I barter all the time with my neighbors. I find out what they want that I no longer need and exchange it for something I need.
I traded a pressure cooker and a standalone heater for some yard work. The actual dollar value of the exchange would not have made sense, since my neighbor got the greater value. What made it equitable was our personal friendship and understanding.
I also use barter for some of my technical needs. I write copy for several websites in exchange for technical advice for my own websites. The exchange is equitable, based on friendship and a mutual understanding.
They key to barter is the perception of value. Not long ago I was approached by a company to write six TV commercials in exchange for exposure. I charge $1,500 for one sixty-second commercial, which takes at least three days to research, plan and write. They wanted all six completed in two-days, a $9,000 value.
I said no. The rate of exchange, giving up $9,000 of my tine and effort for exposure, did not feel equitable.
For barter to work the perception of value between the parties must be tangible. Trading a thoroughbred stallion for a VW Beetle, even if there is a desperate need for the car is a bit out of balance. The owner of the horse might feel cheated on some level.
Does barter take place on a corporate level or between governments? Absolutely. It’s called diplomacy. The negotiations can take months or years and regardless of how well crafted the final agreement might be, someone, somewhere won’t be happy. That’s just life.
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