– The Bartering System
(c) Mary Wells, 2013, faithofourmothers.ca
One way to go through tough times when money is hard to get, or rendered useless, is to set up a bartering system in a community. This is an organized arrangement whereby goods and services can be traded with no money changing hands. Several people can take charge to organize it and possibly serve as a clearinghouse for everyone else.
An easy place to find an alphabetized list of the various goods and services that can be made available, is the yellow pages of the local phone book. More items can be added as well, as they are either being sought out, or made available. This itemized list is kept in a place accessible to the general public where people can check regularly to see who’s supplying certain goods and services, and who’s looking for certain goods and services. Contact information must be supplied as well but it is not usually a good idea to include a physical location for all to see; instead a phone number or e-mail address should be sufficient.
In the meantime, while there is still time to prepare for the tribulations to come in this world, it would be prudent and wise indeed to make it the highest priority possible, to gain a trade or skill that could be used either for gainful employment or for bartering. Some skills, ideas and material goods that may seem trivial today may be critically needed in the days to come. I am reminded of a power outage caused by Hurricane Juan in Nova Scotia in 2003, which left many without power for over a week in the summer heat. What was of no great significance before suddenly became of high demand – an ice making machine. With no electric power there was an urgent need to keep food supplies cold and fresh but the ice supplies soon ran out. With no electricity there was no power for anyone to make more ice. One person had not only an ice-making machine but a generator to supply the power for it. What had been a trivial thing before suddenly became the most sought out item of all – ice in the summer.
Likewise, a person could imagine what might be needed to meet the needs of people in the times Jesus described in the Bible when there will be wars, rumours of wars, famines, storms, natural disasters, and more. The items listed in the sidebar article on this website, under the heading Survival Skills, may be commonplace items today but could prove to be extremely valuable in the days to come. Depending on how bad things get, and it looks like they may get very bad, every little thing a person can do today to prepare is an effort well made.
At the same time it would be a mistake to be motivated by fear. Jesus said that the times to come will cause the hearts of many to fail them, they will be so afraid. But for those who belong to the Kingdom and who expect to face tribulations in this world before Jesus comes for His Church, the best attitude is one of being saturated in His love for all of humanity and willing to serve. It will be the greatest harvest of souls ever brought into the Kingdom when we are positioned to bless others with what we have and trust Him to provide for us in the process. Much of this may happen supernaturally, by faith, just as when He multiplied the loaves and fishes in the Bible. Still, it helps to have a few ‘loaves and fishes’ with which to begin.
It makes sense to be logical and prudent about how we handle our available resources now in order to prepare for the times to come. For those who believe God’s Word is true we should expect to face living without money, without buying and selling, and with enduring times of hardship that arise from storms and natural disasters as well. From that perspective it would be wise to prepare for a system of bartering with other like-minded believers, and preparing to share what we have with each other. So a right attitude towards it would not be about stockpiling things for ourselves, but rather being prepared to serve others and share what we’ve saved for them, as well as us. Then we are motivated by the love of God instead of fear.
It is this author’s understanding that much of the great tribulation will be related to this world’s oil industry. Therefore the more a person can avoid the need to use oil in any form, the better. Today there are many amazing solar-powered conveniences available at hardware stores, which would be well worth buying for future use while they are still available. They may not always be there or they become so much in demand that the supply is limited. Such items include solar panels in various sizes to gather solar energy for different purposes. Some are made with outlets for electrical appliances and some connect to water heaters or electric heaters. There are all kinds of solar-powered lights as well. A generous supply of solar-powered items will no doubt prove to be of great value in the days to come.
As well, wind energy is becoming increasingly common. Wind farms, as they are called, take advantage of the wind currents to supply energy to whole communities. It is this author’s opinion that the wind energy industry is just getting off to a good start. To gain knowledge and experience in wind energy would most likely prove to be a worthwhile investment of time and resources now, in order to benefit in the future.
Anything related to clean water supplies will also be in high demand. Everything from high-tech purification equipment to rain barrels for catching rainwater, won’t ever go out of style. Make a note of all the locations of the nearest freshwater springs and have containers ready to store a large supply. A drop or two of bleach may be needed to keep supplies free of any organic ‘contamination’ over a longer period of time. There is also a strong possibility that there may be too much undrinkable water around at times, in the case of flooding or storms. Boats, inflatable rafts, oars, and emergency supplies to take along with them, may prove to be life-saving and extremely valuable in the future.
Simple things today that fill our Dollar Stores could become valuable a few decades from now. Boxes of matches and Dollar store lighters might be life-savers during the tribulations to come. Solar-powered flashlights and radios may not always be so plentiful. Things to amuse children can make a big difference in how people navigate through trials and storms. The Dollar store is full of such things, like educational books jam-packed with puzzles and pictures to colour. Board games that are so out of fashion now may become all the rage once the I-Pods and X-Boxes run out of battery power. Monopoly, Mouse-trap, Risk, Clue, and Scrabble, are but a few.
Dollar store toiletries may one day be considered luxury items by people that can’t find them anywhere. Basics like toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide and bandaids are simple things to store away, even for decades. And think about sanitary napkins and tampons – what would a woman do if those supplies were cut short? Cloth diapers will inevitably be back in fashion once we realize the cost to the environment as well as our wallets, of the disposable ones.
