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Three Rules For Prepper Bartering

In today’s society, we trade currency for the things we need. Post collapse, of course, will see that change to a barter system of trade. Now, one must understand that bartering only works when both parties involved have both a need for something someone else has in surplus and a constant supply of the things the other party needs. If one party has nothing of value to offer the other party, the system doesn’t work.

Here are a few rules to consider when planning your bartering system.

1 – Never trade in anything addictive.

Lots of preppers produce alcohol. It’s great as a fuel for alcohol stoves, an excellent disinfectant for food preparation surfaces, as well as a good alternative antiseptic for cleaning wounds. Another item many preppers produce is tobacco. Tobacco is a great pest deterrent and is pretty easy to grow. Marijuana has lots of proven medicinal properties, which can be useful when medications are no longer available.

The problem with all of these is that they are also addictive substances. When addicts can’t get their fix, they tend to get squirrely. If they know you have what will give them their fix, they may decide to get squirrely on you, just to satisfy their cravings. Now, of course you have figured out your security, and any attempt by someone to loot your stockpiles would be likely to fail, it’s a situation you don’t need to take your attention away from other concerns. It’s a headache you don’t need or want to deal with.

2 – Always trade in renewables

Trading items that you can’t produce yourself will eventually deplete your stockpile. Only trade in items that you can produce, such as food or energy. Food can be grown and energy can be produced. For food, all you really need is earth and seeds. Mother nature takes care of the rest. As for energy, charging batteries from a solar panel is easy and requires no labour input once installed. If you have a larger, treed property, trading in firewood is a great idea, so long as you don’t over harvest the resource. A healthy woodlot can provide about 1/2 cord of firewood per acre and still remain sustainable.

3 – Never trade away your abilities

The single most piece of bad prepper advice I have heard over and over again is the idea of trading seeds. While this may be a popular barter item at the beginning of a collapsed society, one would soon realize that they have traded away their ability to maintain a barter relationship. Once people have seeds, they can produce their own seeds, and therefor no longer have an interest in trading with you for the things you need from them. Instead, trade them for the food that the seeds produce.

This is also true for skills. Instead of giving someone the skills to build a structure, go build it for them. This will ensure that they will be back for the labour and in turn offer you something in exchange that you need. In a nutshell, don’t trade away your value. Your value is what keeps the barter system going.

Remember, the only reason to engage in bartering is to acquire the things you need that you are unable to produce yourself and to keep the trades amicable. If no one has a need for the things you offer or if you can’t supply a constant source of barter items, you don’t have the leverage you need to obtain that which you need. Also, if someone may be willing to loot you for your barter goods, then engaging in trade with those items invites unwanted attention.

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