To Barter For Things We Can't Barter For
Stout, Writer for BarterNews
Bartering can never
completely replace money. It can merely supplement our cash.
So we can't expect to live entirely by bartering, even if we
are a member of a barter club; Business Exchange's
president, M.J. McConnell, once joked, "Uncle Sam, the
State of California, and the waiter are not members."
However, if we are imaginative, we can barter for some of
the goods and services which are usually not available by
Our water bill. The
water company doesn't barter, but we can
water bill by these means, in one-to-one deals, or by
spending a barter-club's units:
Reduce your water usage by bartering for these goods and
A plumber to fix
our leaky faucets. The plumber can also install a
shower, which uses less water than a bath.
The parts to do
those jobs ourselves, instead of using a plumber.
A well-driller, so
that we won't have to use the city's water.
Use bottled water for drinking.
Our electric and heating
bills. The electric company doesn't barter, but we can
reduce our electric bill by bartering for these goods and
Alternative means of home-heating: a passive solar
addition on our home, storm windows, a more efficient
home-heating system, coal, a fireplace (and firewood to
go into it), a kerosene or propane heater, home
Alternative means of water-heating: a solar hot-water
system, a propane water-heater.
Alternatives to electrically powered devices: a propane
Means of generating our own electricity: a hydroelectric
generator, a windmill, a solar generator.
Other goods and services: books regarding energy
efficiency and alternative energy, a consultant to help
us with these plans, the privilege of cutting firewood
on someone's property, a co-op with friends to buy a
bulk quantity of heating oil at a discount.
Our telephone bill. The
phone company probably doesn't barter for the phone bill
itself, but we can barter for these items:
Telephones, car phones, phone repair, phone
Supplemental goods and services: an answering machine,
an answering service, a fax machine.
Alternative means of communication: a ham radio, a CB
radio, email (if the Internet Service Provider is a
member of a barter club).
Insurance. We can barter
Insurance. In many barter clubs, some of the members are
We can barter for the things which prevent the disasters
for which we buy insurance. For example, we might get a
smoke detector, a brake repair for our car, a medical
checkup from a physician, etc.
Postage. The Postal
Service doesn’t' barter, but we can barter for some of these
goods and services:
The private companies which provide post-office boxes.
Local courier services.
Local distribution of flyers. Instead of paying cash for
the postage in a local mass mailing, barter for someone
to deliver the ads door-to-door.
Envelopes, mailing lists, envelope-stuffing services,
Other means of communicating. We can avoid the Postal
Service altogether by using email, faxes (with a fax
machine and paper which we got by bartering), and other
means of communication.
People. Generally, we do
not consider human beings to be barterable items. But we can
find many instances in which they are traded:
Slaves. Until modern times, slaves have been available
for cash or trade.
Government agencies. They frequently trade personnel.
Wives. In the early 1600s, about 150 "young and
uncorrupt girls" were imported, to be the wives of
settlers who paid at least 100 pounds of tobacco for
Sexual partners. In San Francisco, a prostitute offered
her services to an attorney when she needed his
representation after an arrest; he declined.
Prisoners of war. After the Korean War, 3,500 American
POWs were exchanged for 100,000 Chinese and North Korean
Spies. In 1962, U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers was traded
for Soviet agent Rudolf Abel.
Students. These "exchange students" have an opportunity
to learn the language and meet the people of a foreign
country during a year-long visit -- while someone from
that country stays in their own home.
Human sacrifices. People have been bartered to the gods
in exchange for good crops and military victories. When
you go to that extreme, it's time to be stopping your