Criminals have a vested interest in barter. It’s simple really. Barter transactions are harder for enforcement agencies to track than cash. I’ve mentioned in the past that the alternative electronic currency known as bitcoin is known to be used by drug dealers in an attempt to hide their business. Now there may be a new and much stranger alternative currency that the underground economy is using: Tide laundry detergent. That’s right! Based on the news articles I’ve been reading (just Google “Tide theft”) criminals have been specifically using Tide as an alternate currency. If true, I’m sure this is just breaking hearts over at Proctor and Gamble.
Although there is some debate as to the voracity of the news reports about this (snoopes) I think the concept is still interesting. There is no good reason why we should be trading government issued pieces of paper to buy and sell products/services especially seeing that the paper is a fiat currency that is backed up by no real assets and has no “real” value. As such a jug of Tide is arguably much more valuable than US dollars. When you combine that fact with the declining confidence that many Americans have in the Federal Reserve System it makes perfect sense that people are going to look for an alternative currency with real value.
More than anything else I would take these news reports as a sign of the times as to the current openness of folks to accept payment in barter. As such I recommend to strike while the iron is hot and do your best to recruit as many of your vendors/customers/friends/enemies/etc. into the Cult Of Barter.