Bartering: Could You Live Without Money?

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Could you live without money? Imagine the struggles of living day to day with little to no money. One of my Patreon subscribers recently sent me a video link of one man who lives without money. Mr. Boyle, the man who started it as an experiment, has lived somewhat comfortably by bartering. 

Before watching the video, I thought to myself, “this guy is merely using excess resources tossed out by the wealthy to make a frugal living.” My reasoning for this is there is usually excess prosperity in wealthy societies in the developed parts of the world. Here in South America, it’s unlikely anyone will throw out a chair in perfect shape. Perhaps sell it, or gift it, but leaving it out for the garbage truck to haul away is rare.

Since the invention of money, people have looked for the means to attain it. Mr. Boyle has an interesting point of view, even philosophically speaking. He believes most people refuse to accept the necessary connection to nature for even the most basic yet vital needs, such as drinking water. Mr. Boyle feels the modern ways we get our staples, groceries, and whatever we need to live more or less decently have to change.

The resources are there, why not use them?

In the book Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond, I read a substantial industrial-age egg producer in Australia sent production hundreds of km away so the product would pass through a quality control process and receive an ink mark. I can hardly find any justification for this and feel it is highly inefficient. And, the consumer pays the price for decisions made such as this, not the producers.

My point is, we have the resources necessary to put to good use empty inner-city buildings that currently waste space.

Next to our home, a large property has a few corn plants, but most of its 2500 square meters (over 16000 square feet) are empty. This property is in the center of the town. In the right hands, the property could be a production center with tilapia ponds, beans, greenies, rabbits, and poultry. Sadly, the property owners don’t have that intention. They bought the property to hold until it increases in value. They will sell it in the future for several times the original value. (Even though no one made the necessary service upgrades to the property.) Sure, this is a common practice for those with money in hand. However, doing so creates a shortage of living space, especially in little towns like this one. 

This little town where I was born produces tons of cattle. By extension, there’s a potential leather products industry. I never understood why no one developed it. Maybe the scale would be small at first, but indeed, the potential exists.

Why not get back to the way it was before money? 

How about creating a local system where only the exchange rate among different products is necessary? For example, let’s say someone produces tilapia at small-scale commercial levels. Another person grows fruits or vegetables. Yet another produces eggs and dairy. Instead of subjecting that to a monetary conversion process, a bartering system could be achieved using modern software and interconnection.

Under the proper conditions, with a bit of trial and error, the advantages would surely outweigh the disadvantages. 

For instance, in our locality, white cheese price varies depending on the rains. Rain makes the pastures grow, which means more for the cows to feed on, which leads to increased milk production. However, too much milk means a loss for the cheesemakers! They lower the price to sell it faster because they need the space in their fridges and shelves. This practice hasn’t changed in centuries.

Some merchants and producers barter cheese with a solid sugar cane juice block, called panela (brown sugarloaf), used as a sweetener since colony times. The panela producers exchange this for plantains and eggs, chickens, and so on. Obviously, this is much easier in small towns. In the larger cities, monkey business and roadblocks interfere. Much of the producers’ items are “donated” to the guys in uniforms. Roughly 25% arrive in the city. 

My thoughts and ideas

I’m in a creative state of mind these days. I came up with the idea of a “stock” exchange and an old-fashion BBS board accessible by landlines. I know this sort of mechanism was in place in several cities in the United States, many decades ago, for farm production.

Mind you, the Spaniard’s approach is quite different. It seems they didn’t have the concept of demand and offer, to make that mechanism work. I have slowly started to understand many events of the history of what once was the Spanish Empire. And I associate it with the corresponding mess they left in every country that was a colony. 

After a couple of months living in such a small community, I realized there isn’t even the need to use the Internet for local businesses. Just a HAM network, for instance, for those producers without a landline, and a BBS text-based system should be enough. These would be a platform for local goods exchange. The cost of running it would be minimal. The technical resources are there and don’t seem as vulnerable. Landline technology has been there long enough to be perfected. When we have power grid failuresthe phone landline keeps working.

Using what some consider ancient technologies may seem foolish

What would happen if the Great Reset shuts down the Internet for an unknown period? (I get paid through the Internet, so that means I’d be screwed unless I get my land to produce what we eat and sell the remaining.)

Following my example, then, a leather producer should be able to exchange some of their products for things like shoes, an on-demand subscription for the weekend market, butchery/poultry, and groceries, all of this based on an exchange rate….excluding the need for the currency conversion.

I know how this sounds. And it’s something utopic to think that, in a city, things are going to change in the near future. For those who live in urban areas, sustainable production of some sort of goods, though challenging, can be achieved. The experiences with vertical industrial gardening in nearby facilities seem to be working, but the investment amounts are massive. And I find the high degree of technology that appears to be involved hazardous.

How sustainable in the long term is this?

I can’t say for sure. If your U.V. growing lights come from 5000 km away, well…I won’t bet on that game.

It’s pretty important to notice (and this is something I’ve been repeating already several times because the difference is huge) that small towns are less troubled in some areas than medium or big cities. I mean, cities with populations over 400K-500K are prone to much deeper troubles in certain areas than in our town, far from those numbers. 

Therefore, bartering there is possible, but with entirely different items. I have seen some people exchanging party dresses for car parts, for instance. There is the opportunity to do good business for those with that ability. This article from a couple of years ago gives a good idea of how bartering works in Venezuela. 

