The Barter System

I had been considering for some time about writing a blog on the barter method. David mentioned it in one of his blogs and reminded me I wanted to write about this subject.

Most of my life has been affected by bartering. From childhood until I married, We lived on a farm, which is another form of a family business. From the time we were old enough, we did our part. We grew up with little in our early days, it was the same for everyone, except the rich. Even with the lack in some areas, it was a happy, carefree time.

All the neighbor’s children would come over on Sunday, and we played baseball in the field. We would play games until after dark; remember red rover and giant step? We all had to help weed and harvest from our huge garden. We had a roof over our heads, love, and food. There were eleven of us, nine girls and two boys. Girls ruled! How we acquired the necessities we did not have, daddy and granddaddy traded our vegetables, hogs, and other things for beef, milk, butter, cheese, etc. With all we did not have, we never went hungry.

During hard times, people would need help. A neighbor or friend would need to have a fence built or mended or a barn constructed or repaired, and there was also the tobacco: harvesting, preparing for curing, and then the processing for the market; neighbors would take a day or two to help them out. When it was our time, the men would come to us to build, repair, harvest, or anything else that was required. On the days, the men were helping their neighbors, mothers, aunts, and grandmothers would bring some of the best food you ever ate. This to children were hard times, but happy times still.

After I married, we still used the barter system, even after we opened the garage, and even today, there are times of trading. My husband was a mechanic and a jack of all trades. He would trade or barter work for meats, milk, and bakery products, and anything we needed. Sometimes he would give someone a car part he had saved, for repairs we required on the furnace, the plumbing, and swapped an old car for my first electric automatic washing machine. We were young in love and probably foolish in many ways. We had a growing family, so there were always needs. We took it all in stride and made our way. These are only a few examples of how the barter system worked for us.

I had not thought of what the definition of the barter system is because we lived it. This definition I came to understand from other research and from MBN Market Business news, Mint, and the Bible.

What is a Barter or a Barter System?

Barter is the exchange of products and services for other products and services. In a barter system, people do not use the money for transactions. The verb ‘to barter’ means to exchange goods and services for other products and services.

To barter also means you can haggle or argue over the price or the value of the item you want. If you do not wish to pay the price they ask, you try to get them to lower the cost. In open markets, this is done quite frequently. If you wanted a specific piece of cloth and felt their value was too high, you could eventually talk them into lowering the price or value.

The way I understand the definitions from the Cambridge Dictionary:

  • “1. A barter is considered a verb, meaning to trade goods for anything but money.
  • “2. The implementation of the system of barter is considered a noun.
  • “3. Bartering is considered a verb because you are in the action of agreeing on the price of an item.”

The Barter System is not Commonly used today.

It is still a method that can be readily put into practice when a need arises. Like when the economy is way down, and people reach out to each other to supply their needs. Like now, with the COVID virus and lock down some brave souls’ aids and assists where they can.

The Meaning of the word Barter

I found the meaning of barter in the online etymology dictionary. Etymology is where you find words and, their beginnings, and what they mean. Words can diversify over the years.

The term barter was derived from an old French word Barater, which was said: “to cheat, barter, deceive, haggle.” This French word also meant “to have sexual intercourse.

I think I will learn more from etymology, looks like a good source of understanding for many words.

A little history of the Barter System

As I earlier said, I lived the barter system. In my day from 1944, this was still a recovering time from the wall street crash of 1930. People found themselves with little or no money. Barter became a way of life. You shared or traded what goods or services you had for what someone else had. From what I found through my research; it is fascinating. According to Mint.co Bartering started by the Mesopotamia tribes in ancient history (600 BC.) The barter system may go further back in time. Since there is no one we can find to corroborate this fact, we will go with 600BC.

Bartering dates back a long way; as far back as 6000 BC, and probably earlier. Mesopotamia tribes introduced the system, which the Phoenicians later adopted.

From reading in the Bible, the Phoenicians also had a type of barter system. They had ships and imported and exported their goods by bartering and trading. Some of the things they dealt with – metals spices, textiles, and papyrus. They also traded purple cloth, perfume, and fish, among other things. Ezekiel 26:16 called them the “princes of the sea” According to Mint.co: At times, human skulls were bartered, ugh.

The Babylonians exchanged goods for spices, weapons, tea, and food.

It is said salt was another medium of exchange for services rendered. From what I understand, salt was of such value the soldiers were compensated with it: thus, comes to the word “sal dare,” meaning to give salt, thus came to be the name of a soldier. When we research, we find a lot of interesting tidbits.

