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Extra, Extra: The Barter System, the Bikeway Network, and the Black Hoof

Every weekday’s end, Extra, Extra collects just about everything you ought to care about or ought not miss.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/selinamarkham Selina Markham

    The UK Government recently issued a report about barter and multilateral trade as a way for businesses to save cash. A copy of the report can be found here: http://www.bit.ly/KSwB0P

    “We are all aware of the shortcomings of conventional finance, so it shouldn’t surprise many to learn that the business world has continued to develop alternatives for some time. Both the general concept and the practical implementation of bilateral and multi-lateral barter and ‘nonmonetary’ exchange are not, in fact, new, but what may surprise people is to know how large a share of world trade takes place in non-monetary terms, more than 20% by some accounts, especially in the form of countertrade,”

    Stuart Fraser
    Chairman, Policy and Resources Committee for the City of London
    5 December 2011

    “Barter capacity exchange could act as a major stimulus to both domestic and international trade, something of great interest to all in Government and business seeking to promote sustainable growth and prosperity. Countertrade and barter accounts for a significant and growing percentage of global trade worth over US$ 100bn and accepted by over 100 countries as a form of commerce. London is at the heart of global financial services. It has the right talent and the right regulatory and business environment to ensure that high quality, value creating innovation of the sort which an international capacity exchange could represent, has the best opportunity to succeed.”

    Andrew Levy
    Managing Director, UK Trade and Investment
    5 December 2011

    It should be noted that the SWISS WIR have had a multilateral trade network oprerating as a complimentary currency for approximately 80 years. With more than 80,000 participants performing approximately 1.8 billion swiss francs per annum in transactions between them (Approximately 1% of Swiss GDP).

    WIR has not only been successful but it has survived to the present and thrived because the system provides benefits beyond cushioning its members from economic downturns.

    Other global multilateral barter exchange networks such as the Ormita Commerce Network Barter Exchange (http://www.ormita.com and http://www.ormitausa.com) offer the ability for businesses to exchange excess capacity for essential goods and services. monetises capacity in areas which are asset rich but cash poor. When credit is hard to come by, surplus capacities are often found wanting of a market. On the other hand, buyers for those products may exist but be unable to afford traditional forms of payment. If both buyer and seller suffer from excess capacity (or able to generate new sales at a lower incremental cost) then a trade can be made without a great deal of cash and the needs of both participants can be met.

    As more cash expenses are offset in this manner the need for national currency is reduced accordingly and the profitability of each subsequent transaction rises.