Barter - labor for goods
Bartering is a lot like trading but is a lot more complex. In the context of this book, barter mans that you are going to be exchanging something other than money for guns and equipment. This usually implies some goods you produce or services you perform.
You can barter goods or services for guns in almost any long term survival scenario. Many survivalists learn alternative job skills as part of their survival preparation. Example would be homeopathic medicine or animal training. Some survivors even develop "contingency enterprises" that they can use for income in case of emergencies. Examples would be a hobby woodshop that can be used as a small manufacturing business or a mobile/portable kitchen that can be used to set up a small restaurant or catering service. The unemployed in poor areas often barter labor for various necessities. Given that most people can work some of the time, it is realistic to expect to be able to develop a method of barter that will work as an alternative to money. I personally find barter deals to be the most interesting and frequently among the most profitable.
Common barter services involve maintenance, repair or modification of vehicles and real estate. Barter goods would be those things that you can produce and sell, but are also willing to offer in return for other goods and services. You might find it possible to build a set of display cases for the pawn shop in trade for a couple of handguns or cater dinners for a wedding reception in trade for a couple of rifles from a family that wants to have a big party but does not have the cash at the time for that once-in-a-lifetime event. Food is one thing that people will need whether they are in a survival situation or not. More than one survival gear vendor has told me that you canít eat gold and silver, let alone paper money and credit. Cattle can be traded for guns in almost any part of the world at any time.
The secret to a healthy barter system of barter economy is the willingness of people to produce and exchange what they produce. As long as people can produce and maintain a flow of goods and services, you will have an economy. In fact, many barter economies are healthier than those based on debt and tribute. A bonus is that barter is not taxable for practical purposes in most parts of the world. Communication, ease of travel, and the availability of tools with the knowledge on how to use them makes the aggressive barterer an economic force in the emerging world economy.
If you let it be known that you provide goods and services in trade for guns or gear, you will probably have a steady stream of offers of useful items in trade for you goods and services. Before long, you can build up a decent arsenal, even in a cash poor economy. Barter transactions can be tedious, but they are almost always available when cash is tight. Barter may be the only financial tool available in scenarios where money is worthless.
What makes these deals work is that you have to establish the realistic fair values of what is being exchanged. If you know that your carpentry work is worth a Union wage of $30 per hour, but that on a cash basis you normally do side work for $20 an hour, you will have a hard time assigning a top dollar barter value to your work if you are dealing with people who are already hurting to the point that they cannot hire for cash. Moreover, you have to look at the cumulative labor and trade value of what you might be trading into or out of. If the parties involved in the barter are distantly apart on the values of what they are putting on the table, then the barter deal will not work. I found that barter deals are also best handled in a way that the deal is closed at a defined point. Do not make the mistake of getting into open ended barter deals that would place unforeseen obligations on you in the future or else that will run the risk of unraveling the entire deal.