As I learn more about the barter system, I find things from other times and eras. I think of the fur trappers. They would bring donkeys, laden with furs down from the mountains to the trading post to trade the hides for the necessary everyday foods and survival supplies. Also, bartering was done during colonial times. They would exchange what they could get their hands on, wheat and grains, deer skins, and coonskin hats, and musket balls. They were riflemen and hunted for their survival – food, and protection from wild animals and bears.

According to Mint.com:

“In the Middle Ages, Europeans traveled the globe to barter crafts and furs in exchange for silks and perfumes.”

“Colonial Americans exchanged musket balls, deer skins, and wheat. When money was invented, bartering did not end, it became more organized.”

During the Great Depression in the 1930s, many people had little or no money. They would, therefore, exchange food, for example, for services. One person would receive some food in exchange for one hour’s worth of gardening or cleaning.

There are still Advantages of Bartering in this day and time

There are significant advantages to bartering today. Refrigerators can be traded for televisions, and any new items like computers, work tools of all types can be bartered. There is a wealth of modern technology to learn, so the one who holds this knowledge can trade training for another service or good. People can now use their homes in trade for a vacation in another state or another country. There is a less financial burden for a motel or hotel room by swapping their residence with another person’s home. Vehicles loaned out to someone who needs to travel far, and they can, at the same time, transport something for the one whom the vehicle has been borrowed. Bartering can be a win-win

Let us apply the barter system to Compumatrix. We are trading our time to learn what they freely teach and using it in the ecosystem; they have prepared for us that, in turn, we help to build this company. In our situation, some money is necessary, but this is for cryptocurrencies we purchase for ourselves. I am thankful to be a part of this group in my prime years.

About the author

Carmen is a wife of 59 yrs., mother of five children, grandmother of 10 grandchildren and great grandmother to 6 great-grandchildren. She embraced the world of technology and became a member and a committed advocate of Compumatrix International.

Comments

  1. Very good blog Carmen! I dare say we all have bartered at some point in our lives. I hear some people at yard sales etc. offer something in trade they own. It is fascinating to watch really and kind of funny to see. I’m not that way, If I put a price on something then that is what I want for it. Same at a yard sale or auction, I pay what they ask if I want it bad enough, if not I leave it. lol

    1. Good job, on your blog, Carmen. I found it very interesting and understandable bartering on a farm, because so much of the product can and is expensive. When, I was a teenager they had developed a tutoring program for teenagers for credits toward college, and we were able to help kids that had low reading scores. The communitieswere always finding a way to keep us busy, its a shame they don;t have programs for teenagers today.It provided a good sense of responsibility. Thanks, Carmen enjoyed reading your blog.

  2. This gives me time for reminiscing. When we were younger, we didn’t have much money so buying new things was out of the question. The only way of buying used was to barter for them. This was before garage saling was so popular. On occasion, I still barter with people when there is a chance. Years ago, I would cut firewood for people to have something to barter for.

  3. Some time ago I read the book Sapiens of Yuval Noah Harari and he writes in that book about the first forms of a society. In these societies money didn;t exist and everything was traded for something else that was needed to live. He writes that this sytem existed for a long period of time and these societies functioned and flourished very well.

  4. holy cow — what a great read — and oh the memories and thoughts from a much Simpler and in my opinion better time — but Red Rover and oh the games of baseball football and hockey back in the day on the street or in orourkes yard — then one of us put up a hoop and then we had Horse and bball played in the day — and walking all over north stlouis back when you could — wow — awesome stuff and yes will be here more than once because trading and bartering in each moment still today is that important — just may not call it bartering ??? thank you CP —

  5. I, too, grew up on a farm. My mother was a great one for helping the neighbors by
    helping them with their harvesting, and lending her truck to them. My step-dad married my mother, bought a farm in Idaho and then just dropped us off there and he left. He was not much help. Not even financially. My mother raised calves for the war effort. She raised chickens and traded eggs for groceries. I remember many times when she would be short one or two eggs and she would say,”Maxine go squeeze the chickens, we need a couple of more eggs.” She would sell or trade milk or cream for things we needed too. She always made it fun so I really never felt neglected or deserted. I have really fond memories of shucking hay and trading work for work with the neighboring farms.

  6. Bartering was certainly a way of life for my parents and grandparents – particularly using food and labour for exchanges. My grandfather became rather famous offering his services as a veterinarian around the countryside – even though he had no official schooling, he had an innate knowledge and skills that worked well for the animals he was able to help. Usually he left with a loaf of bread or some garden produce or a chicken for his time and efforts. Money being scarce didn’t become such an issue with folks when they were able to barter!

