Limits to barter

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grenfell
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Limits to barter

Post by grenfell » Wed Oct 25, 2017 9:15 pm

I think most on here are pretty open to the idea of barter and a good few ,myself included , have already conducted transactions using that system. One such example is time I've traded with a book keeper who has helped us with the accounts although now we can largely manage without and only use her for the occasional check. My brother in law has also used her but has relied on her much more but has also traded his time for her time. As a consequence he now "owes" her ten days and it's that , amongst a few other things , that has made me think about any , for want of a better term , practical limits to barter.
Bartering a jacket for tins of beans , or firewood for a hot meal are one thing but should one want to buy or sell something of a relatively high value how should one approach this. My bil has owes ten days which at £120 per day amounts to £1200 but let's say we had our sights on a a vehicle that was worth £5000 . Would that be too much or if we were selling that vehicle what sort of thing would anyone accept?
Obviously this could very easily fall into the realms of precious metals but as some of us have relatively small amounts and others eschew them completely what are the alternatives or what limits would anyone set. I understand this isn't a question that has an actual correct answer and don't expect a figure to come up as such and I don't even think I've got a figure myself.
One other thing that occurred to me once I'd started to think about this was the cost ( as opposed to value) of what we currently look at as high cost goods. If barter is carried out to about the equilivent of a couple of thousand pounds would higher cost transactions reduce and the knock on effect be that those higher cost goods see a reduction in price. And does that bring us round to currently high cost but arguably low value goods such as jewellery being traded for currently lower cost goods ? Loaf of bread for a gold ring sort of thing?
I wasn't completely sure which forum to put this in so if the moderators feel it might be better elsewhere...

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Deeps
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Re: Limits to barter

Post by Deeps » Wed Oct 25, 2017 11:39 pm

Good post, you raise some interesting issues.

I would imagine things being very fluid if we were at the bartering stage, initially I would guess it would be more the loaf of bread for a gold ring early on, if things did get properly nuts and we ended up up to our necks in the brown stuff all those who were collecting rolex's and gold rings might be looking swap them back for more practical things. While I don't really prep for 'forever' scenarios, that doesn't mean that it wouldn't happen or others might not have anything to trade for food other than their labour or whatever.

grenfell
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Re: Limits to barter

Post by grenfell » Thu Oct 26, 2017 7:03 am

Cheers , I could perhaps have made it a little clearer that the last paragraph was more a post event , post crash type of thing whereas for the most part I was wondering how much people would barter in the here and now . Would people except a transaction in the thousands being conducted without money being involved or is that too much of a risk?
I've asked about barter on other forums , often in a roundabout sort of way , and a common answer is that it's a nonstarter , it'd never work , few people today have anything material or any skills worth bartering. While there may be an element of truth I still think it's a concept to embrace before , for example , cash is replaced. Learn to swim before the ship starts sinking sort of thing.
Edit , forgot to say there's also the tax implications of bartering if we do everything fully by the book. That's an absolute minefield far as I can see.

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Brambles
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Re: Limits to barter

Post by Brambles » Thu Oct 26, 2017 7:45 am

It's an interesting question and I suppose a lot of it boils down to trust. You have to trust the other person to keep their side of the bargain and trust them to return the favour. I could see large exchanges happening in a cashless society, in fact they already do. Where cash has little value people offer and pay with their time or skills.
I'm not entirely sure it would work in the present on a large scale because time and goods are too easy to purchase with money and most people simply do not have the time because they are busy earning that money.
I've bartered in a small way many times and I would be happy to barter bigger.
Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain~anon

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Deeps
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Re: Limits to barter

Post by Deeps » Thu Oct 26, 2017 9:19 am

As well as bartering there are favours, people help each other out without any formal arrangements, these are people that you generally know anyway which makes things easier. Mutual support/cooperation would probably take many forms after some kind of 'event' and bartering would probably be a useful way to do things, probably driven by necessity. Then it would come down to the mindset of the barterers, whether they are desperate or keen to establish a more long term arrangement or the like.

dazthechippy
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Re: Limits to barter

Post by dazthechippy » Thu Oct 26, 2017 11:34 am

done a bit of bartering myself, im a chippy, my mate is a plumber/sparky.

on his jobs where he's needed a hand and called me in to do things to help him expedite the job - he takes payment from the customer as its his job and has agreed that in the price he quoted - he doesn't pay me anything as its useful for me to have him owing me a few days here and there.

we give each other the option of days or money - all based on a day's labour, i do 2 for him, he owes me two days.

generally we only trade in days, anything less is too binary and complex.

thats on the basis our days are worth the same £ rate, if it was a prepping type barter I think you have to negotiate that out at the time, most people know what things are worth to them but the "how desperate for it are you?" comes into it for sure..

