Counter Trade and Barter

I want to post this important concept in your subconscious mailbox now so that it gets stored in the inbox of your brain before the hectic days of the coming election and 2013. In the meantime, over your hot cup of coffee or while you are commuting to work, consider this for a moment. Almost overnight we have injected over thirteen trillion “dollars” of new money into our present system. The U.S. Treasury prints paper money and mints coins, but the Federal Reserve System alone is authorized to place them into circulation. All the newly created money will be “monetized” into the system. The most dramatic method for altering the money supply is through the monetizing of the Government’s deficit spending by the Federal Reserve System’s buying and selling notes and securities of the U.S. Treasury. [Another way to say it is that the government spends and spends on credit, and the FED prints up new paper money to cover all the debt.] The method somewhat delays the damaging impact of inflation, but can’t stop it. 

But, I don’t want to fill this space with a discussion about inflation. I have, however, observed in my work around the world over the past thirty years scores of countries that radically abused their currency systems. Perhaps chief among those experiences was my working directly with President Jose Sarney of Brazil, when the inflation rate in that country was running over three thousand percent. 

Instead, I want to talk here about coping. I want to talk about considering ideas and a mindset now that can sustain you in tough financial times, and foster confidence and peace of mind. No, I have nothing to sell, but I will offer some ideas that are free. 

Utilizing counter trade and barter is simply trading what’cha have for what’cha want. You have been doing it since you were born and already you are good at it. You used it exclusively until you got addicted to using a money system that you presumed was more convenient. When you were a baby you had it figured out that two whimpers, four cries and two screams would get you one clean diaper. You were bartering peace and quiet for your basic needs! Later, you learned that you could barter good behavior for acceptance, approval, and commendation. You became a pro. You took what you had and made it into what you needed. 

Historically, during times of economic depression, inflation, or abusive taxation, the barter system has always revived, outweighing the convenience of the regular money system. The more worthless money becomes, the more likely it is that commodities will become “money.” What’s new is that we are once again entering an economic period where bartering will be necessary because of the abuse and manipulation of the money system. 

Once you begin kicking the money habit and start thinking in terms of value instead of price tags, you will discover that you can trade for about anything. My point is very simple: If you can barter for things that you would regularly pay cash for during the month, then you will not have spent the cash that you regularly would have spent.Unspent cash left over at the end of the month is the equivalent of a raise . . . and that is even better than having to earn more money! 

It is not unreasonable to believe that you could trade for dry cleaning and laundry, a car or truck lease, tires, batteries, car pooling, fresh produce, dairy products, butchered beef, frozen foods, clothing for you and the kids, baby-sitting, landscaping, painting, house repairs, school uniforms, sports equipment, dance lessons, guitar lessons, piano lessons, etc. In other words all that you otherwise would have paid for during the month with cash, or worse, a credit card. If you have what the other person needs, and he has what you need, then the deal can be made and each ends up better off. Usually, it is a case where “ye barter not because ye attempt not.” You are probably already doing something like shoveling the neighbor’s sidewalks in exchange for baby-sitting. 

There are three basic steps to take that will get you started: 1) make a comprehensive list of what you want or need; 2) make another creative list of what you have available for trade; 3) Discover someone with whom to trade — from grocery store bulletin boards, internet “want ad” lists, church groups, school groups, swap meets, etc. You don’t even need to discuss “price.” Just stick with your idea of value and what works for each party. You will really be disadvantaged in the future if you remain addicted to a manipulated currency system. 

This short discussion has dealt with only counter trade and barter as it relates to personal needs. But, there is a whole exciting world out there that includes business, real estate, commodities and services. Additionally, international counter trade and barter deals are fully utilized every day of the year. It is estimated that between forty and fifty percent of all East-West trade utilizes counter trade and barter. As countries become choked by debt and experience international “credit unworthiness,” (such as we are currently experiencing) it is to their benefit to become experts in counter trade and barter. 

Over the past thirty years I have spent my life in over one-hundred fifty countries where I witnessed some significant trade deals. For example, Mexico sent oil and sulfur to Brazil in exchange for petrochemicals, soybeans, steel mill and oil-industry equipment in transactions valued in billions of dollars. I was personally involved in “debt for equity swaps” with sovereign countries when I founded Project C.U.R.E.The principles are all the same. And I am so grateful that one day it dawned on me that those principles could be utilized for more transactions than just making a fortune. I found that we could take commodities of the health care industry and actually exchange them for the health and lives of thousands and thousands of beautiful people all over this world. That’s the power of counter trade and barter.