Hey Greg, here is the thread you suggested! Please list any barter events or websites here.
The first place I can think of is craigslist. In a real world setting, the local Food Not Bombs was hosting a swap on the courthouse lawn on Sunday evenings. I haven't checked to see if that is still happening or not.
Missoula Freecycle and Craigslist are lifesavers! There used to be a few other sites out there that used a point system but it never fails that spammers show up and ruin those. I just wish more people actually knew about Freecycle. I just saw a neighbor throw away a massive futon and a pile of computer monitors. Some other neighbor decided it would be fun to dump spaghetti right in after them so I wasn't brave enough to fish them out but I did get a new keyboard haha.
I wrote a short essay some time ago for a barter website I was trying to start. It's called Shake the Hand that Feeds You and pasted below. At the end are several resources. I propose we use this thread as a site for bartering as well--if it's all right with the moderators. I noticed at the River Road Community Garden, where I have a small plot, that there is a surplus of produce in some gardens that is beginning to rot. If people have extra, why not share, either for free or exchange. I think this sort of direct interaction can bring us closer together as a community. ---------------------------------------- Gandhi has shown us that “an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind,” but the system of bartering can actually serve to reconcile our relationships—not in the context of arguments but rather with regard to our daily interactions. We have become disconnected: from each other, from our community, and from ourselves, and by reverting to a direct, trade driven society we can help rekindle the connections and appreciation we’ve lost.
The barter system is as old as civilization—some would even propose it functioned as the foundation for it—but in recent centuries it has become virtually extinct, superseded by a presumably more efficient monetary system, primarily because it is dependent on the mutual need and benefit of specific goods [http://money.howstuffworks.com/bartering1.htm]. People no longer have the opportunity to experience and appreciate the process of production; the work and resources required to create something: the sun, soil, rain and labor necessary to make bread, for example. When we go into a supermarket and select a loaf from overstocked shelves we forget the shop keepers that sold it, individuals who baked it, the truck drivers that transported it, the farmers that grew it, and the natural resources necessary for the raw materials to be made.
The growing green movement is helping to counter this separation by raising public consciousness about the impact that the process of production and distribution has upon our world and the importance of supporting local and environmentally sustainable methods. Farmer’s markets reveal the people that produce the goods, but even these are a step away from direct trade, because by handing over cash in exchange for produce these individuals are unaware of the work done by the consumers.
Karl Marx attempted to expose this detachment and ignorance in his theory of Commodity fetishism [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commodity_fetishism]. He proclaimed that everything in our culture was commodified, was made into an end product, and the means to the ends, the process of labor, was completely overlooked. An individual’s effort turns into a unit of value relative to social utility and the price of all other products and labors. Thus, exchange becomes not a social relation between people but between products, the exchange of goods. The result of this is a detachment: people no longer connect to each other but to products, and their labor becomes a product to be desired.
However, there is hope, a way to counteract this: eliminate the middleman, whether he be Washington, Lincoln or Franklin. As it stands, all of our transactions revolve around the Almighty Dollar. Our products and work are quantified based on an artificial numeric value, a piece of green paper that fluctuates with our economic system. Now, more than ever, when economic security is non-existent, we must relinquish the strangling hold that the dollar has upon us. We must go back to a system that is independent and driven by people and not unseen entities: we must go back to bartering, a process that gives power to the person and the worth of his word and his work.
The barter system builds community by allowing every person to know the hand that feeds him. The source of our society’s wealth currently goes unseen—the toil in fields and factories and offices. By reverting to a system in which every product is presented by the artisan we can regain an appreciation for the craft, the journey, rather than only the destination. There is a Buddhist recitation before each meal that goes, “In this food I clearly see the entire universe supporting my existence,” which is meant to bring to light all the work that goes into a single serving. If we can begin with the last step in production, the manpower, then perhaps someday we will be able to also recognize all the natural contributions that go into the creation of a single product and cultivate a greater appreciation for every interaction.
Resources: www.swaptree.com (for media and books) www.favortree.net (for services) www.craiglist.org (bartering header) http://www.bartme.com/ (for anything, point based system)
I'm familiar with the top 3 sites but is that bottom one legit? It kind of looks like a site setup just to generate some adsense or something. I didn't register but it gave me no listings at all for anything. My wife loves those sites so I'll have her register later.
There was a place called PassitonMissoula but unfortunately the owner became too consumed with making money instead of actually passing on the kids stuff. I'm thinking she might put the site back up eventually or hand it down to someone else. It was an awesome concept.
Hi. This topic is a bit old but wanted to comment as part owner of We Trade Network.
We Trade is a business to business barter network that has been operating in Missoula since 2000. The way it works is member businesses offer their goods and services to each other for trade dollars.
So if the chiropractor wants to trade for flowers but the florist doesn't need an adjustment, he can still take trade credits and spend them at a member restaurant instead.
The We Trade company maintains the accounting system, does all the IRS reporting, advertises the members locally and to our national and international trading partners, and will find the stuff you are looking for on trade. We support the effort with transaction fees.
Rebecca, I'm sorry to hear no one got back to you but that was four years ago now. There is more info, including a member directory at http:/www.wetradenetwork.com.