If you take a moment from your busy schedule to think about the history of money, you may remember how we humans used to barter whereas nowadays we deal with payday loans, hefty mortgages, credit cards and ultra-stressful lives. Do you think our predecessors wandered the countryside, while out hunting, worrying about how they would get to the end of the month without a payday loan?
Of course our predecessors did have basic survival concerns like being able to find food, but they lived in a very different type of society where bartering was used for mutual advantage.
So what is bartering? Bartering is when we exchange services or resources with others, to suit both parties. So let’s say that I am good with wood, and I make excellent hunting spears from wood that your family needs to have. But I need clothes, which is what you do best, so it is a perfect barter and both of us are happy. So what went wrong to bring us from a seemingly perfect solution to a highly challenging mortgage, debt and payday loans driven society?
We could say that we have evolved; this however opens a whole can of worms in terms of opinions and discussions. A guy or girl who needs to avail of payday loans every now and again but is either skilled or willing to give time to another person or organisation, may be very happy to avoid taking out a loan but instead barter his/her time and skill.
The reality is that for an average working 21st century person bartering doesn’t often appear as a viable option; at least not when there is an urgent financial need. Bartering is out there but you need to have an awareness of the relevant associations, companies or communities. What’s more is that barter is potentially big business, with the modern day father of barter; Tom Mc Dowell quoting it as a 6 billion dollar business in America alone.