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July 3, 2007

Written by Bob Meyer, Editor of BarterNews

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From the desk of Bob Meyer...07/03/07

ConocoPhillips Thinking Of Barter Strategy With Venezuela

ConocoPhillips is not settling for below market compensation from the Venezuelan government on its $10 billion investment in that country. Instead they exited the nation (and their investment) so they could preserve their right to seek international arbitration.

Their strategy? Knowing that Venezuela has assets in the U.S., including refineries owned by the Venezuela state-owned oil company  (PDVSA’s Citgo Petroleum Corp.), the possibility existed of swapping ConocoPhillips oil fields in Venezuela for Citgo refineries in Illinois, Louisiana or Texas.

Real Estate Outlook

A wave of adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) that will reset later this year and next year, raises the odds that real estate mortgage defaults will continue to rise. About $515 billion of ARMs are scheduled to reset this year, and an additional $680 billion will reset in 2008, according to Bank of America. Worse, roughly three-fourths of those loans are to borrowers with poor credit histories.

Ants Aren’t Smart, But Ant Colonies Are

Individual ants lack brain power, but as a group they can accomplish complex tasks, because animals tackle problems by unconsciously exchanging cues with other animals. That mechanism allows ants to forage for food and bees to select a perfect-size hive.

The military has used swarm theory to survey dangerous areas. In one experiment, 66 robots were sent to locate six hidden objects in a building, armed with simple instructions and ways to share information. By individually pursuing basic tasks and minimizing redundancies, such as avoiding rooms that other robots already had examined, they found the objects in half an hour.

Sam Walton Would Be Proud

You never can foresee the magnitude of an idea. Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton’s initial one would pale next to today’s actuality...Americans, alone, collectively make 127 million trips to Wal-Mart each week. As global expansion continues, Wal-Mart expects to hit $500 billion in annual sales by 2010.

Global Economic Pop Coming?

“In the 16 months leading up to the election, the economy will be well oiled and optimism high. Then the lights will go out to the sound of a global economic pop.”

—Harry Aebischer on the U.S. economic outlook.

All back issues of "From the Desk...” can be accessed by clicking here.

(Please feel free to forward our newsletter to your friends and colleagues. We have a “box” at the end of the newsletter for your convenience. See you next week. . .)

Hotel Fever Strikes

Hotel construction soared last year by 64%, the biggest increase since 1994, according to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers. Room starts totaled 136,500 in 2006, as developers tried to cash in on one of the best periods of hotel profits in 25 years.

One such developer, Sky Development, will soon announce a $200 million mixed-use structure in downtown Orlando (FL), anchored by a 350-room hotel, 120 high-end residences and 515,000 square feet of office space.

Sky’s CEO, Yizhak Toledano, claims that despite all the hotel and timeshare construction in Orlando and the condo bust statewide, he sees opportunity in the city’s downtown, where development is harder because land is scarcer.

Nationwide, a PricewaterhouseCoopers lodging consultant notes, we’re entering the mature phase of the cycle. The development pipeline is accelerating, while profit growth—robust for the past three years—is now slowing as demand has softened in recent months.


ITEX Continues Business Service Expansion

ITEX Corporation (OTCBB: ITEX), a leading marketplace for cashless business transactions in North America, announced the successful transfer of information server operations to a new co-location facility in Boise (ID). It’s a switch that CEO Steven White says affords ITEX better security, higher storage capacity, and protection from natural disasters.

“Our servers were moved from their former location (in California) on a Saturday morning and returned to full service with new upgrades late Sunday afternoon. The task was accomplished with minimal inconvenience to our community of 22,000 business members,” he disclosed.

Supported by new Dell PowerEdge Servers and Cisco routers and firewalls, the upgraded systems provide service up to eight times faster than their previous high-speed systems.

“Our new co-location facility is a top-notch provider with ample bandwidth and backup power. We believe ongoing enhancements to our systems are vital to our ongoing growth initiatives,” stated White.


ANNOUNCEMENT !

Check out the BarterNews daily blog at www.barternewsblog.com for new contacts, strategies and techniques.


Youth Program Offers Circle Sentencing With Barter Incentive

The Allied Community Youth Court, now in its second year, is administered by Youth Services of Southern Wisconsin, a nonprofit agency specializing in programs for youths and their families.

