Dec 20, 2008

Barter exchange

Posted by: Marian Salzman In: sightings from the zeitgeist| the economy| trendspotting

The more bad news we hear about the cash economy, the more good news comes about the barter economy, people exchanging goods and services instead of cash. It’s a hot topic in the media and a growing business for sites that facilitate trades–Craigslist, Swaptree.com and U-exchange.com cater to consumers and small businesses; IMSbarter.com coordinates full-blown corporate barter. In a time of gloom, barter is a heartening sign of human ingenuity and the power of the Internet.

The catalyst is people’s desire to conserve cash. If you have something to offer that’s of value to others (goods, skills, time), and have a want or a need someone else can fulfill, you’re in business. As in so many areas of life, the Internet is connecting the dots of niche supply and demand.

Unlike cash transactions, once the connection is made, barter exchanges often involve negotiation and/or face-to-face interaction, which lead to more personal connections, more local community building.

  • How will the government tax the barter economy since it may need to be a source of revenue in these dire times?
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