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Bartering in a Post-SHTF World

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by wags_01, May 7, 2011.

  1. wags_01

    wags_01 Monkey+

    I've been thinking about this a lot recently, but haven't come up with a strategy that would ensure a fair trade scenario (Assume, for argument's sake that I am well-stocked in most items, but find that I lack something of vital importance; a medication, a source of protein, a certain caliber ammunition, etc. and am the 'weaker' party in this situation). I also have a valuable item or service to trade. Any situations I can think of would inevitably come to one of two conclusions: a) the party with greater firepower simply eliminates the weaker party and takes what they want or b) doesn't trust the weaker party to deal in a symmetrical fashion (i.e. they set a trap) and therefore the deal never happens, and neither party benefits.

    In many ways, this is similar to a hostage exchange. How do I ensure that I get what I need if I am the weaker party?
  2. VisuTrac

    VisuTrac Ваша мать носит военные ботинки Site Supporter+++

    It's simple, start your barter network NOW!

    I've a friend that can securely store huge quantities of fuel, i can provide food and water. He lives on a big azz rock pile that he's been trying to grow stuff. Can't grow enough to sustain self. so .. we will barter when the time comes.

    It doesn't need to be stronger/weaker. If you plan now with equals.
    ranchgirl and Gator 45/70 like this.
  3. Tikka

    Tikka Monkey+++

    It will be similar to buying a car. You will wish to pay less, they will want more and perhaps a compromise will be reached.
    If they have something you desperately need they will be able to walk away easier than you.
  4. Gator 45/70

    Gator 45/70 Monkey+++

    VisuTrac's got it...Develop a network of who's who and has what for trade...By doing this you may see what they need and what you can trade for...

  5. wags_01

    wags_01 Monkey+

    That's a great idea, thanks. For the sake of argument, what if I needed something outside the network?

    I guess I'm asking a tactical rather than a strategic/logistical question.
  6. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    Wags, At that point the question then becomes, "What are you willing to do, to obtain what you want?" And, "Just how bad is your Need, for the item of interest?" When you ask, and answer those two questions in your own mind, you will arrive at your answer......

    The same will be true when dealing from the other side of the equation. "What are you willing to do to Keep what they want?" And, "Just how bad is your Need, for the item of interest?"

    The answers can run the range from, "Just give it to them, because I have plenty." To, "They can take it from my COLD Dead Hands, or Die Trying." This is true in ALL society, even in todays world. Just how bad is your NEED, and what are you willing to do to satisfy that need. We make these determinations Daily, every time we enter into a transaction with another Human. We can see the results on a Daily Basis, and on occasion some of these Interactions make the NEWS, if the parties want, becomes Greater than the accepted norm for such an exchange. It is just Human Interaction on display.....
    bgner likes this.
  7. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    I've often thought that barter is like going into a pawn shop to acquire something you saw in the window. How bad do you want it, and how bad does the shop want to swap you for what you have? The basic difference is that barter would not involve a cost of doing business for the store front. (Or that's how we can idealize things.)
    dragonfly and BTPost like this.
  8. VisuTrac

    VisuTrac Ваша мать носит военные ботинки Site Supporter+++

    Ok, here is a silly idea. Do you have a local farmers market in your area? You know the ones that popup in a parking lot on weekends where farmers/crafters etc show up to hawk their produce/wares?

    This is probably going to be the hub of commerce post SHTF for a lot of communities.

    Go there. See what they have. See who's there. Make Friends.
  9. VisuTrac

    VisuTrac Ваша мать носит военные ботинки Site Supporter+++

    Out-of-Network? Sorry that's not covered. Oops, sorry I was reading my dental insurance policy.

    At best you can hope that you can make the trade at a get together like a farmers market or a trappers rendezvous like event. The people are there to buy/sell/trade.