Unique among the Youth Services courts, the Allied Community program uses circle sentencing, a restorative justice process that involves members of the accused’s community, including adults. All other Youth Services programs are peer courts where teens, under the guidance of an adult, determine sentences.

Youths ages 12 to 16 who live in or offend in the Allied area can be referred to youth court for such ordinance violations as curfew offenses, habitual truancy, tobacco use, trespassing or fighting. They have 909 days to complete their sentences.

“For youth offenders, standing before other teenagers to acknowledge misbehavior cuts down on the BS factor,” said Madison Police Officer Greg Rossetti.  “Kids who go through the youth court seem to stabilize their behavior, and the ones who stay on to train and serve as jurors develop leadership, public speaking, and critical thinking skills.”

The court in Darbo-Worthington is run by the Dan County Timebank Network. Youths who serve as jurors in that court earn “time dollars” that they can use to barter for services—like karate lessons or hair styling—offered by other members of the network. Timebank and Youth Services are working to merge aspects of their youth court programs, including making the time dollars available to all juvenile jurors.

"Trade is nothing but the release of what one has in abundance to obtain some other thing one wants."

By Frank Chodorov (1887–1966)

[This article is excerpted from chapter 6 of The Rise and Fall of Society.]

Part I

Wherever two boys swap tops for marbles, that is the marketplace. The simple barter, in terms of human happiness, is no different from a trade transaction involving banking operations, insurance, ships, railroads, wholesale and retail establishments; for in any case the effect and purpose of trade is to make up a lack of satisfactions.

The boy with a pocketful of marbles is handicapped in the enjoyment of life by his lack of tops, while the other is similarly discomfited by his need for marbles; both have a better time of it after the swap.

In like manner, the Detroit worker who has helped to pile up a heap of automobiles in the warehouse is none the better off for his efforts until the product has been shipped to Brazil in exchange for his morning cup of coffee. Trade is nothing but the release of what one has in abundance to obtain some other thing one wants. It is as pertinent for the buyer to say “thank you” as for the seller.

The marketplace is not necessarily a specific site, although every trade must take place somewhere. It is more exactly a system of channeling goods or services from one worker to another, from fabricator to consumer, from where a superfluity exists to where there is a need. It is a method devised by man in his pursuit of happiness to diffuse satisfactions, and operating only by the human instinct of value.

Its function is not only to transfer ownership from one person to another, but also to direct the current of human exertion; for the price indicator on the chart of the marketplace registers the desires of people, and the intensity of these desires, so that other people (looking to their own profit) may know how best to employ themselves.

Living without trade may be possible, but it would hardly be living; at best it would be mere existence. Until the marketplace appears, men are reduced to getting by with what they can find in nature in the way of food and raiment; nothing more. But the will to live is not merely a craving for existence; it is rather an urge to reach out in all directions for a fuller enjoyment of life, and it is by trade that this inner drive achieves some measure of fulfillment.

The greater the volume and fluidity of marketplace transactions the higher the wage level of Society; and, insofar as things and services make for happiness, the higher the wage level the greater the fund of happiness.

The importance of the marketplace to the enjoyment of life is illustrated by a custom recorded by Franz Oppenheimer in The State. In ancient times, on days designated as holy, the marketplace and its approaches were held inviolable even by professional robbers; in fact, stepping out of character, these robbers acted as policemen for the trade routes, seeing to it that merchants and caravans were not molested.

Why? Because they had accumulated a superfluity of loot of one kind, more than they could consume, and the easiest way of transmuting it into other satisfactions was through trade. Too much of anything is too much.

The marketplace serves not only to diffuse the abundances that human specialization makes possible, but it is also a distributor of the munificences of nature. For, in her inscrutable way, nature has spread the raw materials by which humans live over the face of the globe; unless some way were devised for distributing these raw materials, they would serve no human purpose.

Thus, through the conduit of trade the fish of the sea reach the miner's table and fuel from the inland mine or well reaches the boiler of the fishing boat; tropical fruits are made available to northerners, whose iron mines, translated into tools, make production easier in the tropics. It is by trade that the far-flung warehouses of nature are made accessible to all the peoples of the world and life on this planet becomes that much more enjoyable.

