Better Barter Preparedness

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I’ve heard a lot of suggestions about bartering. Some of them are good ideas, while others might be dangerous. Bartering is just trading, either goods for goods, goods for services, or services for services.

First of all, we need to ask why we are bartering at all. If we need to barter, it is probably because we need (or just want) something we don’t have, and someone else needs or wants something that we have. If something isn’t exchanged by both parties, then it’s essentially a begging or charity situation.

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It is best to put yourself in a position where you don’t need to barter at all. Have everything you need. If you don’t have enough food, water, shelter, weapons, medical supplies, communications equipment, gardening supplies, energy, transportation, books, tools, or skills, then you need to get those first! Try to prepare yourself to the point that you have enough for charity.

None of us can be totally prepared as an individual. Very few of us can be totally prepared as a family. Even few multi-family groups will have everything they will ever need. This is why you will need to prepare for bartering.

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Ideally you want to be prepared enough that you don’t need to barter for tangible items (food, weapons, etc.). It is very difficult, however, to have all the skills you might need. Some of the skills you may have to barter for might include medical, veterinarian, electrical, mechanical, machinist, or heavy labor. Those first skills I mention can take years of training and practice to become proficient. The need for those skills are probably obvious. The last one, heavy labor, might not be considered a “skill”, but clearly it isn’t something you can store up for years. Labor help might certainly be needed by the weak or elderly, but even a strong young family might need help with a bigger project (large crops, digging an irrigation system, constructing a building, cutting wood, etc.).

Now that you know why you might need to barter, the question becomes what do you use for barter? A skill is a very valuable thing to have. As I have said, for most people, skills are hard to store for a rainy day. And if you are the one with a valuable skill, it takes no room for you to store it. And, when you give your skill to someone, you still have it when you leave. Most of us, however, will be trading something tangible for a skill or for something tangible. Think of tangibles you can get now, that might be valuable during TEOTWAWKI, that store well, cost little, and can be hard to make.

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April 16, 2010

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