Is barter more ethical than buy?
It is an interesting question and perhaps a little more complex than I thought initially.
On a first look the answer is yes. Barter is good as people do not exchange funds they trade an item or service in our case alternative medicine for some goods or services we have such as our duck eggs.
It is a win win for those involved we get looked after and it helps to offset the feed bill for our ducks and chickens. The alternative practitioner gets the duck eggs he needs as some members of his family are allergic to chicken eggs. They are fresh guaranteed organic and better value (or so he tells me than the ones he gets through commercial elements)
Add to that our ducks have a much better life than most commercial fowl and raised in what I look at as pretty sustainable way.
Often it is what you have in excess that is swapped so it is way of ensuring that things are not wasted and are shared around to those who need it. Which is something the world can most definitely do with.
And finally as was pointed out to me this morning by friend who was staying for a few days in Melbourne with us while he attended a course.
He noted I was cleaning the duck eggs for the appointment tonight and commented that bartering makes you more accountable for what you are trading. Handing over cash is easy getting cash is easy but it can lead to devaluing of what you do or make or sell. Bartering where the direct value of a product or service you have is based on the quality vs. the quality of the thing you are getting in return makes you really look at it and make sure it is as good as you can make it. Having pride in that item or service
On the flip side you are effectively not paying your dues to society. And this is where it gets tricky. Because in reality you are not paying your taxes to the government it is to society that the taxes go through the medium of the government. We are taxed so that import things like social welfare, infrastructure and really important reforms like the NDIS (national Disability Insurance Scheme) can be payed for.
It also means that people have a job to allow them to buy goods and services that couldn’t be bartered for.
We also pay for a lot of stuff we don’t like, as an example we subsidise already wealthy companies (corporate welfare) and a governments that we often don’t really believe is worth what we are putting in.
So it is a balancing act. I think that swapping items and services is great if done on a sustainable level,
And here is the kicker it is a sustainable level we are talking about. If everyone keeps below the tax free threshold and barters the rest that sounds great for them. For society probably not so great in the medium or long term. And at the end of the day ‘you are the society’ and a sustainable society is what we should all be interested in.