  7. Wonderful blog..thankyou. In the UK in the City of Salisbury where I lived until 2000. There was a ‘Lets’ (bartering) scheme started in 1993 and I remember that a lot of my friends who enjoyed alternative therapies but couldn’t afford to pay for them due to a limited income, would offer babysitting, gardening, decorating, cleaning services…which was very useful. It also meant that no one missed out.

    Wiki says…

    A local exchange trading system (also local employment and trading system or local energy transfer system; abbreviated LETS) is a locally initiated, democratically organised, not-for-profit community enterprise that provides a community information service and records transactions of members exchanging goods and services by using locally created currency. [
    1] LETS allow people to negotiate the value of their own hours or services,
    [2] and to keep wealth in the locality where it is created.

  8. Bartering is very much a useful skill I find. When I travel, it seems to be of a more common occurence among the markets when you are looking to purchase items. I remember when i was younger on a school trip to France. I was looking at some trainers within one of the stalls and I probably paid more than the intial asking price but I got lost in the fun of aiming to haggle the price down.

    End result is I got my shoes which made me very happy but I ended up paying a few extra euros when lost in the madness and fun!

  9. Your blog brings a smile to my face, Carmen. I too lived on a farm and bartering was a way of life then as it has been most of my life. Being a massage therapist I have bartered and exchanged my gifts of working on bodies for many of my daily needs. Chiropractic and hair services to birthday gifts. It has been an awesome life engaging in exchange.
    Indeed, Compumatrix has taught me many new skills for the time I have invested, and for that I am grateful.

    1. Thank you so much for your blog Carmen. When I hear of the things that you were bartering, you really made me think of the earlier times when things were, a bit fresher and more wholesome. We can only wish that bartering was more prominent in the larger cities. What I would give for fresh produce and meat that is not filled with growth hormones and steroids to keep it from rotting when coming from all over the country. Thanks for the history lesson on bartering that was some read.

  10. Carmen was a great blog. Thank you for bring back all those childhood memories. My grandma use to tell us stories. She lived on a farm and that was a way of life. Before she passed I would ask hers stories about when she was young and record her. The memories she left me with are so amazing. But bartering has been around for a while and people still barter today. I have friends I barter with now for Virtual Biofeedback sessions. They have gifts I can use and I have something they can use. Win, win.

  11. Carmen excellent blog. I have done a lot of bartering throughout my life and I think it’s an excellent way to get what you want by providing a service or item to somebody else that they want. I also really like the privacy element that comes along with bartering. It’s just between the parties involved.

  12. Fantastic Blog Carmen, yes bartering has a great place for all of us. I just recently traded some beef for fresh eggs from my egg lady. Her kids had never tried fresh beef other than from the store but no ware near as good as farm raised just like the eggs.

  13. Carmen, I enjoyed this post so much. I am aware of the barter system and the fact that it has been in place many thousands of years. But I have not used it often myself. It is a simple and effective system for helping people to get along with each other. I can imagine thousands of years ago conversations between decent people went like this.
    Person 1: “You have it and I want it.” Person 2: “Well you have that and I want that.”
    Person 1: “Okay, I will trade you this much of it for that much of that.” Person 2: “Deal.” Person 1: “Deal.” Both: “Let’s eat!” Lol. Simpler times for sure.

  14. Great blog Carmen and who knows, maybe this way of living is on the way back, at least within smaller communities. This recent situation with the lockdowns etc. made people stop and think about getting back to their roots. I heard about a survey where people were asked how they would like to live if money was not a subject and the majority replied that they would like to live close to the nature and be self-sufficient, then of course bartering would go hand in hand with this life style.

  15. I thoroughly enjoyed the read. I always enjoy learning more about language and how the use of certain words emerged and spread. Carmen, your history is also very interesting. Sometimes I think we would all be better off if we could barter instead of using money. Maybe it would make people more appreciative of what they have and more aware of what they actually need as opposed to what they want. For some time in a previous business we tried to work with a Barter Group. Their idea was great but it became quite costly as they (don’t they all) wanted money as a percentage fee for their services.

  16. Well this brings back memories from elementary school I bartered marbles all the time I remember playing marbles where you make a circle and drop it in but also trading them.
    I also remember a time in history when the people would use animal traps and trade furs and that was form of currency back then, some skilled trappers did very well for themselves.