And, if you want to know what a real-world experience with trade in a dangerous situation looks like, read this article by Selco. You can read another good piece about bartering by Selco here: SELCO’s Guide to What You Should REALLY Store For Trade and Barter.

An “official” article about a shy attempt proposed by the Socialist Party was born dead. Perhaps it was more of a smoke bomb to fool the followers rather than a really serious project. However, producers, technicians, merchants, and the general public could make this initiative work. Essentially, those keeping the network flowing would have a subscription allowing them their part of the groceries and leather boots for their kids in the rainy season, for instance.

Change starts with us

Kiddo tells me he wants to learn how to make old-style boots, use them in our cabin in the mountains, and not ruin his sneakers. I’m thinking of asking my mom to teach kiddo to knit. (Once she’s 100% recovered. COVID attacked our sacred home this last couple of weeks. In the following article, I will detail what we’ve gone through.) We’re going to need socks in a short while, and I’m not eager to spend my hard-earned money on the soccer-kind socks, neither. 

My son is slowly changing his approach and learning that he can be a producer rather than a consumer and another victim of the Rat Race. For me, that is quite an achievement already. 

Stay safe, people, and thanks for reading. 


What about you?

What skills or assets would you have to trade in such a situation? What should you work on developing? Let’s discuss it in the comments.

J.G. Martinez D

J.G. Martinez D

About Jose Jose is an upper middle class professional. He is a former worker of the oil state company with a Bachelor’s degree from one of the best national Universities. He has a small 4 members family, plus two cats and a dog. An old but in good shape SUV, a good 150 square meters house in a nice neighborhood, in a small but (formerly) prosperous city with two middle size malls. Jose is a prepper and shares his eyewitness accounts and survival stories from the collapse of his beloved Venezuela. Thanks to your help Jose has gotten his family out of Venezuela. They are currently setting up a new life in another country. Follow Jose on YouTube and gain access to his exclusive content on Patreon. Donations:

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  • Bartering is a lost art but one that would return in a hurry should the economy fail. In my neighborhood I swap veggies and eggs my gardens and hens produce for fruit from my neighbors trees.

    • Dear Ray,
      In the couple of months I’ve been here, I can tell you, in Venezuela bartering is alive and kicking. Interesting thing is, usually both parts win with bartering.

      • “Venezuela bartering is alive”

        what is the scope of it? what I mean is, bartering clubs have been formed in the united states only to find that it’s hard to trade what’s actually available for what is actually needed – people’s goods and wants just don’t directly match up very well. do you have huge swap meets where anything can be traded for anything if you can find it in the large crowd, or by “alive” do you mean “it happens sometimes”?

  • Fascinating! I’ve been thinking along these lines as well, especially given Selco’s writings. From what I’ve read, he and his didn’t seem to use money or precious metals at all. They bartered for goods, item in exchange for item. No one can eat a 90% silver coin, but a Bic lighter or medicines are very useful! And a pack of smokes-oh boy!

    FWIW I agree that many of the urban agriculture initiatives that are highly dependent upon power are very, very risky. Without some kind of backup, those lights and pumps will stop working and there goes all of that yummy fish and greens! Those are worthwhile projects but they need to solve the power problem in order to be useful post-SHTF.

    Money has been useful as a common currency that allows global transactions, and it would be interesting to see what my mortgage would be paid in, should money vanish from society. Would my loan holder require a portion of my crop, as the old European lords did? Since I can’t grow enough on my urban lot to feed myself that would be a problem. I’m assuming that the power grid would be down so I wouldn’t have to pay my utility bill. And what happens if I can’t get the item I need locally? Money and the Internet, along with various delivery services, allows me to secure that item from far away. For example, I have a winter neck scarf that I bought fair trade from a guy in Peru. Common currency allows such transactions. Barter alone is also very difficult to tax although they’re trying-barter here is legally taxable but it’s unenforceable.

    We could continue this discussion for days!

    • Dear Jayne,
      People here is going to Caracas (4 hours ride, 10$ round-trip “ticket”) to get some stuff like shoes, underwear (can you believe a single male underwear piece is sold by 6$??), makeup, and all sort of trinkets you can’t get unless you decide to travel. Of course, the “entrepreneurs” doing this sell the stuff for 2, 3 or even 4 times their value. And there is usually always someone in need that will buy it, because it will be cheaper than using one day for a buying trip. I’m amazed this works. However my selling skills are pretty bad enough for me to not trying this. And I’m broke anyways to start an adventure like this. But I do know girls who go as far as Colombia to buy stuff.

      • How safe is it to travel? I can see people doing what you’ve described on both ends, as buyer and as seller. And what’s being used for currency?

    • The first manufactured actual coins seem to have appeared separately in India, China, and the cities around the Aegean Sea around the 7th century BC.
      Possibly other items of a specific value were used instead of metal coins, before that time period. As the advent of metal coins is coincidental with the advent of the beginning of mining metals.
      Money at that time was not used in global trade as it is today, but in local transactions. The incident of a Lord taking grain in payment, was one of Convenience, not one borne out of the necessity of not having or using money.

    • “he and his didn’t seem to use money or precious metals at all”

      money is a medium of exchange, but when goods are scarce people simply won’t exchange them for money.

    • The higher the value of the barter, the more likely one is to get caught (aka no 1099-B/reporting on taxes). Swapping eggs for strawberries is one thing but legal services for cosmetic surgery is another thing. Know with whom you barter and better to be safe than sorry.

