Links to Information about Barter
- International Barter Alliance
- Claims to be the world's largest barter marketplace.
- IRTA: The International Reciprocal Trade
- IRTA is a non-profit corporation established to foster the interests of
the commercial barter industry in the U.S. and around the world. IRTA's web
site gives statistics on the total value of goods bartered by North American
- Barter Consultants
- Barter Consultants offers barter services, B2B trade & exchange,
barter trading methods, trade exchanges, barter systems for barter clubs
members using trade dollars to swap, trade, and barter online.
- This is a large, international computerised bartering system which
started in Australia.
- The Online Barter Association's website.
- Barter Networking Inc.
- A trading system, based in the mid east coast region of the US, designed
to help small and large businesses alike by bartering goods and services to
- Free2Xchange.com is a community project with the aim of giving people
have an alternative to fiat money systems. As well as exchanging goods people
can use the system to offer services, including their time.
- Ormita acts as a clearinghouse in 5 continents for the trade of excess
capacities, goods and services and works through a combination of manual
clearing, online e-commerce trading, 24 hour telephone brokering and
independent licensees and brokers.
- Global Offset and Countertrade
- The purpose of the Global Offset and Countertrade Association (G.O.C.A.)
is to promote trade and commerce between companies around the world and their
foreign customers through a greater understanding of countertrade and
- Freecycle: changing the world one
gift at a time
- The Freecycle Network is an international grassroots and entirely
nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in
their own towns. It's all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of
- National Association of Trade
- NATE's purpose is to educate, inform and advise on the barter industry.
It has some members outside the US.
- With listings in over 70 countries, U-Exchange.com gives you the option
of bartering local or worldwide irrespective of whether your interest in
bartering is for business or pleasure.
- This service offers three different ways of trading; by cash, barter, or
a combination of the two.
- A free online platform and community where people can barter private services. It works with a virtual currency called *ME and has been in existence since 2005.
- A bartering system based in Berlin that uses a mutual credit currency to
- XO Limited
- XO Limited produces software for the barter, credit union and alternative
currency market world-wide. It offers a "pay anyone" facility, where members
of any barter exchange can send barter dollars to anyone who has a mobile
phone or email, even non-barter exchange members, thus making barter more
- Classified listings of goods and services on offer, with a search
- An Irish Barter Exchange system using a virtual currency
- The ITEX Retail Trade Exchange is the world's largest retail trade and
- Equity trades are among the services offered. The future value of startup
companies can be used as a 'currency' to make necessary purchases for
- Swap Thing
- A site catering for a wide range of users including collectors and
traders, parents, small business owners and nonprofit organizations.
- How to Barter
- A guide offering helpful suggestions and advice on how and why you should
barter. It deals mainly with reciprocal bartering.
The History and Relevance of Barter
Barter is often regarded as an old-fashioned means of exchange that was
superseded because money is far more efficient. After all, in a monetary system
an apple grower who needs shoes simply has to find a cobbler. In a pure barter
system the apple grower would have to find not just any cobbler but one who
happened to want apples at that time. Thus in virtually all civilizations,
except the Incas,
money came to play an important role.
However the inconvenience of barter was just one factor, and in most places
was probably not the most significant one, in the origin of
As Glyn Davies wrote, barter has, undeservedly,
been given a bad name in conventional economic writing, and its alleged
crudities have been much exaggerated. (Quoted from A History of money from
ancient times to the present day, new ed. Cardiff: University of Wales
Press, 2002. Page 10).
Barter and money are not necessarily completely incompatible. One of the
most important improvements over the simplest forms of early barter was first
the tendency to select one or two particular items in preference to others so
that the preferred barter items became partly accepted because of their
qualities in acting as media of exchange although, of course, they still could
be used for their primary purpose of directly satisfying the wants of the
traders concerned. (Quoted from History of Money
Barter still often plays an important role in trade with countries whose
currencies are not readily convertible, e.g. the communist countries during the
cold war. At the retail level barter has become the main means of exchange on
occasions when currencies have collapsed completely as a result of
hyperinflation, e.g. in Germany after the two world wars.
In normal circumstances retail barter is much less important but its
persistence has puzzled some economists. The magazine Exchange and Mart
devoted partly to barter has been published in Britain every Thursday since
1868. Jevons noticed it in its early years and was obviously puzzled that any
such publication, partly dependent on serving such a long obsolete purpose as
barter, should appear to have any use to anyone. We must assume,
concluded Jevons, ... that the printing press can bring about, in some
degree, the double coincidence necessary to an act of barter. (Quoted by
Glyn Davies in A History of Money,
If the printing press could, as Jevons acknowledged, make barter more
feasible then the computer can certainly do so even more effectively as
demonstrated by the links below. It is worth noting however, that some of these
computerised barter schemes do use units of account to facilitate comparison of
the values of the goods and services offered and therefore in such cases the
barter circles are using a form of money, albeit one with very restricted
It is also worth noting that the free exchange of information that the
Internet facilitates could also be regarded as a form of gift-exchange, a
version of barter. See my essay on Should Information Be
Free?, a version of which was published in the inaugural British edition of
For more information about the connection between barter and the invention
of money see the Origins of Money and Banking.
- BarterNews Magazine
- This magazine was founded in 1980 as a voice for the barter and
countertrading industries in the US.
- An article by John Durrant inspired by the work of the anthropolgist
David Graeber criticising the view that the invention of money was a response
to the limitations of barter.
Freecycle helps millions hit by the credit crunch
- The number of British users of Freecycle, a website that allows members
to trade goods and services, has more than doubled to 1.2 million in the past
year. Daily Telegraph, 6 July 2008.
and hopeless on the streets of Buenos Aires
- People resort to barter as they battle outbreak of 'Argentinitis'. The
Guardian, April 25, 2002.
- Karl Polanyi: some
- A critique, by Dr A. J. H. Latham, of Polanyi's writings which emphasise
reciprocity and down-play the role of money.
Barter and Economic Stabilisation
- An International Journal of Community Currency Research article by
- Economic Means
to Freedom - Part 5
- by Frederick Mann. Many so-called barter clubs are not pure barter
systems as they utilize their own forms of barter currency as media of
exchange. Mann says that his article is now largely of historical interest
because his proposals have been overtaken by the development of alternative
currencies such as e-gold.
The new global currency
- by Tim Phillips. Bartering is not only a great way for small businesses
to save cash, it can also generate new trade, especially overseas. The
Guardian, February 27, 2003.
- The Babe
Ruth of Barter
- An article about Chris Sweis who was the CEI of Ibart, a barter banking
firm that by 2006 had gone out of business. 27 May 2003.