skills for trade

I have often wondered how different the world would be if we had never invented “money” and everything had continued to operate under the Barter system.  There are certainly romantic aspects of that – everybody would have to do their part, earn their place in the world.  Neighbors and families would be closer and would have to help each other out.  Etc…

However, invariably, whenever I think about this I must also question what skills I have to trade, what I would be able to offer that would ensure my survival and the survival of my family…

My first thought is to say, “Well, I’m good with numbers, I could help people manage their finances.”  Except, there would no longer be finances that need managing.

My second thought is, “I could barter out my survival skills, teaching people how to backpack, camp, find (and make) clean water, navigation by the sun and stars, etc…”  Only, those would either be skills everyone would have already, would no longer need (because who has time for such frivolities as traipsing around the Sierra anymore), or would be in such low demand that it could never be something I could trade.

Third, fourth and fifth thoughts, “No one would need me to teach/coach them soccer or volleyball.  There probably wouldn’t be enough demand for my dj’ing skills.  And ditto my writing.”

Then it occurs to me to return to my roots, and the little garden I’m growing in my postage stamp backyard.  I know how to make basil and cucumbers thrive.  I may finally be getting the knack of tomatoes too.  Perhaps if I had more land I could grow enough to trade my surplus for other things.

I’m no Mr. Fixit, but I am half decent plumber… I could do work for my neighbors in that regard too.

And the queen can make wonders with her sewing machine, serger, and crochet hooks.

I think we’d be okay.

I think we’d thrive.

And my neighbors out there in the kingdom.  Let me know if you need any tomatoes, cucumbers, dried or fresh basil.  Or some help with plumbing issues.  Or some new clothes or blankets.

42 thoughts on “skills for trade

  1. I can make you a cupcake of any flavor, solve complex crosswords, and write you a haiku. I believe these would be a fair trade foe fresh caprese salad ingredients from your garden )

  2. I am having way to much fin reading the comments here! It wouldn’t work, bartering everything, just as total equality would not work. Don’t get me wrong,I am all for a balance of goods in this world. Everyone should have everything they need and much of what they want; things must change in this world, but barter only?We’d be back in the Middle Ages in a hurry.No one would work the sewers or in a factory for bartered goods,(I don’t care how big your cucumber are). People would be dying in the streets, clutching their crossword puzzles, begging for fresh basil. No thanks to you! What chaos are you trying to wreck here? Run for the hills, he’s dangerous!

    • What kind of chaos am I trying to bring about? Whatever kind I can manage, of course! Chaos may just be the thing that is needed to break out of our current system, shake things up a bit, and figure out what we need instead. It would be tough. Things would be harder. Not everyone would “make it” but in the long run it might make things better…

      • Sanitation, as we know it now, isn’t always as “sanitary” as we think. 😉 I’ve never minded my weeks camping and backpacking in the woods. I do understand the difference between that and a city without any disposal. But, as a people we’d figure something out. Nobody may be willing to do those jobs for barter, that just means we’d have to do them ourselves, each household hauling/hiking/burying our refuse and other wastes to disposal sites or wherever on our own.

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