  • I love the idea but it would be a learning curve for me. So much of what is considered barter is actually based on the $$$ value of the items and folks try to get it as close to that as possible.
    I say that’s not really what bartering is about. It’s trading stuff that benefits each of the traders to their satisfaction. Monetary value aside.
    I would be totally in to give this a try should it become an option in my neighborhood 🙂 I can think of all kinds of basic stuff.
    I use herbs for medicine and healing. That’s super tradeworthy.
    My husband can fix about anything (true farmer). Again, super tradeworthy.
    I preserve food.
    Got an idea somewhere that something as simple as a supply of condoms to trade might be a goldmine. Sex is never out of vogue 😉 Talk about easy to stash and inexpensive.
    Bars of soap-something about being clean!
    Even boxes of baking soda would come in handy.
    Just a few ideas off the top of my head!

    • Dear Dawn,
      You hit the nail. As an example: my father rebuilds something like say, an electric connection board that was given to him for the previous owner as partial payment. The customer (it’s a small town, so maybe their kids and I or my brother went to school together) is a friend, and he was so happy to have found someone able to ride 45 min to his hacienda to fix his very needed electric supply, that he tells dad to take the old junk. My dad then lowers the price (he will get much more after rebuilding and reselling that board anyways), and the happy, satisfied customer takes a bag of 5 kilos of beans, or some meat, cheese, or a box with tomatoes, or whatever he has laying around, and adds it to the payment.
      This is how it works. That’s why my dad has a workshop staffed up with “junk”. (I showed it on my Patreon site LOL)

      He will get $$ from rebuilding that “junk”, while peacefully working at his shop, listening to music while kiddo and I pass him the tools and listen to his stories. In the not so long run, someone will need a component he has already rebuilt.

      That’s how it works.

  • While bartering is certainly a means around government attempts to extort value from people by way of monopoly fiat currency, you’ve identified a number of practical issues that limit it’s utility.

    Which is why human civilization evolved along with the use of indirect exchange, i.e., money, like gold.

    There is nothing inherently bad about using gold or some other suitable commodity to facilitate interpersonal exchange, as long as it’s done voluntarily, cooperatively.

  • The thing you are missing is that money is bartering, just in a different context. Your focus in in “who”, we choose to barter with, Corporations or the producers.
    So this is not so much about bartering, as it is about who we barter with and personal economies of scale.
    Small scale capitalism also called “buying local” or “bartering locally”, has a lot of advantages, both for the producers and for the purchaser. Often resulting in a less wasteful environment.

    Bartering (without using money) has it’s own risks and rewards. As putting a value on the barter exchange items is variable and not always comparable across producers or suppliers. Certain ones may want want some other item in exchange( which is more valuable).
    Which is partly why civilization invented money. It is easier to maintain an even scale of determining value.

    As far as it being a shame that property is left unused, that is a result of prosperity and not such a bad thing, If it was used it might depress the value of the crops other people produce, creating poverty in them, even though it might make it cheaper for you.
    So some of these ideas need to be thought out more carefully.

  • To a degree we have been doing bartering for several years now.
    Traded half a hog for 300 bales of hay.
    Kept a neighbors doe goat over winter to get serviced by one of my bucks in trade for lumber.
    Eggs, garden produce, even a turkey for labor.
    Sometimes it is half in trade for labor with cash for the rest. As long as each party feels they got a fair deal, both walk away happy.

    • say. over in

      you talk about organizing the local community …

      “Appoint a local sheriff … Establish a local militia … Establish a local EMS … Set up a health clinic … who make house calls … Establish a wild game program … Establish a water management program … Establish a education system … Establish a local mail carrier system”

      I was wondering, how you gonna pay for all that? and with what? half a hog isn’t very fungible or divisible.

      • Ah, yes, poor Aunt7/gman.
        Always on the outside, wishing he was on the inside.

        Just as in the past, people know fully well, things need to get done. They put themselves and interest aside and do what is right for the community. They may get some kind of compensation, but it may not be in full payment of their time and effort.
        Is that not the purpose of the local militia? Am I getting anything out of it, payment to band together with the rest of the community to provide for the safety and security of the community?
        Or the local all volunteer fire department?

        I would volunteer for the local mail carrier system in the winter. Why? Because it needs to be done. Same goes for the militia, the EMS, and everything else. Why? Because I have a vested interest in the survival of my community. My neighbors. My friends within the community.

        That is the difference between you and I.

        That is the reason why I am a Marine, and you are not. I think outside of myself. For some of my efforts, I do not expect payment. I do it for the community knowing full well that enriches me.

        That is the reason why people who post here on a regular basis, some of them, even though I have never met them in person, I feel comfortable they would have my back and I would have theirs. I would share a fighting hole gladly with them. Matt in OK. Namelus. InTheBooniesTX. ClergyLady (I find her to be a fascinating person and would love to just sit and listen to all her life experiences, and of course Daisy) to name just a few.

        • so you’re expecting volunteers. free workers. free work.

          (did you volunteer to be a marine for free?)

          “Because I have a vested interest in the survival of my community. My neighbors. My friends within the community.”

          sure. but it all has to be paid for, one way or another. your plan looks great on paper but grid down won’t be a paper event. people are going to be under a very heavy workload, extra time for “volunteer tasking” will be scarce and will not be cost free, they’ll have to be compensated one way or another. what happens if you don’t get enough volunteers?

          “I think outside of myself”

          cool. would you raise meat and grain with your own time and labor, to give it to someone for free?

