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OK...so there are already a few systems on the net that allow you to do bartering. The systems I have seen, however, all use a third party to decide a 'credit' value for services rendered. In my mind, this really pretty much takes all the 'barter' out of it, and just creates a new monetary system that
bypasses the government (which I was pretty sure was illegal, so the only thing I can figure is that the third party mentioned earlier is paying some kind of tax for altering services into a usable 'currency').
MY idea is this: set up a site that lists services from its members, and allow them to contact eachother DIRECTLY via e-mail for trades. No third parties, and no monetary exchange. It would simply be like this; the person who is interested in an advertised service has to approach the person and offer so much of his skill in return for so much of the other person's. Say one person does landscaping, and another enjoys cooking. The landscaper could approach the cook and say, 'I'll spend an hour mowing your lawn if you give me two pre-cooked home-made meals.' The party that receives the request can either turn it down or accept, or ask for more of the service in return...(i.e., 'how about 1.5 hrs. of lawn mowing for 2 meals).
I know, some of you are probably thinking, 'why not just do your regular job and earn money and just BUY these services like any other normal person?'. The benefit I see here is this: you will end up getting asked to do exchanges for services you may never have actually bought, but when someone just proposes an EXCHANGE, you may feel differently. It's kind of a variety thing; plus the fact that you aren't doing the same boring thing you would at work; you could advertise virtually anything you enjoy doing (cooking, cleaning, yard work, oil changes, you name it!) and you don't have to hassle with bosses and work BS.
Another nice thing about the direct contact system is that there is no 'set value' for any service. Both parties have to decide what a service is worth, and that guarantees that both parties are happy with what they get out of it.
[Amos Kito, Apr 05 2008]
||The main advantage of barter is that it can
bypass taxation. However, if this were to
become widespread, I suspect that the
Inland Revenue would find some way to
||Yes, they tried that with LETS. However, the way round it was to make the values of the exchange incommensurable, so for example babysitting would be worth as much as legal advice. I wanted to take it further by randomising the values either side of zero, then realised the best way of getting round it was to get rid of the idea of exchange altogether. Result: Freecycle. However, Freecycle is restricted to material goods of a certain nature, but seems to be the best most people are happy to get their heads round at the moment.