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October 14, 2008

Written by Bob Meyer, Editor of BarterNews

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From the desk of Bob Meyer...10/14/2008

Entrepreneurs Look To Three Areas For Financing

Small businesses are turning to angel investors, suppliers, and personal credit cards as the financial crisis spreads to Main Street and access to commercial loans becomes more restricted. Today�s environment is such that smart entrepreneurs will move toward more barter to increase their sales and cash flow.

ITEX Arizona�s Holiday Barter Expo Date Announced

Terry Brandfass reports this year�s Holiday Barter Expo will be held at Brett�s Barn on Sunday, November 30, from 11am to 3pm. For more information call (480) 946-2929.

Office Space Now Available

Businesses are dumping office space at the fastest pace since the months after the September 11 attacks, increasing the financial stress on commercial real estate owners and their lenders. Many of them are already ailing financial institutions.

Because real estate moves slowly, the financial turmoil of the past few weeks hasn�t shown up in the numbers. Look for bank failures and consolidations to be reflected in office space availability later this year and in 2009.

Transaction Volume Increases For Barter Company

Catherine Cohen of Premier Barter in Arizona, reports that her company�s transaction volume is up 114% for the first half of 2008, compared with 2007.

Financial Woes Will Affect Ad-Spending

Automotive retail and financial services have already been affected by the financial sector�s ills. Further declines will be coming from credit-card and insurance company ad spending, which is $9 billion a year in or about 6% of the total ad spending.

 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. . .)

Capacity Crowds Expected At IMS Barter Expos For Holiday Gift Buying

International Monetary Systems, a worldwide leader in business-to-business barter services, announced the schedule for its upcoming series of barter expos.

They are organized and directed by the IMS offices serving 50 major markets. The expos are promoted to the membership as an excellent way to spend their IMS trade dollars and network with other members who may also represent new business to them. 

�The annual expo concept is a constant in our industry,� affirmed CEO Don Mardak. �Although IMS has invested significantly in establishing our online barter marketplace launched earlier this year, it will never replace the atmosphere of many members coming together in one place to trade and network. Every expo is a powerful event that the clients recognize as another benefit of their membership.

�In the past, these holiday expos have generated considerable revenue and trade volume, giving a substantial boost to the company�s fourth-quarter income.�

Upcoming event dates are as follows:

Saturday, October 18 - Chicago, IL
Saturday, November 8 - Las Vegas, NV
Wednesday, November 12 - Columbus, OH
Thursday, November 13 - Rochester, NY
Saturday, November 15 - Milwaukee, WI
Tuesday, November 18 - Hartford, CT
Saturday, November 22 - Denver, CO
Saturday, November 22 - Wichita, KS
Sunday, November 23 - Santa Clara, CA
Thursday, December 4 - Toronto, Canada
Sunday, December 7 - Santa Rosa, CA
Sunday, December 7 - New York City/LI, NY
Date to be announced - Reno, NV

The shows are open to the public. For directions and other information contact the office nearest you.

         International visitors look for BARTER CONTACTS in our Global Barter Section. If YOUR exchange isn�t listed see the forms on the lower left of the page. (Click here.)

         Attention trade exchange owners...thousands of visitors every month visit our BARTER CONTACTS section on our web site where we have names & addresses of barter companies in the USA. If YOUR exchange isn�t listed, or the information is incorrect, you can correct the situation by using the forms to the lower left of the USA map. (Click here.) 

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Community Currency Prominent
At 2008 IRTA Conference

The community currency movement is a globally based not-for-profit program that has for many decades created and provided local currencies that support community programs - such as elder care, time banking, regional agriculture and local merchant loyalty. �The community currency movement represents a significant element of the modern trade and barter industry,� declared IRTA President David Wallach.

Annette Riggs, a recognized leader of the community currency movement, led the well attended and educational seminar titled �Community Currencies and Sustainable Businesses.� Also on the panel were Catherine Austin Fitts and Reiner Husemann.

Fitts provided ideas on how to connect more to the economic activity within our geographic regions, and discussed the value of owning more of the equity in our communities.

Husemann shared his knowledge about Complementary Currency systems in Europe and the challenges they face. Reiner felt that although these systems are much more prolific in Europe than in the U.S., they often have a shortfall in revenue and lack consistency of available goods and services.

Also actively participating with the panel and providing insight into their systems were community currency operators Robert Gallant, Amy Kirschner, and Sharon Miranda. Gallant has worked with Highland Valley Elder Care for many years and has been working on creating a service and business exchange to serve that community and link it to businesses.

Kirschner has transitioned her work from a scrip based currency to an online exchange that integrates community networks and stakeholders such as local farmers and food distributors. Miranda has been a community organizer in Ashland (OR), building an extensive network of businesses and individuals interested in local sustainability issues. She is now integrating an exchange into her social network software.

The panel and audience had a lively and interactive discussion about these examples and others for the purpose of sharing knowledge and experience. Riggs summarized the discussions by relating these new systems and ideas to the practice of the trade/barter system so that attendees could all take a step further towards expanding views of what IRTA does and how the industry will evolve. �I feel that community currencies could greatly increase their sustainability by adopting certain funding elements of the commercial barter industry,� she noted.