  17. Wonderful Post Carmen, My thoughts.

    Bartering in Business

    There is no set pattern or rule as to what can be traded for what, aside from those goods and services which are deemed illegal.
    To promote bartering, and make it easier for companies to interact, barter exchanges and barter markets were established.
    These systems enable bartering to be taken to a new level by offering “barter credits” which are used like cash within that specific network. Compumatrix started with those credits.
    When you “sell” something you get paid in credits which you can then use to “pay” for something from another vendor if necessary or bank until needed at a future time.
    What do we have here at Compumatrix, we have CDAP, We have VPCs
    In the traditional barter system, you would be forced to search for a trade partner who has what you need and needs what you provide. Not with Compumatrix
    This method is easier than direct trade since you can acquire new customers who might not have anything you need in return. But they do have CASH.
    You record your transactions the same way you would as cash in your accounting software and there is no learning curve, so you can essentially hit the ground running.
    Congratulations to those that have seen the Potential.

  18. Trading is this for that as long as time can remember. Many take to it naturally and others it has to grow on them as they are not born negotiators. Bartering peer-to-peer is a favorite pastime, and crypto assets that allow this are even better. Imagine being able to send at a blink of an eye digital values just like a fancy bank transfer, with much lower cost and fees. This for that folks is all it is, get with the program sooner it heads to the moon.

  19. Great post. I regularly use a Barter type system for my self-employed business. It is not always to my financial benefit but as I mainly use it to help the elderly or those on low incomes, financial reward is not may aim. By offering to do some work that I can see desperately needs doing and suggesting that I need something in return, for example an old, non-functioning lawn seeder, they are happier to trade that for the work than they would be accepting any form of charity. It is often a little like a tightrope walk but usually works out well in the end. My favourite customer likes to bake and always insists on giving me a slice or two of her latest creation, for that I will change her lightbulbs, rewire a plug, clean the drains, whatever I can see that needs attention and would cost her a large chunk of her pension to get someone else in to do it.

  20. Bless you Michael. That is a very needed and kind thing you do. Bartering is not just about money, but doing things as you graciously do, makes for a very rewarding transaction.

  21. Great article Carmen. We have always done a certain amount of bartering. I am a painter and often, over the years, I have taken this and that instead of cash for a paint job.
    My wife gives eggs to folks and gets some of their vegetables in return. We used to take care of other people’s animals when they took vacations, and in turn, when we needed to be away, they took care of our animals.

  22. Great blog Carmen. Your right that bartering isn’t that common place in todays time. When I thought a bit deeper I realized my friends and neighbors have been doing a type of “trade” for years but never classified it as a barter. I also want to add that our trade involves a smile and friendship.
    For years we have traded babysitting on the weekends. My friends and I would take turns babysitting each others kids on weekends so we didn’t have to pay the big bucks for babysitters all the time. This could be a form of bartering since no cash was exchanged.

  23. Very informative blog Carmen. You explained the barter system very well. In earlier days when there was no currency or currency is not present with people living in villages and remote areas, the barter system helped the community in general and individuals in particular. You give your product and in exchange, I will give mine or you do this particular service and in barter, I will do the service I am familiar with.

  24. What an excellent read Carmen. It brings back wonderful memories from my early childhood.
    My grandparents did this, they lived in a country town and were trading fruit for veggies or helpers in the field were paid with food…and so on… I loved those memories, life was so much better, no worries and no rush like in these modern days. My daughter is steel using it these days trading “Dog training” for “website setting”…why not if you can… 🙂
    I believe that Compumatrix will bring these days back into our lives in a different way,
    we will trade our time to learn and build and have a much – much better future than we can ever imagine.

  25. A very good blog, Carmen, The barter system seems to be outdated but , in reality, it is still practised . Many would call it “trading” . Nowadays, we refer to trading as selling goods or services in exchange for money. Others are very active in trading currencies and make money in the process. The concept of barter always prevails – at some point, we exchange something for another ( goods or services) and it does not always have to be for money.

  26. The barter system eliminates “middle man”, This was not an issue during those early days before the discovery of the money system or item of value to replace this system.
    Initially, people perceived this as strange or weird and later on, it became normal and become part of life and then it became the only way to do the transaction.
    The “middle man ” has grown so BIG that the system that was put in place has been so rewarding only for middle man but not for the seller or the buyer. At the same time, it got so much control over the seller and buyer who depends on the system. This is where the crypto world came in to show a clear threat and also went so far in destroying the narrative set for protecting the system that middleman thrive upon. Our CDAP will also be going to be set to show people a clear path in destroying the unwanted middleman and their system

  27. This blog brought back a lot of memories from the 50’s. Well researched and presented Carmen, kudos. Coming in here has brought many long forgotten times when food was scarce (in our household). Neighbors were always helping the “skinny kids” who lived on the corner who would run errands, wash cars, babysit, etc.