Something else that is plentiful today, but which may not always be around, is books. Think about it. Whole libraries full of information are now available on the internet. Who buys an encyclopedia set today? Nobody! Everything we could possibly want to know, and even what we don’t want to know, is all available on the internet. Even the postal service is affected as people communicate by various electronic means – e-mails, cell phones, Blackberries, and so on. The art of handwriting letters is quickly becoming a passing fad. How can it not be the case that we will see the day when printed information becomes more and more scarce, and everything is done on the internet? Then what will we do if suddenly the internet is no longer free? Or when publishing companies go out of business because nobody reads books anymore? Now is the time to grab those classics and store them away somewhere while they can still be found in print. Also, reading glasses may be in demand along with the books!
Gardening and hunting skills will prove to be invaluable for everyone who likes to eat once in awhile whether they are vegetarians or meat-eaters. An apple tree, peach tree, or pear tree planted today could make all the difference in a decade or two for our children. Maple trees produce delicious maple syrup in the spring (sugar maples are the best). Blueberry and raspberry bushes take care of themselves to produce delicious fruit once a year. Many kinds of herbs are produced by perennial herb plants that come back bigger each year. Potatoes are one food that just keeps on giving: grown and harvested one year, they can be stored in a cool place and last throughout the winter. Saving the old ones that sprout means there is a supply of seed potatoes for the next year’s planting.
Olive oil is a versatile commodity which can be used as fuel for oil lamps as well as for food. It is also used to make soap and cosmetics. Large sacks of rice, flour, beans, various kinds of pasta, salt and sugar are available today in our supermarkets for reasonable prices, and they keep indefinitely. So too are canned goods to use along with them. All are great choices for bartering supplies at some point in the future. Why not put some aside while we can? Imagine the people we could help to feed in the tough times to come.
Gardening supplies may be plentiful now but may not be available when needed the most. tools, seeds, fertilizers and so on will be irreplaceable items during the tribulations to come. So too, the supplies necessary to preserve the food are easily found – canning supplies, methods of drying or freezing and all the containers. Now’s the time to think about whether or not we would also like to have them in the future when the supplies may become depleted.
For those not averse to keeping animals: chickens are relatively easy to keep and supply eggs as well as meat. Sheep produce wool for making warm clothing and blankets, as well as meat for eating; Goats and cattle provide milk and meat. Honeybees make honey as a result of pollinating plants which also leads to greater harvests. They also supply beeswax which has many uses including being the best wax to make candles; it burns much longer and cleaner than paraffin. Horses can be used for labour (ie, plowing fields), as well as for transportation when there is no other means except walking. All of these can be used for the purposes of bartering with others.
Listed below are just some of the goods and services that can be used to facilitate a bartering system. At the very least a person could read through and consider how much they already have what they need, and what they might want to get that they don’t. A few flyers posted on local bulletin boards is all that’s necessary to get the process started.
Bartering Items, Services To Consider (Taken from the Yellow Pages of the Phonebook):
Addiction counseling, animal hospitals, animal husbandry, animation, appliances, architects, archery, artists, automobile sales / rentals / repair, etc.; baby supplies; bakers, barbers; beauty salons; bed and breakfasts; boat builders / designers; book dealers, publishers; bottlers, bottles; boxes; bridal shops; building contractors; building materials; bulk foods; buses – buslines, charter buses; business supplies, consultants; camping supplies, campgrounds; candy, confection; carpenters; carpet and rug cleaners; caterers; charitable organizations; child-care services; chiropractors; church organizations; cleaners; clinics; clothing – used, new; computer supplies, repair; couriers; dentists; doctors; elder care; electrical equipment / supplies / repair; engineers; estheticians; excavating contractors; farms; first aid services; fish hatcheries / packers / sales agents; fishermen’s supplies; fishing and hunting outfitters; flower shops; flue cleaning; foundation contractors; fuel oil; funeral homes / supplies; furniture dealers; furniture repair, garages – auto repair; shelters; garbage collection; gardening supplies; gift shops; eyeglasses for reading; grocers; graphic designers; grief counselling; health care services; health and fitness services; heating equipment / supplies; heavy equipment repair / training / service; home designers, builders; home repair,maintenance; home-schooling; homemakers services; horses – riding,racing; hospitals; hostels; hotels; internet services/design; janitorial supplies; land development, surveyors; lawyers; libraries; locks and locksmiths; logging equipment; lumber wholesale,retail; machine shops; marine equipment and supplies; masonry and bricklaying; mechanics and supplies; medical equipment; mental health services; motels; moving supplies, equipment; music stores, supplies / instruments / lessons; nurses; nursing homes; office equipment, supplies; oil tanks, fuel; OIL: cooking oil (olive oil and other kinds), propane, butane, furnace oil; optometrists; packing,packaging materials, services; painting services and supplies; pest control services; pet shops, grooming, supplies; photographers,photography; physiotherapists; plumbing contractors; propane gas, sales and service; property assessment,management; pumps; radio stations; real estate; recreational vehicles; recycling services; renovations and home repair; restaurants, equipment, supplies; retirement homes,services; safety equipment, schools – various kinds; secretarial services; security guards; septic tanks,installation,repair; sewing machines,sales,service; shelters,emergency; signs; solar energy; sound systems; stress relief; suicide, distress centers; swimming pools; telecommunications; television services; telephone services; tinsmiths; tourism; translators,interpreters; truck dealers,driver training,repair,sales; used cars, used anything; veterinarians; waste management; water equipment, services, supplies; wedding planners,supplies; weight control; well drilling; windows; woodstoves; youth organization and centres;
JUST TO NAME A FEW.