We think of trade as the barter of tangible things simply because that is obvious. But a correlative of the exchange of things is the exchange of ideas, of the knowledge and cultural accumulations of the parties to the transaction. In fact, embodied in the goods is the intelligence of the producers; the excellent woolens imported from England carry evidence of thought that has been given to the art of weaving, and Japanese silks arouse curiosity as to the ideas that went into their fabrication.

We acquire knowledge of people through the goods we get from them. Aside from that correlative of trade, there is the fact that trading involves human contacts; and when humans meet, either physically or by means of communication, ideas are exchanged. “Visiting” is the oil that lubricates every marketplace operation.

"Trade is nothing but the release of what one has in abundance to obtain some other thing one wants."

It was only after Cuba and the Philippines were drawn into our trading orbit that interest in the Spanish language and customs was enlivened, and the interest increased in proportion to the volume of our trade with South America.

As a consequence, Americans of the present generation are as familiar with Spanish dancing and music as their forefathers, under the influence of commercial contacts with Europe, were at home with the French minuet and the Viennese waltz. When ships started coming from Japan, they brought with them stories of an interesting people, stories that enriched our literature, broadened our art concepts, and added to our operatic repertoire.

It is not only that trading in itself necessitates some understanding of the customs of the people one trades with, but that the cargoes have a way of arousing curiosity as to their source, and ships laden with goods are followed with others carrying explorers of ideas; the open port is a magnet for the curious.

So, the tendency of trade is to break down the narrowness of provincialism, to liquidate the mistrust of ignorance. Society, then, in its most comprehensive sense, includes all who for the improvement of their several circumstances engage in trade with one another; its ideational character tends toward a blend of the heterogeneous cultures of the traders. The marketplace unifies Society.

The concentration of population determines the character of Society only because contiguity facilitates exchange. But contiguity is a relative matter, depending on the means for making contacts; the neutralization of time and space by mechanical means makes the whole world contiguous. The isolationism that breeds an ingrown culture and a mistrust of outside cultures melts away as faster ships, faster trains, and faster planes bring goods and ideas from the great beyond.

The perimeter of Society is not fixed by political frontiers but by the radius of its commercial contacts. All people who trade with one another are by that very act brought into community.


Universal Law-Of-Reciprocity Key To Trade Exchange Success

Every trade exchange owner in the world should not only be aware of the law-of-reciprocity, but using it, in the operation of their business.

Trade exchange owners are invited to e-mail bmeyer@barternews.com for more information on how you can become “the exchange of choice” in your area. When e-mailing Bob Meyer, put “Law of Reciprocity” in the subject line.


Hotel General Managers

Here’s The Easiest $100,000 You’ll Ever
Bring To The Bottomline!

Collect cash, as usual, from the guest accounts staying at your facility that require the use of professional AV services. And rather than shouldering your ongoing employee costs, or your current vendor’s cash agreement for AV services, here’s a much better alternative:

Work with a proven national vendor (a sterling 25-year track record) who will provide all of the AV services for your hotel on a 100% TRADE BASIS! (Payment to be in the form of hotel rooms and/or trade dollars.)

Your hotel’s annual AV billings must be a minimum of $200,000, and this offer is available only in the continental United States.

For a confidential introduction contact Bob Meyer via e-mail: bmeyer@barternews.com. (Please type in AV Services On Trade in the subject line of your e-mail.)

Attention Trade Exchange Owners:

If your member hotel(s) have a minimum of 10,000 sq. feet of meeting space and annual billings of at least $200,000 for AV services this is a great opportunity to earn substantial cash service fees on the hundreds of thousands of trade dollars your hotel member will be paying the vendor. Contact Bob Meyer at the above e-mail.

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The Growth and Use of Secondary Capital (New Money) Creates Unprecedented Wealth In Today’s New Age Of Possibility

There are many forms of secondary capital—which can be defined as any financial instrument that measures and communicates value in a common language. Would you like to see and learn more about the many forms of secondary capital?

 We have 70 free, informative and inspiring, articles for you in our “Secondary Capital Section.” Check it out... www.barternews.com/secondary_capital.htm.

Get New Money-Making Ideas And Valuable Contacts!

You can obtain useful, informative ideas and contacts in every available back-issue of BarterNews.


Every barter company in the world is listed on our web site, click through to our Global List of Barter Companies.


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