        • I also volunteer in my community. The civilian term is enlightened self-interest. We build relationships, we better our community, and our little corner of creation is better for it. I teach people how to grow their own food, both individually and in the local schools. I help people reestablish the connection with food that our society has lost somewhere along the way. This serves the community, which includes myself. Unit before individual.

          @1stMarineJarhead, I wouldn’t waste too much time on ant7. Feeding trolls takes too much energy away from constructive endeavors.

          • “I also volunteer in my community”

            yeah, as a hobby. when it all goes down people won’t have time for hobbies.

            “Unit before individual”

            so … you’ll implement a draft?

            • Real people will want to take care of their own. Not everyone is suited for grunt. Lots of jobs that need done.

              You’ve no need to worry bout any of it Ant. You’ll have no place in the new world. You’ll sharpshoot, pick apart and smart off one too many times and make a hindrance of yourself in short time.

              • “You’ll have no place in the new world”

                yeah, that seems to be the driving motivation behind most “preppers” – to remake the world in their image through culling anyone who just doesn’t fit in with them. yeah, I know you’ll take action against me in your new world. yeah, I know.

                but what I’m wondering is … will there be a place for you yourself in your new world? will somebody else think you don’t fit in THEIR new world and cull you?

      • “Appoint a local sheriff”

        (slaps forehead) oh I’m so blind. let me guess … you’re gonna be the sheriff.

        I see.

        • Maybe he will and maybe not. Some of us have 25 years of law enforcement at various levels and are retired so maybe that’ll qualify. There’s lots of experience out there.

          Experience ya know that thing ya get by actually doing.

      • Self centered people won’t do very well in a disaster. There is the interest of self preservation and the interest of knowing you need more than yourself to live in anything but utterly abandoned squalor. Most people that live in close enough physical proximity to each other to be considered a community will know that you simply cannot go it alone for very long nor can you drag over the financial system of the old world.
        I guess you forget the pre industrial way of doing things in an agrarian community. Work bees. One family or farm needed xyz done and needed more bodies to get it done. So the community went over and did it. The host family fed them and everyone knew that the same would be returned for their work needs in the future. I’m assuming a similar system could be set up for routine needs like fire fighters or specialized medical help. Unlike now these would not be full time jobs anyway because most communities would be small. They would be done as the need arose while the person supported themselves via the same hunting and farming everyone was doing. If society crumbles into an unrecognizable state the current ways of economy, community and interdependence are going to radically shift. Those who do not adapt will be left out to eke out whatever kind of existence they can manage without other people. Also those who mooch/leech off the goodness of others will find their supply of freeloading dries up really fast.

        • “I guess you forget the pre industrial way of doing things in an agrarian community”

          not at all. I simply observe that most “preppers” have plans incompatible with how such pre-industrial communities actually functioned but instead think to run those communities THEIR way. but it won’t happen their way, and they’ll take action, and then others will take action, and things will go down hill.

          “Also those who mooch/leech off the goodness of others will find their supply of freeloading dries up really fast”

          but … that’s what they’re doing. looking for free volunteer labor. ain’t gonna happen, not in any quantity.

          Matt in Oklahoma clearly has the best approach – “my way or the highway”. which is how it was done in the past – one or a few local he-bulls (“appoint a sheriff”) ran the show and everyone else complied or was disposed of. and that worked in mediaeval times when such issues were settled with knives or clubs and physical strength and a small local gang (“they would have my back and I would have theirs”). but in an environment awash with highly-stressed people with guns – dunno, I don’t think that will work very long, and that whole system will fall apart.

          • Asking for and/or expecting volunteer labor from the community for actions that directly benefit the community is not mooching/leeching. Your comment shows that your mindset is stuck in the current economics thought patterns. They may or may not transfer over to a new society. When there is no such thing as currency and everyone is in survival mode what recompense you expect and receive are not going to be the dollars and cents kind. I guard your stuff while you go off hunting and you fix my roof where the tree damaged it and that sort of thing. Not exactly “free” but not really paid either, the true essence of bartering.
            You should meet a relative of mine. He has said leeching down to an art form. Trying to say the mutually beneficial volunteering is the same is just plain ignorant and stubborn.
            I expect the big dog/gang type systems to also be put into practice. Which kind function will ultimately depend on the morals and temperament of the locals. Not every location is going to put up with the big dog running the world crap and will put them down without prejudice while running things like a community.

  • Been a few places including where things have fallen apart. There’s always been money and there’s always been barter.
    To me it’s not an either or but a both.

    Bartering itself is a skill not only in negotiations as most think but knowing where resources are.

    A good deal is where both parties walk away happy.

    Good deals lead to more. It can also open other doors to other resources as people talk. Those that think in blue book terms will fail. People that have pastures full of “stuff” have failed. I always have some “stuff”, because “I might need that someday” as is the nature of my redneck self, but trading and selling is more preferred.

    • To add to what Matt in OK is saying about good deals leading to more deals, also builds relationships, trust, and reputation. Get known as a good person to deal with, fair, not unreasonable, have higher standing in the community.

  • I’m not complaining because I’m far from helpless, but did you know that all these video links to the right of the pages end up from Whatfinger with a 404? Fortunately, I just look around, starting with Rumble and they are right there, but I didn’t know if you were aware.