    Bartering has a history that goes back to the beginning of civilization and is still practiced today. I used to trade for services in the Hotel business. It was pretty common to split the bill with cash and offering a weekend away from their children, or a deal on hosting a wedding or family reunion. Today, there is a lot of it going on here in North Carolina.

    The trading of assets here at Compumatrix is a pretty simple transaction. Looking forward to being able to help my fellow travelers.

  28. Very well said, Carmen! I experienced bartering in real estate transactions. For example, I had a couple who really desired the televisions in the home and the seller said yes, in exchange for dinners at the restaurant the buyers owned. I realized from your blog that bartering is an energy exchange as is money. It is gratitude for giving and receiving.

  29. What an interesting article, and fascinating topic, Carmen! Bartering is an important part of our human history indeed! Like you, I grew up in a huge farming family, with my father also supplementing by carpentry. Bartering was a common payment method, and it helped us to survive through many circumstances. I think bartering has mutated into a very different kind of “animal” with technology running the show – much more corporate now. But it will always play a huge role in the lives of certain sectors of society – those who even today ( maybe especially in these times) rely on trading goods and services with their family, friends and neighbours!

  30. Enjoyed the Barter system of life you lived, as did I on many an occasion but not to the extent you have! It was said in Adam and Eve’s day; I will give you some of this for some of that…” And so you are right it has been around from the beginning. I too have dealt in quite a few auto parts for trades in services, or other things I needed or someone else was in need of and had no money. It is true there once was a cashless society, and the new term for that just means no physical exchange of money… very good thoughts Carmen!!

  31. Very well researched and well presented article.Carmen thank you for detailing the history of bartering.Batering is still practiced in various Villages and towns in India.There are annual fairs when folks bring their goods for exchange with other folks wares.these fairs last 3 to 4 days. In the united states there have been Barter Clubs/Exchanges. The IRS considers barter exchange to be taxable event.Some states have imposed Sales tax and Income tax on barters.

  32. Thanks for the post. I thinks money is also a barter system because it now represents the work and skills you have to offer the world but it is a far more generic means of trading something valuable that you have, for something that you want, that someone else has and quite possibly somewhere else in the world.

  33. Great blog Carmen, though I do have to disagree when you say that bartering is not used much these days. In Perth it has become quite the way to get goods and services without shelling out hard earned cash. One on-line site, ‘the Beer Economy’ encourages people to barter to have services done using beer or any other item as one side of the equation. It’s a great idea and I have noticed it is extremely popular.

  34. I enjoyed very much reading your blog, carmen. again you take us back to your early years just to share with us a lesson or teaching. This time about bartering.
    I have this, I want that let’s make a deal. Bartering is fun when it’s done in good spirit.
    Why keep to one’s self a useless, if someone else might need it.

  35. In the 1960s, there was no watch-repairing shop in our stanitsa ( a village of 18000 people ) but everyone knew that my father was good at it. Watches were quite expensive back then compared to people’s incomes so they were very happy when dad succeeded. He refused to take payment saying he liked the challenge but women wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. They would come to my mom with big beautiful eggs which she gratefully accepted.

  36. Carmen, it seems that everyone really likes your post. I will join the crowd. It also seems like it would be somewhat ticklish to explain the bartering system, but you made it appear so easy. If you are anywhere close to the same position in which I currently find myself, it is time to get into your bartering shoes and pony-up. Trouble is that I need to pay a couple of bills which means I need some cash. So how do you barter for cash? Isn’t that a little more involved? I was thinking that I could barter with you to get $50 and then barter with a couple of other people for whatever they can afford until I reach the amount that I need. As far as my side of the deal goes, just let me know of something you need and I will find a way to make it happen. Is there something called an IOU barter since I am really in a hurry to get this bill paid? Looks like we already need a Barter CPA or maybe a Forensic Bartering person…LOL!!    

  37. This article was very helpful and informative by educating me on the bartering system that has been around and been used for hundreds of years. This is where the concept of trading and risk assessment has come from. With bartering you trade in hopes of getting the best deal, but you never really know if you are going to get the best deal or not. This very similar to buying and selling cryptocurrencies.

  38. so much fun rehashing different fun times in the past and realizing just how simple some of those times were and how bartering for just about anything was part of growing up and maturing — heck i remember only having 2 ball gloves and 6 of playing the field and 4 of us lost every time we played 2 won and wore the glove — great reading —

  39. I enjoyed very much reading your blog, Carmen, again you take us back to your early years just to share with us a lesson or teaching. This time about bartering.
    I have this, I want that let’s make a deal. Bartering is fun when it’s done in good spirit.
    Why keep to one’s self a useless, if someone else might need it.

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