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?
Photographers, artists, poets: show us SKILL.
The reason we have money is because bartering doesn’t really work on a large scale. It’s fine in small communities where people care about each other but once the scale is enlarged it’s not long before poverty & deprivation set in.
If you have a skill that everyone needs you have a better chance of survival, construction, medicine, tailoring for instance but even then you need to get your materials somehow.
If you are an artist, poet or photographer you might find yourself struggling. It’s not so easy to barter a poem for a loaf of bread. It may work if the baker is in love or getting married, but he certainly won’t want one every day.
I could always depend on my teaching skills & keep a tab of who has done something for me recently & who hasn’t, but I don’t think it would be long before things started to get confused or difficult. Maybe I would invent a token system to keep check on who was in debt to me & who wasn’t. I might decide to call my tokens ‘Money’!
Food production would quickly start to dominate the pecking order & I don’t think it would be long before people were fighting to establish control of land & farming rights, leaving the less skilled or aggressive to beg for farm & maintenance work in return for food & settling rights. It might end up being called something like ‘The Feudal System‘.
Does this all start to sound familiar?
Of course all this has already happened, which is why we had to fight for elected governments, funded by money, generated by taxes & yes it’s still corrupt & a bit stinky, but all in all it works. Generally most people can make a living of some kind, not in all countries but probably in most.
I can cook, sew, paint, repair things, read Tarot, Rune Stones, I-Ching & Astrological Charts & I’m very able to learn anything new that might be useful, but this is not the case for everyone. Bartering our way through life is a nice romantic ideal but the reality is it just doesn’t work in the way it needs to for everyone to survive.
Try Bartering With These Guys on the next page …
14 thoughts on “Barter System: Or Feudal System?”
I’d barter for a tarot reading.
Me too. I’d barter for a tarot deck as well at the moment. All my cards were stolen when I got burgled a few weeks ago 😦 They even took my runes. How weird is that 🙂
So true, but it would be nice if small-scale bartering was more readily available/accepted. Perhaps you can’t get bread for a poem, but why not a song for a poem? 🙂
Yes indeed. I’ve done a lot of bartering over the years especially when traveling on the festival circuit. It can work very well on a small scale & is a very pleasant way to trade. A song for a poem is a lovely idea 🙂
Very true. It’s a bit like communism, as in a commune, everyone sharing everything equally. It works on a small scale (say 20 or 30 people) but the moment you try it with a country you get a corrupt totalitarian state. Bartering on a large scale, as you say, was tried and evolved into money.
I guess I could barter a few web page designs for a turkey dinner…