  • Barterable skills! I never really thought of my sewing abilities as anything special, but they may be! Most people no longer know how to sew, how to remake a garment into something else, how to mend, alter, start from scratch with no pattern, etc. Folks have asked me lately to repair a zipper, shorten shoulders, hem a piece of material to make a curtain, things like that. This could turn out to be a valuable skill . I can sew just about anything by hand and also have a treadle machine for bigger jobs too. I sure wouldn’t want to work for the entitled bunch today that would be hard to please, but in a grid down situation it could turn out to be a fun way to bargain and make friends.

    • “This could turn out to be a valuable skill”

      about a year into grid down you’ll be the queen of the aftermath, have lots of people lining up outside your door. assuming there’s anyone left to line up, of course …. plan accordingly.

  • lots of mediaeval communities lived with little to no money – a peasant might see one or two pieces of silver a year. the catch is that they did not simply spring up or stand alone – they were solidly established agriculturally for hundreds of years and spanned many villages across entire counties. their communities included ironmongers, cobblers, coopers, and their women spent much of their free time spinning fabric and weaving cloth. most “preppers” don’t envision living in an 850AD society, they envision subsisting off the corpse of the old world.

    • Dont know what preppers you have in mind, but the vast majority of the ones I know of on various forums, know full well the risk/reward of subsisting off the corpse of the old world is not worth it. Better to get over it, trade for what you can locally, build your community, and think forward and not pine for the past.
      There are a few who think hiking 15 or 20 miles into town to salvage a new broom as theirs gave up the ghost is a good idea.
      The rest of us preppers, we just make a new broom from straw and stay home. Let all those various gangs/preppers in the urban areas fight over baubles and canned goods.

      • Lol a broom here could be anything from grass to twigs bound to a handle. And yup that beats hoofing it to town or the city for anything.
        I’ve lived in my little village most of the time since 1977. Might be 200 if you count horses and dogs. I’ve known the grandfathers here since before they were teenagers or young adults drooling over my daughter w g en she reached her teens. The Spanish villages here date back into the 1500s. It took a home birth and burying my parents and a husband here to be an accepted part of the place.

        • Dear Clergylady,

          That´s interesting. I grew up in the mountains and I feel sometimes the people living there consider us almost as “foreigners”. Totally unfair, I think. That´s why I want my kid to live there for a while, and learn to love that land as much as I did. My father cultivated and build that home and every plant, bush and tree with lots of effort and love.

  • “Why not get back to the way it was before money?”

    because it costs more to live that way, both in hours worked for product obtained and in product non-availability because no-one can put in the hours worked to obtain it.

    “there’s a potential leather products industry. I never understood why no one developed it. Maybe the scale would be small at first”

    small-scale production costs more than large-scale production, so few buy it, so the enterprise fails. small-scale production succeeds only where there is no alternative.

    • You´re wrong. One of my former colleagues is producing mayonnaise. His products are competing really well in quality and price with those of the major producers in this country.

      On the other hand, just for your information, one of the major work and income sources of our country was destroyed, the oil and gas industry, and there are not too many options for us to work on.

      Only those brave enough to come back, stand up firm in the middle of the road and look what to do to get money are those who will survive and thrive at the end of the day.

      Your comments are biased because are mainly related to an environment where industries are fully developed.
      Things are different here, and that is why many people was not so affected by the post-pandemics economy collapse.

  • I LOVE this article, as I am always looking for a way to lessen my dependence on any system that is controlled by people who definitely DON’T have my best interest at heart. Its part of the reason that I have followed Daisy and Selco’s advice about gathering skills, not stuff. I know how to start plants from seeds, grow stuff from cuttings, put in gutters and rain barrels and irrigation, and I know a good bit bout improving soil and drainage. I figure that’s worth something no matter what happens It is in this spirit that I offer my own $0.02 to help lessen our mental dependence on this system, to wit:


    “Currency” is whatever the ruling class says it, whether its beads, shells, packs of smokes or foldy green pieces of paper with dead guys faces on them.

    The “value” of that currency is whatever the people who make the currency say it is. That comes from the fact that they can literally “create” more currency out of thin air. Is that not magic?

    But alas, magic always comes with a price. In this case, creating trillions of “new” currency from nothing is going to create some roaring inflation. And in the long run, CURRENCIES ALWAYS DIE. ALWAYS.

    MONEY IS GOLD AND SILVER. Anyone who says otherwise is either misinformed, or is one of the criminals stealing from you.

    So, all the places in this article where it says “money” please substitute the word “currency”

    • Dear sammy,
      That was very kind. One of the things that made possible to come back here instead of living the sad migrant life in a underdeveloped country, where sun doesn´t seem to shine except a few months, is just that: my skills set.
      English, allowing me to start free-lance teaching.

      I know about electromagnetics/physics because of my profession and that will allow my dad and I to reopen the family business of rebuilding electric motors.

      Metal machining, which will allow me to manufacture some parts with my CNC machine, maybe for farming equipment, or some other stuff I have been thinking on for a while.
      Biogas production (this could be a real blast, provided I could get the needed raw material in the amounts in town)

      All of the gardening stuff I´ve been collecting and practicing, just to start growing edible plants. My mom has filled up her garden with cute, but inedible plants.
      You´re right.

      Skills are valuables. An intangible asset.

  • There have been a number of interesting money substitutes in history. In the US when coinage became really scarce circa 1819, grains were used as money. Before that in the 1790s the early US government during Washington’s presidency tried to enforce a new excise tax on alcohol. Most states rebelled. The government could only enforce it with armed troops in just a few states. Although it was called the Whiskey Rebellion by historians, alcohol was also used for medicinal reasons and as money. Going back a lot farther, researchers have discovered that the ancient Maya civilization used chocolate as their money at least in part. To which I can only wisecrack with “Maya, Oh Maya.”


