Browse Definitions :
Definition

barter economy

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

A barter economy is a cashless economic system in which services and goods are traded at negotiated rates. 

Barter-based economies are one of the earliest, predating monetary systems and even recorded history. People can successfully use barter in many almost any field. Informally, people often participate in barter and other reciprocal systems without really ever thinking about it as such -- for example, providing web design or tech support for a farmer or baker and receiving vegetables or baked goods in return. Strictly Internet-based exchanges are common as well, for example exchanging content creation for research.

Because barter is based on reciprocity, it requires a mutual coincidence of wants between traders. This requirement complicates barter, but in a sufficiently large system traders can be found to supply most wants. According to proponents, the mutuality fosters a sense of connectedness and community among traders.

In recent years, barter has enjoyed a resurgence as a means of countering economic insecurity, unemployment and worker exploitation. The nature of modern-day work, the pervasiveness of the Internet and the rise of social networking have all contributed to its spread. Other examples of alternative economic systems include gift economies, sharing economies and time banks.

These alternative systems are not mutually exclusive, and all can operate within a predominantly capitalist system. However, because these systems operate in terms of reciprocity rather than profit and growth, there are concerns (or hopes) that they could undermine the current economic system.

This was last updated in January 2014

Continue Reading About barter economy

Join the conversation

4 comments

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

how would you cite this piece for MLA format
Cancel
"Barter-based economies are one of the earliest, predating monetary systems and even recorded history." If they predate recorded history, how would you know they existed? Also, isn't there scant evidence that barter economies without credit systems EVER existed?
Cancel
1. Found this amazing app on the app store (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/salt-bartering/id972418947?mt=8) where I traded many of my old stuff with my neighbors. The best part is the app will intelligently and automatically find the best matches for my items. You have to try it.
Cancel
Do you think it
is possible to use technology and the internet to create
an economy that shares a few characteristics with a
barter economy?
Cancel

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

  • risk assessment

    Risk assessment is the identification of hazards that could negatively impact an organization's ability to conduct business.

  • PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard)

    The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a widely accepted set of policies and procedures intended to ...

  • risk management

    Risk management is the process of identifying, assessing and controlling threats to an organization's capital and earnings.

SearchSecurity

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • call tree

    A call tree is a layered hierarchical communication model that is used to notify specific individuals of an event and coordinate ...

  • Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS)

    Disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) is the replication and hosting of physical or virtual servers by a third party to provide ...

  • cloud disaster recovery (cloud DR)

    Cloud disaster recovery (cloud DR) is a combination of strategies and services intended to back up data, applications and other ...

SearchStorage

Close