The politics of barter

As a barter fanatic that is politically conservative I find myself sadly disappointed in my fellow right wingers and their lack of interest in barter.  But I’m starting my story at the end instead of the beginning.

It all starts a couple years ago when I started bartering as a business strategy.  I live in California which is of course known for it’s liberal leanings.  Within this generally liberal atmosphere there are also pockets of folks that lean even further to the left.  That is the case with a town about 15 miles from my home town.  It’s proud of it’s leanings to the far left, has a sign on the way into the town declaring it a “nuclear free zone,” and it has a greater share of vegetarian restaurants than anywhere I’ve been (all tucked neatly between the organic wholefood stores, the smoke shops, and the yoga studios).  Of course I was (and still am) happy to barter with anyone regardless of their political affiliation.   But a funny thing happened over the years.  Even though I happily traded with all comers, I continually found that a significantly larger percentage of my trades happened with business in this extremely liberal town than anywhere else.  Although I’ve lived in the same county for almost my whole life, historically I’ve never spent much time in this town, but now I find myself constantly in this town to work with clients/vendors that I barter with.  Keep in mind that the barter exchange I use  the most is in my home town, not this neighboring town I’ve described.

I can’t help but come to the conclusion that liberal folks are more pro-barter than right wingers.  Based on the huge volume of evidence that I have, I can’t come to any other conclusion.  Where it becomes interesting is trying to figure out WHY.  I currently have a multi-pronged theory about this.  My conclusions are totally unscientific and cannot be proven, but I think they are worth considering.  Here’s what I came up with:

  1. Liberals are more open to out-of-the-box ideas like barter than conservatives.
  2. Liberals feel that big business is evil.  Barter is intrinsically folksy and relationship based.  It is true that giant multi-national companies barter, but for the most part the companies that you and I are most likely to barter with are small.  I think that liberals feel that barter brings “power to the people” and that by using trade they are “sticking it to The Man.”
  3. Liberals unconsciously (or maybe even consciously) think that money is evil.  I think that somewhere in the backs of their brains  liberals think that physical currency, the green-backs themselves are dirty and will somehow defile them.  So…the idea of commerce w/o cash is very appealing.

What is the take-away here?  What is there to learn?  Honestly I have no idea.  This article is just my observations.  Am I crazy?  Have you readers run into this too?  Please comment back and give me your feedback.

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