    • no-one has mentioned salt yet ….

      in europe after wwiil the most commonly bartered items were alcohol, tobacco, chocolate, and coffee.

      • I live a bit over 100 miles from three old Spanish Missions built here on the desert where there was salt. It is an important commodity.

  • I’m glad somebody is thinking along these lines. Our current money system depends on the Internet, and if the Internet goes down for a few days in an area, it could really impact people’s ability to buy and sell, even if it’s the only thing that’s gone wrong. Having some sort of idea of how to set up an alternative could be really useful.

    • Dear Doly Garcia,
      Thanks! There is much to do and we preppers have to band together. I´m afraid in the next few years we´ll see hordes of city people swarming small towns. It´s a gut feeling. Saw it in Lima after the pandemics started. Before the road lockdowns, all of the people who came from the provinces came back. If there is some sort of exchange means already in place things will be much easier.
      Stay safe!

  • I think I could barter just fine. I just cut the very frayed hem off of my teen grandson’s favorite cotton shorts and re-hemmed them. I took the cut off hem and made patches at the pressure points of his 2 back pockets that had become holes. Yes, we could afford to buy him new ones but they all have some Spandex in them now and he just likes those. He is as proud of the patched shorts as he can be, showing his other grandparents. I have a stockpile of jeans iron-on patches AND a sad iron (the old fashioned kind you put by the fire to heat) to iron them on with. I could teach canning food, dehydrating food, crocheting, gardening (I grow a garden every year just to keep my skills up and share the food with neighbors), I know how to prune fruit trees. I can make toys and doll clothes (made plenty for my grandchildren), sew clothes (made my own wedding dress back in the day), I do near perfect lettering and could make signs or copy books, I can draw enough to get the idea across. I could teach school (math, history, literature), I can play the piano if anyone wants lessons, I bake scrumptious cakes, and I can still hunt at my ancient age. Why my husband threw me away when I was 40 is still a mystery.
    P.S. if Ant7 attacks me, this will be my last post.

    • AncestorLady, do NOT let this be your last post, no matter what! Your input is too important to lose you because of one ‘opinion’.

    • Ancestor Lady:
      Please don´t get caught in that Ant7 trap. He´s (or she is) just a sad troll. Pay no attention. Your posts are infinitely more important and I will be very disappointed if one of my readers stops posting. You´re wonderful and you can help many people with your posts, same thing I´m trying to do with my articles. So please hang in there.

      This being said, that “sad” irons were considered as “antiques” for some people here. Those snobs hang them of their walls in their old Spanish style homes. My mom has a few laying around that belonged to my grampa. I will try to show a few items that belonged to him just to document how things were in the old country!

    • Don’t let your knowledge and skills be degraded by a troll. I remember watching a news interview following a hurricane. A women was in the store complaining there was no bread. The clerk stated they had flour. The women asked what she was suppose to do with that? One skill that could be taught is making bread to the young generations that don’t have a clue. I think you will have no problems finding individuals who are clueless. I also remember reading about a family in Africa that made a sort of farmers cheese each day and went to the market to sell those items. They made enough money over time to buy their own goat. The survivors are those you adapt and use at least one skill to trade with.

  • I trade items i no longer need or use, for services i need. I’ve traded old cars for things. Once i traded a new bolo tie and a loaf of homemade bread for a tiny car. I recently traded a bicycle that was given to me and needed tires, for a cleaned up yard and a pickup of trash hauled off. Another time I traded 4 pints of assorted home canned foods for 2 dozen canning jars and 3 dozen lids. I traded some odds and ends of wrenches for some heavy work I needed help with. I have several full sets so the odds and ends weren’t important to me. Last year I gave a friend 20 lb beans, 20 lb rice and a 5 gallon bucket of canned meats, vegetables, pasta, et. This year that friend stayed with my husband while I took care of business in town. She said she felt she owed me something. Her reservation area was on total lockdown for weeks because of covid. She had it and lost a brother to covid. No one could go shopping. There was some food delivered to their community but not nearly enough. They ate everything I had given them when I was encouraging them to put back food for possible future needs. We always help each other or trade as needed. I gave away all my clothing after loosing a lot of weight during covid. Others have given me things in my new size. What I purchased was just new underwear and a few used pairs of jeans. I traded excess garden seedlings for getting a stack of used wood moved to where I’ll be using it. Last week I traded the promise of 3 jars of homemade soup for three cabbages and a ride to town. I made the soup with those cabbages. And I have 6 quarts and 7 pints of soup for us. In town I was given a box of produce and two frozen whole chickens. I have since canned the chickens, simply cut in half and each half fit into a quart jar. Seasoned and canned bone in. I shared some of the produce with my friend. We trade or give to each other to help each other. Those canned half chickens will make us several meals per jar or become the meat in big batches of vegetable or noodle soup. Maybe a lot of chicken salad to eat as cold salads or sandwhich fillings. I may trade one for a ride to town. Half of a chicken is a lot for us these days. We’ve slowed down I want and eat less. I have more need of help. Trading helps us all meet needs.