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peejay
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Re: Limits to barter

Post by peejay » Thu Oct 26, 2017 2:08 pm

I guess it all comes down to supply & demand as well. I remember being shocked to hear the stories of the Gold Rush days where the "entrepreneurial" (if that's what you call them) went out there not digging for gold but selling shovels/pans/buckets/boots etc. for hundreds of dollars each (one price list I've seen from 1848 listed a pair of boots at $100 - $3017 equivalent today!). Granted you shouldn't expect to pay "round the corner" prices for goods that have been shipped by horse & carriage for hundreds/thousands of miles, but it was still a case of "you can't do without these so I can charge what I want".

If you have a particularly useful skill, and two people want that skill at the same time, then I guess the highest bidder (whoever offers the most in return) wins if it comes down to looking after your own family.

jansman
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Re: Limits to barter

Post by jansman » Thu Oct 26, 2017 3:50 pm

A 'real time' SHTF example of bartering was during the Argentine financial collapse in 2001. The ' corallito' as it was called basically impounded folks money in the banks.A bit like the Greek situation recently - but worse.The author ( web name Ferfal) well known back then on the US survival forums,stated that barter became the INITIAL form of trading,as there was no liquid cash.Large markets sprang up and people traded.For a while.

Then it became apparent that it was an unwieldy system.If say,you had a need for aspirin,and you had two dozen eggs to trade that day.You find the fella with the aspirin - the only one there- but he does not want eggs,as he has laying fowls of his own.

Quite rapidly though,everyone became a currency trader.When the government had converted any US Dollars in folks saving accounts for their own worthless peso,they allowed limited withdrawals.People spent it on anything they could,but traded for foreign currency where possible,US dollars,even Euros.

Then everyone became a gold,and to a lesser extent,silver dealer.The barter markets had a dealer every other stall Ferfal wrote.They would even take sections of necklaces or rings for cash,leaving you with the rest to trade another day.It was not the 24ct ring for one tin of tomatoes that many Preppers envisage come SHTF!

The author said that had he had more notice of The Crash he would have stored significantly more food as first priority, and then gold.That situation actually happened.
In three words I can sum up everything I have learned about life: It goes on.

Robert Frost.

jansman
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Re: Limits to barter

Post by jansman » Thu Oct 26, 2017 5:25 pm

In three words I can sum up everything I have learned about life: It goes on.

Robert Frost.

grenfell
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Re: Limits to barter

Post by grenfell » Thu Oct 26, 2017 5:38 pm

I seem to recall some years ago about a Japanese firm trading with a foreign firm and no money changed hands , they took goods as payment. Rather wish I could remember more details but it does illustrate that bartering can work on a large scale even if such a thing is a rareity . That said I do think most people would baulke at the prospect of larger transactions. Part of that is mentioned by jansman , that of someone having goods that someone else wants. Going back to my brother in law and the £1200 debt for a moment. For no better reason than I watched a report on poaching the other night where it said a deer carcass is worth £100 let's suppose he offered a dozen deer as payment. Certainly worth the money but the number of people who would want a dozen deer is probably somewhat more limited. Ok so others might or would trade a single animal but there's the time and effort involved.
I've read the article jansman mentioned ( was it linked here by him?) and it does make interesting reading. Does seem to back up the PM's argument. If it's the article I'm thinking of I seem to remember that guns also became sought after and "valuable" .
I've bartered goods for other goods and have also traded time in the same way as Daz talks about ( I'm a chippy too by the way) which in a stable nothing hitting any sort of fan type of way is probably the most likely form of barter that will or does take place. It's certainly far more convient than having to retrade dead deer.
Thanks for the replies.

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