Community Currency Movement representatives were also present to participate in forming the new Community Currency Council. The Council Committee is chaired by IRTA Global Board Member Richard Logie who has assembled a distinguished panel of Community Currency leaders including Annette Riggs, Bernard Lietaer and Thomas Greco, that will seek to work directly with IRTA to further unity and sustainability within the movement.

(The above article was submitted to BarterNews by Annette Riggs.)

Annette Riggs is the Founder and Managing Director of the Community Connect Trade Association. She has over 20 years of experience with non-cash trade models such as corporate trade, complementary currency, and trade exchange systems. She has in-depth knowledge of, and leadership within, the $8 billion commercial barter industry and has applied this expertise for the social benefit of communities and economic ecology. 

Money-Making Reports Available From BarterNews

Mentor Capital, Inc., Proposes $120 Billion Claw-back Plan

By Chet Billingsley, CEO of Mentor Capital, Inc.

Wall Street, real estate and certain lending professionals should disgorge $120 billion in bonuses and fees fraudulently earned. These funds should be given to Americans on a dollar-for-dollar matching basis for citizens that are willing to make fresh investments to be held for one-year. This would stimulate savings, investment and the economy, and provide lubrication for the banking sector. It would appropriately punish greed and reward prudent, frugal American families.

The average Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, Lehman, and Bear Sterns bonus has been $250,000 per year for their combined 175,000 employees, in addition to very generous salaries. Together with other firms, the total annual bonus is estimated at $90 billion. Each year, virtually all company cash is swept into salaries leaving none for a reserve. These self-avowed, world-class experts knew or should have known the sub-prime or other real estate financings and their firms were subject to risk and did nothing to provide for it. Their bonus compensation was transferred under a condition of fraud and should be disgorged.

Like-wise, real estate professionals earned an increasingly enriching 7% on growing transactions that ended up being unsupportable. Fees from any transaction that went into foreclosure or default should be disgorged. The look-back period should be for four years, starting off at 100% giveback and falling off at 25% per year. This give-back should apply to future defaults and similarly apply to loan brokers or others down the chain that derived a fee from the transactions. These fiduciaries knew or should have known the risk and not allowed the transactions to proceed. Other private recovery or lawsuits should not be allowed. The fees earned on fraudulently represented transactions are estimated at $30 billion.

The $120 billion should be returned on a dollar-for-dollar investment matching basis to provide liquidity that will jump start our economy. Any American citizen (not corporations, partnerships, investment firms or foreign citizens) will be able to receive a matching contribution (like many employer matching retirement programs) when they designate that status and buy a (i) One-year or longer CD, (ii) IRA investment that is new or in excess of any regular contributions, (iii) Public Company IPO, option or warrant exercise with a side agreement to hold for one-year.

The $120 billion will be awarded on a first-come basis $100,000 maximum per person, and not exceed the total claw-back. For banks to qualify to accept twelve month CD matching funds they must extend payments for 50% of the matched federal funds in an equal mix of months of mortgage extensions or future forgiveness.

Looking forward, to promote greater transparency and prevent similar problems of today in the future, it is suggested that companies will report on all public communications the following:

Mentor Rating: XYZ Corporation

 D                F        C           A             A-                1.9 x

Earnings  Debt  Growth  Size  Reporting    Executive Compensation

 (3%)        (97%)

Portraying the key measures of a corporation in understandable terms, people can choose for themselves where to invest. Just as it helps us eat healthy food and avoid cigarettes, a common investor label will improve financial decision making, without government interference in the market. Mentor Capital has a proprietary algorithm for comparing salaries of large to small company executives and would be happy to make that available and/or maintain the Mentor Ratings on a non-profit basis. We would suggest, further, that any company with executive compensation greater than 1.0x would have to allow shareholders to appoint directors.

In a somewhat technical area, mark-to-market accounting should be suspended immediately. For banks, it is the equivalent of forcing a homeowner to cough up the decrease in value of his house immediately rather than waiting out the downturn. Banks should have that common sense option, also. Finally, and this is just life, Secretary Henry Paulson should offer his resignation, because he failed.

The above proposal, would create no new taxes, have broad support in the American public, provide $240 billion in liquidity, loosen up banking and investment, eliminate reactive banking rules, keep teetering owners in their homes, promote healthy saving, change out management at the top, and call the culprits in our current crisis to the task of �paying the piper.�

The additional Mentor Ratings (we, of course, like that name) are more easily understood than voluminous fine print and reports that obfuscate true risk and reward. In addition to clear disclosure, which we are confident the public would support, and Congress, in their currently creative state, can surely find a way to legally recover the fraudulent transfers by bankers and brokers and return the funds to its citizens to invest.

Chet Billingsley is the Chairman & CEO of Mentor Capital (Symbol: MNTR) that invests in hedge funds and smaller companies. The firm has no debt and no exposure to the financial, sub-prime or real estate sectors. Information on the firm may be found at

(Disclosure: Bob Meyer owns stock in Mentor Capital.)


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