    • I can sew to make anything with or without a pattern, remake or repair or patch.. I learned to crochet and knit, I give away several sweaters every year, no patterns. I play piano, clarinet, violin and chimes. I can water bath and pressure can. I made my wedding dress, a daughter in law’s, and and my daughters wedding dresses embroidered with pearls and I made her gold and pearls jewelry. I made a son his first tailored suit. I’ve hemed pants and skirts for many young folks. I sewed and remade clothing for my 4 kids and 12 Native students attending my school. I kept them all in clothing for years. My father and I rebuilt an old pump oregan and retuned every reed. I can do some basic vehicle maintainance but honestly doing it less and less. I used to build And rebuild old Harleys in my teens. One was sourced from so many different motorcycles it was registered as Reconstructed Junk. 🙂
      I also paint oils, watercolors, and acrylics. I refinish wood furniture and can build simple cabinets or bookcases. I started welding along with my son who was then in his earIy teens. He’s 50 now. I used to bake and sell decorated cakes. For years my gift for every wedding at our church, was a cake and often a dress or veil. I grew up helping bake all our bread each week. I have an electric and a manual grain mill. I garden, can and cook from scratch. I owned a restaurant at 25. Loved it. For a while we drove many miles to market and sold produce from the back end of my 2 ton box truck. For years at the mission I sold 60 pies per week to pay for trips every year. My kids saw 22 states and all the relatives. We took them to 6 Flags parks in California, Texas, and Chicago, Opryland and Dollywood. We preached, helped build 9 Indian Mission churches, on a poverty level income. They loved seeing the National Mall in my hometown.
      I still have a welder generator and oxygen acetylene welding set. I have boxes and boxes of yarn and cloth stored for now. I have 5 electric sewing machines and 2 treadle sewing machines. Also and an electric heavy duty leather sewing machine capable of boot tops, purses, or clothing.
      At 74 I’ve had time to do a lot of things. I love learning and doing new things. So I’ve tried a lot of things. Growing things and caring for my critters are my joy. Canning brings a sense of satisfaction. I’m making myself a sweater for a change. We used to build our own computers back in the 1980s to 2000. Haven’t done another one since then. Had to learn basic and DOS to work on the early computers before windows. I started with windows at windows 1.1 today’s laptop has windows 10.
      Today I’m studying solar powerfor another project. I grew up forraging for dinner with my mother. At 21 I lived alone in the woods surviving on what I could find for 10 months. I had a pocket knife, a half book of matches, and a change of clothing. It was a do or die situation. Obviously I survived. I figured out a way to snare squirrels and rabbits with cordage I braided from wornout elastic from my underware. Saplings created the spring for the snares to work.
      Life is an adventure.

  • The mention of salt has some relevance here. In ancient Roman times, the Latin word for salt was sal … from which we get today’s word salary. For much of the Roman Empire’s existence their soldiers were paid with salt. There even some authors who claim the word soldier also derives from that use of salt. Like alcohol and much other produce, salt is easily divisible, easy to transport, a stable repository of value, etc.

    In today’s era where the “Great Reset” globalist tyrant wannabees are seeking an all-digital internet-based cashless economy … at the same time they are running Cyber Polygon simulations to guide them through a planned global power grids shutdown during which their wet dreamed cashless economy would be dead in the water, the ability to use alternate money stores of value or flat-out barter processes can be the equivalent of flipping a big fat middle finger at those tyrants.


  • I’m down with the attitude and the creativity of the article and the commenters. But.

    Fuel is everything.

    We can run a bit of bartering game on the side, as things wind down, but everything is fuel. Politically, it’s why they run their global warming grift. They want to control energy, it’s built into every bit of the economy.

    It takes a lot to make eggs, mentioned in this space a lot. Got feed? Fencing? Straw? Coccidiosis medicine?

    Be a producer of something essential and perhaps unique, without a requirement of fuel.

    Another thing mentioned in this article, leather. It takes SOOO much elbow grease, and running a tannery has requirements, much less turning it into product (like shoes) that people need.

    This may not be a fantasy, evaluate the economics accurately so you can take care of you and yours.

    • Dear Greg the American,

      Yes, you´re right.
      One of the most important articles and videos in my YouTube channel I expect to post on, is about that.

      How to produce your own fuel, based on what you have available. Simply put.
      There is enough information for everyone with a minimum of technical skills to put together a few components and be able to provide fuel enough at least for going once or twice a week to a nearby town, and have some spare fuel for an emergency.

      That is something I myself will have to do, indeed.
      The world is abundant in energy. But we´ve been conditioned to depend on the available sources that a trust 100 years ago decided it was more profitable for them.

      The first diesel engine used peanut oil to run on. For God´s sake. That should ring a bell to anyone paying hard-earned money in the pump just to go for groceries and take children to school.

      Stay safe, amigo! 🙂

  • In the movie “Empire of the Sun”, the boy (played by Christian Bale) survives a Japanese concentration camp by knowing what everyone needs and running complex multi-party trades. If you can find an honest boy who is quick on his feet and on the uptake, you can have a very successful barter system.

    • I remember that. Yes, it would be helpful. However, for larger communities it would be feasible using some low-tech stuff to use HAM radios to communicate via “primal” e-mail, per my suggestion. A kid running in the snow is not going to be that efficient…I´d love to show people how they can avoid using internet for local bartering. There is a lot of people who uses land phone lines and any old PC would work to access a Bulleting Board System. This technology did not even make it in Venezuela, and it would be quite useful now: prices of land phone calls are ridiculously cheap, and these are relatively safe and still will be there in a power grid shutdown. With actual hi speed modems it would be a real blast for local bartering, and much easier and cheaper than the Internet.

