Yesterday, I bartered fifteen of my handmade honeysoaps for a gorgeous handmade bowl. I am very happy. The bowl will be used to hold eggs from our six chickens.
Many years ago I read David Graeber’s book called ‘Debt: The First 5000 Years’, and the point the author made was that before money we didn’t automatically resort to barter. Within a tribe, people gifted what they had to tribe members who needed something. It worked on the basis that everyone knew they owed each other a favour but no one was keeping scores. Barter was reserved for those outside the tribe; people perhaps who the tribe didn’t know when they would see again, or perhaps where a bond of trust hadn’t been fully developed. Barter ensured an immediate transaction; something was obtained as something was given.
I foresee as the sun sets on the industrial age and money becomes scarce, relationships of trust and interdependency will become vital. With that, gift-economies and barter will be the way by which people get by.