    OON is going to be more expensive. They don't know you, you don't know them. Working outside of event does involve higher risks. How bad do you really need it. Can you substitute a different item ?
  10. Gator 45/70

    Gator 45/70 Monkey+++

    You know..I consider this post an important question about one's contact's for barter...
    I have few contact's...Therefore it's something that i need to work on..just saying...
  11. wags_01

    wags_01 Monkey+

    Good suggestions all around. One more thing to add to my list...
  12. Seacowboys

    Seacowboys Senior Member Founding Member

    The hunters will at first be the leaders but soon, as in all civilizations, the merchants will take over and make life miserable for all of us. The price of my cow will be traded for with magic beans. Barter begins with a neighbor needing a roof while I need my garden plowed, it is only when it extends to "Stuff" that the merchant mentality takes over and it's down hill from there. Merchants feed on greed and work to establish fees associated with each and every item and worry about getting the short end of a trade. They deny the relative value of items or tasks in place of the what "what can I get for it" mentality. How much is a simple drink of water worth to a man dying of thirst? How much is a vial of fresh insulin worth to a type-2 diabetic? I would concentrate more on bartering "skills" than stuff. The bartering of building a fence requires your alive and healthy presence whereas, if I want your stuff, then I kill you and take it.
    dragonfly likes this.
  13. wags_01

    wags_01 Monkey+

    I totally agree, Seacowboys. Oddly enough, this was one of Marx's primary critiques of capitalism (not that I am a Marxist by any means, but he had some excellent insights); that it ignores or negates 'use-value' (the utility of a certain good or service) and replaces it with 'exchange-value' (the arbitrary abstract 'cash' equivalent). This ultimately concentrates power in the hands of the merchants and bankers, who actually produce zero or little in the way of 'use value'.

    But I digress.
    dragonfly and Seacowboys like this.
  14. -06

    -06 Monkey+++

    From a strictly tactical point of view you can have all goods bartering done under a good marksman's field of fire. IMO, one should not have to barter for several months to obtain anything. Bartering is the truest form of trade and we will learn how to be skillful when the time comes. "By the way", bankers, merchants, and most of the middle class just "disappeared" during the Russian Revolution. The wolves ate well it seems.
  15. tommy20/69

    tommy20/69 Monkey++

    there will not be any easy bordering it will be the stronger takes it all just look at the news today thugs just take what they want they don't trade or give up anything they just take it so what makes you think in a shtf day that they will all of a sudden be nice and wanna trade?
  16. thebastidge

    thebastidge Monkey+

    I disagree totally. Marx was full of crap, and "use value" and "exchange value" are the same thing- value is relative to need. Always. Capitalism absolutely does not ignore use value. In a free market (if only we had one) you can't be forced to give something up. Ever. You can only be enticed, through value exchanged.

    As a person who owns a shop, I totally refute your idea that merchants are greedy and valueless. If you want to get the prices that I get, you would have to front thousands of dollars on a wholesale lot of many more units than you could possibly use, taking the risk on, that you might not be able to sell them, or not for enough to cover your expenses (and boy howdy are there expenses to maintaining a store front, with utilities, and paying employees!)

    Become a small business person before spouting off about things without considering the truth.
  17. Seacowboys

    Seacowboys Senior Member Founding Member

    Bastige, you didn't refute or disprove anything; you just disagreed. Being a merchant does not necessarily disprove anything, however vehemently you disagree. We all take risks in our endeavors. What works today, I still think will be pretty useless in a post SHTF environment. In days of yore, Drummers would travel the countryside, hawking their needles, thimbles, pots, and pans. They were a useful part of society, as it existed. The Walmart mentality killed that. As for selling for profit, during a major crisis? We would probably just hang you for profiteering and take your stuff. As an aside, many of us are "small Business" owners, though not necessarily in retail.
    chelloveck likes this.
  18. wags_01

    wags_01 Monkey+

    Not remotely. Look at any consumer product, like shampoo. You can get a bottle of off brand shampoo at a Walmart for a dollar. Now go to a professional salon, and you'll see some bottles cost upwards of $50. They do basically the same thing; is the $50 bottle 50 time better?

    I did not say that merchants are 'greedy and valueless'. I said that they do no produce much in the way of 'use-value'. While merchants do provide a convenient location to acquire goods, they do not actually produce them (typically).

    What makes you think I don't have a small business of my own? Are only small business owners allowed to voice their opinions?

    I'm sorry that you took this as a personal attack, but neither Marx nor I was criticizing small business owners, but the mechanisms by which capital becomes accumulated and flows upward towards the elite, and away from the proletariat.
    Seacowboys likes this.
  19. dragonfly

    dragonfly Monkey+++

    Maybe, (just thinking out loud here) "WE" should consider setting up a "Trading Post" scenario? Each person brings their wares ( but then there is the matter of TRUST) and leaves them with a description of what they desire in trade?
    Hmmmm I can see where it too has it's own problems, in the long and short of it all!
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