this exchange. Parents batter with their kids in daily basis either to help the children eat healthy, or to do good in the class or to finish their homework on time.
China provides Congo its infrastructure, hospitals in exchange for a slice of share of Congo’s precious natural resources.
A trade agreement between India and Russia where Indian products can be bartered for Russian defense import.
Even in the entertainment industry bartering is popular. In the movie the main character sometimes use a particular brand of drink or vehicle or a food item to promote.
So I think Barter system is very useful and a good idea. For the companies it increases the sales, improves the cash flows, enhance productivity, builds customer loyalty and in a community it fosters human contact. Barter system is very economical, a clever way to save money and useful for the parties that don’t have a strong cash position.