Why not start a barter/exchange cashless currency like what was started in Greece known as TEMS. For instance: I see many mangos during fruit season just fall to the ground for the rats to eat . Or how about the family who has a beadfruit tree in their backyard but doesn't eat breadfruit, or could never hope to keep up with the amount of fruit the tree produces. I propose a website and maybe even a weekly posting in the AVIS/Daily News where people can advertise goods and services they are willing to trade for other goods and services. Someone like an electrician, tutor, mechanic, or anyone really, can post their skills as something they are willing to offer in exchange for something else.
Here is how it could work: The breadfruit tree family needs some new ceiling fans wired in their house, so they contact the electrician who has offered his services. Turns out, he loves breadfruit. So, he installs the fans and walks away with more breadfruit than he knows what to do with. Goods and services are exchanged but not money.
It sounds like wishful thinking perhaps, but I believe on a small island with a tight knit community, something like this will take off.
We will always have WAPA and taxes and other bills that are unavoidable (until the monetary system collpases- but thats another discussion). Imagine a community that functions without needing money for everything.
If someone would be interested in helping me get this started please send me a pm. I am on STX so I would start with this island first, but no reason why STT and STJ can't have a network as well.
How would this be beneficial to anybody? Am I wrong in thinking the whole purpose of currency is to remove the burdon of having to find a person that offers what you need and also happens to need what you offer?
If I'm the guy with the breadfruit tree, I can't even imagine how many breadfruit I would have to cough up to find an electrician willing to wire up my fans for baskets of fruit that has a shelf-life of "not long." On the other hand, I can sell the breadfruit to many people who will consume it before it rots and every electrician I know likes cash so that's pretty convenient, right?
I could see how it would be useful in a rare scenario (someone happens to have a surplus of something of some value and commonly used) but I need doors for my jeep and I don't think hitting up a website to see who wants some banana bunches or guitar lessons is going to pan out.
Forgive me if I look at money as a tool to keep people working in the rat race. You want to eat? Better have some money. You want a roof over your head? Bust out that check book. Want to drink some clean, cool water, its gonna cost ya. The basic necessities in life should not require money. A guy like Mitt Romney who is running for president doesn't even need to work to earn money. His investments earn him money. I have a big problem with the rich geting richer when people in this country are starving or struggling to make ends meet.
What does this piece of paper called money actually stand for? It used to stand for gold. Now its value is based on what the "market" and the Fed dictates. Watch Zeitgiest. Wall Street stock brokers trade money for money. Nothing is actually accompliushed during this exchange. Nothing is built, no one is fed, they simply trade something worth a certain amount in hopes of gaining a profit. Now they have computer programs doing it. These are the people who own the government and also caused the collapse of world economies. These are the people who make a decision to close down a refinery on a small island that is very dependent on it. The decision does not take into account all the poeple who will be without jobs. It simply takes into account the bottom line.
The monetary system has decoupled from society. Ask any Hovensa worker how much material is and was wasted there. How much $$$$ was thrown away. The point of an economy is to economize right? How does increasing GDP, which means exploiting more resources, consuming more goods, and developing more land economize anything?
I am simply proposing a system that is based on real goods and services. No paper bills deemed a certain value by a government entity. At the end of the day we all need clean water, food and shelter. If we can create a community that allows the exchange of goods and services without the need for money, when the monetary system comes tumbling down- which it will- we have a society that can still work.
trainwreck82 makes a good point.
Bartering for services doesn't really work unless both parties get something the both really want/need. In this case I doubt the electrician wants a pile of breadfruit that he then has to resell or trade for something that he really needs/wants.
Now, trading services for services might have a limited appeal for some like a painter agreeing to paint a room in the plumber's house in exchange for the plumber installing a new toilet in the electrician's house but both parties would have to agree in advance on the dollar value of their labor and how many hours "credit" each gets. For instance, it might take 5 hours to paint the room but only 2 hours to install the toilet. If the painter's time was worth $20/hr but the plumber's time was worth $50/hr they'd come out even but if the hourly rates were reversed the difference would have to be made up in some other way (cash, more services???). And what if was agreed that every participating tradesman had the same hourly rate - you'd still have to deal with time differentials. So would the plumber have to install more toilets for the painter even though the painter only had one bathroom??
Sorry Matt, much better to use currency and avoid the hassle. You'll have to think of some other way to get rid of all the mangos, bananas and breadfruit that are rotting in your backyard. (Hope you are not offended by a little tongue & cheek humor). We have a few banana trees in our yard and when the hangs are ripe we are inundated. So too are most of our friends as they have there own trees so we can't even give them away - that means bananas for breakfast, bananas at lunch, bananas for snacks and lots of banana bread in our freezer for consumption at a later time.
