Could A Barter Economy Work?

We look at whether sharing could work for businesses


When we think about barter economies, it is generally thought about as pre-currency economies. It is considered to be non-capitalist and some may even think it is in the realms of strange communes only.

However, we are seeing that this may not be the case and that through using bartering systems, modern companies can make positive changes to their overheads.

This may seem counter intuitive, but through adopting the barter economy to a degree, it is possible to save money whilst adding value to the business. For instance, if an accountancy company needs to have their building redecorated and a decorating firm needs some help with their accounting, rather than exchanging money, it saves money for both companies if they simply exchange services.

The reality of this is simply that it won’t work as an overall company strategy, simply because people can’t work for free. What it means is that a barter economy, working in our current financial system, cannot work as the primary working model for a company.

On an individual level it is technically possible to live in a barter economy, but it needs to take place within an environment where that is the predominant system. This means that within the business environment it could only ever be an addition to the way the business works.

It also requires a total change of mindset regarding deals between companies. At present companies look at getting the most out of a deal, essentially making sure that they pay less for more. Bartering requires a level playing field for both. This means that you are not entering a negotiation process whilst trying to come out with a profit.

The basis of bartering economies means that they won’t work in their purest form in the current business landscape. However, it is worth looking into for elements where mutual services or products can be shared. 


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