  • The difficulty is establishing value. Is a 45ACP round worth one egg or two. What is a pound of hamburger from your steer worth? Barter is very feasible, it would just a while for every thing to settle out.

    • I read a note from a book of a lady about value right after wwii. Eggs were tried as base value, but “there were a lot of problems with this fragile currency.” There was a hyperinflation and banknotes were broomed on the streets. Unfortunately, the only working resolution was the new state currency.

  • Bartering is fun. When I sold my pies at the Farmers Market, it was easy to trade them with other vendors. A $25 pie was bartered for the same in soap, or a plant.
    Plenty of time my sons bartered our jam for lunch.

  • In Australia, landline phone system now depends on power. We can no longer use it when the power goes out.

  • Hi Jose, so enjoyed this article, which is very much up my alley.

    Would like to first say to everyone PLEASE don’t let any concern about troll criticism stop you from posting! I read each and every comment and value your experiences greatly!

    Since COVID hit, my goal has been self-sufficiency on my half-acre homestead with an eye to bartering for items that I don’t have space or interest in producing. I grow most of my own food and know which “weeds” I can eat. Trying to grow more beans for protein and started learning how to grow a bit of corn this year. I make more than a dozen herbal remedies from plants right here.

    I have a hand pump for my well that goes down 100 feet. Grid down, SHTF, all I need is wood and the passive solar design of my cabin reduces the amount needed to keep me warm. Based on some comments in the thread, I’ll be setting aside more sewing-related items. Sounds like a good bet.

    Said a prayer for your mother’s health, Jose. Hope everyone is now doing well. God Bless!

    • Dear Happy Homesteader,

      Prayers seems to have worked wonderfully. She´s now much better, even though she will have to be getting oxygen a few more days until her lungs are healed. It´s a slow uphill road. But she will eventually get better.
      Thanks to everyone.
      Being at least 50% self-sufficient with just half-acre is an incredible achievement. You´re headed the right path. In my land patch, terrain is quite rocky. There is some grass but it´s not like terrain is very fertile. That´s why I´m slowly improving our vegetable recycling (which was not 100% in place, before my arrival, to be honest) in order to generate, as a final achievement, some biogas, and liquid fertilizer. With that fertilizer being slowly spread on the raised beds I want to build (for potatoes and some other tubercles, in the rainy season) I trust they will be quite fertile. And I foresee my future needs of not bending my back. I hope to build a collector land-drone before leaving this Earth. LOL.
      Added to the sewing supplies, I would collect some spare plumbing parts, too. Maybe not the consumables like glue, but that white Teflon tape, some elbows and valves in several sizes. They´re dirty cheap and adding one here and there every time one goes to the hardware store can´t hurt.

      Stay tuned!

  • I think what the article headline is really asking is whether we can live without currency, which is not always the same thing as money; and yes, I think if push comes to shove, a lot of us will manage. Back in America’s early colonial days, when official currency was not very commonly available among colonists, people used for money just about any kind of goods anyone else was willing to accept: alcohol, tobacco, sacks of grain or meal or flour, tomahawks and other tools and weapons, even sometimes the local native tribes’ wampum beads. Some of the wealthier colonists managed to bring some silver and gold coins over from the old country, but these were few and far between and usually used for only for the bigger purchases (like housing and land and transportation) rather than day-to-day trade.

    Flash forward to the days of World War II: an American soldier’s dollars and cents might well be worth something at home, but not so much over on European battlefields. So the troops freely traded with each other (or gambled for) candy and cigarettes and food (some kinds of rations were more popular than others) and occasionally more exotic stuff like comic books or celebrity pinups or pictures of their ex-girlfriends (as revenge for having gotten “Dear John” letters from them). This kind of money was rather perishable in the long term: almost all of the candy and food were consumed and the cigarettes were smoked, and very few soldiers who made it home kept those pictures and posters and comic books (which is why nearly every surviving comic book and movie poster from that era is a collector’s item worth a major mint these days; nearly all other copies were thrown out and/or pulped once they’d served their purpose as disposable entertainment).

    Now, if runaway inflation turns into hyperinflation, the economy collapses, and supply chains break down? None of this is purely theoretical: we’ve seen it happen before in places like Wiemar Germany (and Austria and Hungary in roughly the same era, for that matter); and what they did is a lot like what those colonists and soldiers did: started using small goods as their money. The Austrians and Germans in particular also came up with some rather creative solutions such as making “coins” from pressed coal dust (which could then be either traded or burned to heat their homes; like the soldiers’ disposable entertainment, surviving coal coins from that era are collectors’ antiques and museum pieces these days).

    I think we’ll likely do much the same thing: use alcohol or beef jerky or bullets or candy or condoms or eggs or tobacco or tools and weapons as our money. Any kind of good fairly divisible into smaller units (e.g. eggs; spend them by the dozen and use the individual units to “make change” when trading for expensive stuff with a highly variable price such as a gallon of gasoline) will be nearly as easy to use for money as dollars and cents are right now. There’ll be some silver and gold traded on occasion as well, but (as in colonial times) only for the larger purchases and/or when dealing with people in places still clinging to some remnant of civilization.

    (In such places, incidentally, silver is likely to be the more immediately useful metal. An ounce of gold is like a couple of thousand dollar bills, whereas an ounce of silver is more like a couple of twenties. So which one would you expect to have an easier time spending in, say, a grocery store during a hyperinflation/pandemic when an imminent lock-down has just been announced/both?)

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