As the global economic crisis continues, people have to make the most of what they have and in this case, what they know. The return of bartering began with link exchanges on blogs and websites as well as with clothing and housing swaps, but from here it goes way beyond that. We first discussed bartering in our blog “No Rules” and now bartering has finally begun to infiltrate the world.
photo via The New York Times
With the current economy and rising unemployment rates, bartering systems have been expanding internationally. Greece, a perfect example, has used these exchange networks in their farming industry for years and now has a growing community that swap everything from babysitting to home-cooked meals, classes, tech advice, and local discounts. In support of these initiatives, the Greek government recently passed a law that encourages “alternative forms of entrepreneurship and local development.” It’s about building a sense of community and breaking down barriers that monetary systems create.
photo via npr.org
Even here in the U.S. it is taking off as people exchange labor for health services. True North, an integrative medical practice based in Maine, not only focuses on enhancing quality healthcare and strengthening the relationship between patient and practictioner, but accepts "time dollars" as a form of payment. These "time dollars" can be paid in the form of yard work, cleaning, or anything else you can offer. Not only does this concept promote trust, but a better awareness and vigilance of personal health.
photo via psfk.com
From healthcare to the food industry, a Chicago based restaurant, Fireside, has adopted a bartering system that supports an exchange of kitchen appliances, vacations, and even dog grooming for meals. With its cash only no credit policy, it’s not uncommon that customers dine at the restaurant and instead of picking up the tab, are sent to work (or trade), literally. While many meals are still paid in full, it’s a very unique business strategy during times of economic distress.
photo via springwise.com
Another innovative company Panam, a Mexican streetwear sneaker brand, is revitalizing themselves by sharing a little free love. This concept promotes the idea of stimulating sales by offering free merchandise and promotions. By hosting sneaker swaps, Panam fans are invited to trade old pairs for new ones at no cost. While customers are only entitled to one swap, there are over 250 sneakers to choose from. This may simply be business strategy, but the brand is conserving it's resources and showing fans they still hold a place in their heart. So get out there and show some love!
photo via ourgoods.org
Moments like this call for a rise in creativity as people look for new ways to get by. What better place for revolutionary change than the internet? Not only are bartering sites like skills2barter.com, homeexchange.com and styleswap.com popping up, but entire digital trading communities as well. Ourgoods.org is a creative network that promotes an alternative method of exchange in the areas of art, design, and culture. This creative community combines their resources to produce independent projects and build relationships and trust among their members. It seems the starving artists have finally been fed!
photo via forumforthefuture.org
Are our values finally becoming more mindful? We think so. This sharing or better said, trading of resources, is helping us break barriers and instead adding substance to our lives. With this sense of community evolves trust, unity, and a conservation of resources. By combining our capabilities, we are not only more powerful, but more aware of our actions. This new outlook gives hope for what’s to come next. We ask you to take some time and check out these animations that give four scenarios about what the future might hold for us. Let us know which outcome you predict!