Don't you think there are people on this island who don't even have enough money to buy bananas? Maybe someone like you would post your surplus of bananas without the expectation of recieving anything in return. Why not spread the bounty?
I know for most, it is an idea hard to grasp. You have been raised in a monetary society and its hard to think differently. I don't think this exchange will happen overnight but I belive its a step in the right direction.
For the exchange to work, people would need to reach agreement before goods and services are exchanged. Just the other day, I had a WAPA guy stop buy to diagnose bad current coming into my house. He determined that it was a corroded main breaker. He offered to come by after work and install a new one. When he reached my house to fix the problem, he saw me opening coconuts and bottling the precious water. I asked how much I owed him for replacing the breaker. He said normally it would be $20. But he said, " how about some of that coconut wata instead". I gave him a gallon and I do believe he had a bigger smile on his face from that gallon of coconut water than that $20 he was expecting.
The tax man might be interested in your barter program. (Does the IRB accept tax payments in the form of breadfruit or tutoring?)
http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=188095,00.html "If you engage in barter transactions you may have tax responsibilities. You may be subject to liabilities for income tax, self-employment tax, employment tax, or excise tax. Your barter activities may result in ordinary business income, capital gains or capital losses, or you may have a nondeductible personal loss.
Barter dollars or trade dollars are identical to real dollars for tax reporting. If you conduct any direct barter - barter for another’s products or services - you will have to report the fair market value of the products or services you received on your tax return."
I'm disheartened that all replies are critical of OP's idea. Maybe his breadfruit example isn't the best. But, I recently gave someone credit at my small business in exchange for work on my vehicle. Honestly, it wasn't something I thought out in advance as a "barter." He did some work for me and I told him I'd make it worth his while. We both walked away very happy.
Driving around today listening to some Senators on the radio, I thought to myself how interesting it would be if small businessowners and other interested private parties were to do that which the government here can't seem to do _ take action, move forward, progress. Then, I read OP's post. I, for one, think a barter marketplace is a GREAT idea, particularly for those who own/operate retail, restaurant, service, trade-type businesses. I am in this group and on STX.
Bartering for goods and services is a great idea and it works very well. I have seen it in action. The problem is that the government doesn't make any money off of it and put a stop to it as soon as they find out. I barter with the guy who lives in my cottage. He takes care of my house, pets and yard for a very reduced rent, electricity and water. Right now I have tons of Rosemary and basil that I would gladly trade for milk or eggs. My husband is very good at fixing things, cars for example. We have a fence that needs to be painted. We have a bobcat tractor that comes in very handy for moving, clearing or fixing roads or driveways. We need some electrical work done. It works well as long as everyone is happy with the trade. Good idea Matt.
The problem is that the government doesn't make any money off of it and put a stop to it as soon as they find out.
With the state of things as they are now, I'd like to see them try.
There was an organization that had a barter system up and running just a few years ago, although I cant remember the name and think it might have folded.
Like most small business owners I know on STX, we barter informally between ourselves for various goods and services all the time and most of us who do are very organized in how we manage it.
But, like a previous poster mentioned, its probably best not to talk about it too much lest da man wants a peice of the action.
Its nice to hear that some people are receptive to this idea. I'm still looking for help to get this going. Once I have something organized, I will post a thread.
I think it's pretty hilarious that I am the guy that could get you a website like this up and running in my sleep.
How much coconut wata you got?
I think the whole point here is that it's not a new idea and is being done here and elsewhere all the time although it's not something one "organizes" as Matt wants to do because in the eyes of the IRS it's as taxable as anything else. When I had my restaurant I did barter whenever possible and many a broken part was fixed for a great meal or two! Bartering has been going on for time immemorial but just keep it to yourself and away from Big Brother!
It's a great idea. I need tires for my explorer and can fix cars and do basic handy work.
Just read an article recently (Money Magazine? AARP? Not sure and no time to check right now). The way they featured that you can get around the IRS is to set up the exchange based on credits - usually time-, not value of goods and services. And not in exchange for a particluar service. So a plumber who spends an hour fixing a leak for somebody who spent the same time gathering up mangoes will not get the same value moneywise. But he wouldn't be out the entire amount because he'd have whatever he used his credits to obtain, plus a smaller tax bill.
Good post. I was thinking along the same lines... like a fruit processing/dehydration/canning facility, that could take on all the excess fruits and process them in a timely manner. People who brought produce could receive credits for what they brought in, and purchase final product with mostly credits, and some cash, and the processor could sell to the public and make $$, or donate to other non-profits if they decided to go that route... Somewhere along the line though, money has to enter the system. WAPA, labor, equipment, not free.
If you google "bartering" you'll come up with pages and pages of how-to articles with step by step instructions as well as tons of personal stories from those who've made it work.
I would do it Matt T if you get it up and running. Keep us posted!