Bartering Gets Popular

Bartering and alternative currencies are gaining ground, at least in Greece. The UK Guardian reports, “Euros discarded as impoverished Greeks resort to bartering … Communities set up local currencies and exchange networks in attempt to beat the economic crisis… It’s been a busy day at the market in downtown Volos… But not a single euro has changed hands – none of the customers on this drizzly Saturday morning has bothered carrying money at all. For many, browsing through the racks of second-hand clothes, electrical appliances and homemade jams, the need to survive means money has been usurped.” One of the women at the market said, “It’s all about exchange and solidarity, helping one another out in these very hard times. You could say a lot of us have dreams of a utopia without the euro.”

Locals in the port city of Volos have created their own currency, known as the Tem. Christina Koutsieri said, “frankly the Tem has been a life-saver. In March I had to close the grocery store I had kept going for 27 years because I just couldn’t afford all the new taxes and bills. Everyone I know has lost their jobs. It’s tragic.”

Christina is among the 1,300 people who have signed up to use the informal bartering network which sets an exchange rate of 1 Tem to 1 euro.

The Daily Bell reported, the Guardian “article is not the only mainstream post dealing with these systems. Recently there was a BBC profile of Greek alternative barter/currency systems… the BBC article mentioned nothing significant about the option of gold and silver… Are Greeks turning to gold and silver as well, as those in Zimbabwe have done once the economy collapsed? You wouldn’t know it from this article but we would bet gold and silver are finding their place alongside such barter/currency systems.”

I’m a big supporter of both alternative currencies and barter and I’m pleasantly surprised by the growth of each within the liberty community. The most popular forms of alternative currency that I come across are gold, silver and bitcoin. I dream of the day that I can do all of my exchanges in something other than a currency forced upon me by a government.