Monday, May 8, 2017

barter town 3

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From mutually beneficial trading, to profiting off the suffering of withdrawal pains, we then moved to life threatening conditions we can profit off of.  Now it was antibiotics, anti-fever, anti-inflammatory medications, Mylar blankets for the freezing, disposable gloves to stop the transmission of deadly diseases, snares for the starving and etcetera.  It is one thing to have a doctor in the village that everyone pays according to ability, a self serving mechanism as it keeps your serfs working and your own children from contracting infectious diseases so you can afford to pay more to protect your investment, it is quite another to let folks die if they can’t pay.  I understand why you think it is okay.  Nobody helps out anyone without some form of compensation ( even if it is only to alleviate boredom, make yourself feel absolved from owning too much wealth without much work, or trying to win brownie points towards heaven ) anymore.  What I’m trying so desperately and so fruitlessly to attempt to explain to you is that you perhaps shouldn’t be thinking this way.


No one is saying, “be the only charity giver”, but rather, “don’t make money off others suffering if you can help it”.  And survival barter is kind of a dingus move when you think about it.  But instead of saying, yo, don’t make a buck off of a kid dying ( it is one thing to NOT help, if the resources are needed for your own, quite another to help for selfish gain only ), all we talk about is WHAT to stockpile, how to stockpile and the only thing NOT to stockpile is ammunition.  No one says, “you understand you’ll kill kids this way“.  No, only “don’t get yourself killed”.  Now, I can already hear you getting pissed, and you’ll try to throw in my face I tell you to kill women and children of other tribes to survive.  Yep, I do.  And I call you a dumbass if you take any pity on them.  So what is the difference?  Simple.  To trade, to barter, you aren’t dealing with outsiders.  Only tribe members will be available.  So those you want to help without anything other than future reciprocation end up getting screwed.  If you are just given the stuff away, it isn’t barter.  It is a gift economy which is a different kettle of fish.  In that case, you just stockpile it now then turn it over to the tribal leaders tomorrow, and I KNOW that goes against the grain for most of you.


 Everyone wants to believe that after a short time of confusion and chaos, we’ll all gather our Wal-Mart plastic junk and go on down to the flea market and sell our crap to each other.  In a farming settlement, under the tutelage of our feudal lord, the Sunday market will prosper.  And why wouldn’t it?  The Baron wants more taxes and a market is a great wealth transfer.  He provides his soldiers you are already taxed to train and feed, and for an entrance fee ( tax ), you buy and sell at the market.  To pay the tax, you sell your goods.  Just because money didn’t trade hands doesn’t mean it isn’t a market.  Barter is still profit seeking.  To pay the tax you’ll profit off the sales.  You are still profiting off the suffering of others ( money is just a claim on goods, so more money is more goods and better goods from barter is just bypassing money as a swap mechanism ) .  But in a non-agricultural setting, in a nomadic or herding society, which you WILL be establishing if you live in any area marginal for growing ( pretty much almost everywhere NOT a watered fertile valley ) because wanting to farm isn’t the same as being able to given your area of operation ( hint: most of the American Redoubt ), you had better realize that private property and profit seeking, and community living and gift economies are two different things.


If you barter, and you live in a society that is not agriculture, you are endangering yourself in future dealings.  In a society that rewards greed, you’ll definitely get more of it, but in a society that thrives on greed being bad, you’ll get more social pressure to punish the greedy.  And don’t say, “well, this is now and this tribe won’t transition to a gift economy any time soon“,  because in tribal societies a common trait is multi-generational family feuds.  What you do now is going to tarnish, or reward, family members far down the road long after you are dead and buried.  You don’t think taking the last goat to get antibiotics to save little Johnny is going to be forgotten or forgiven generations later? 


Without private property and without money, behavior norms change.  They have to, to form a functioning society, just as inventing private property became necessary to farm the land to survive once the mega-fauna died off ( probably from climate change, but we won’t digress ).  The down side of which became government, bureaucracies, slavery and other ills.  The up side was that the food supply was assured.  I know you think the oil will last forever and steaks will continue to grow out of Styrofoam trays, but believe me, food is historically scarce and temperamental of availability and everything we humans do is just another form of “follow the food supply”.  Even now during our Oil Age, it is NOT all about the energy but about the food that delivers.  That is the lens you look through to solve life’s Imponderables.  Everything else is noise.  If private property feeds you, the ills of that system become virtues but by the same token if communal property feeds you, you had better forsake private property “values”.  Because social pressure will assure it.  Live WITH that, not against it.  Yet even if all the above wasn’t very important, another reason to question the very wisdom of survival barter is the nature of logistics.  Barter only makes sense in a Quick Recovery scenario.  Continued.

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  1. 1) Sharing IS socialism. Caveat - Socialism *works* , if only on a small scale with individual reputations on the line, what is a family if not a socialist or even communistic micro society 'from those who have to those who need'. But corruption in the larger Communist and Socialist societies gets magnified by the very economic system that is imposed (note _imposed_, not voluntarily implemented by all).
    Up to the level of the town or tribe communism/socialism works - and instead of money or some form of material wealth earnings are in respect, regard, and social status.
    I will not be stockpiling to take a truckload of goods to 'barter town' post collapse, but to provide for the family, and bring to the rummage exchange post collapse (based on the existing rummage 'sales' conducted now.) Food will dealt with likewise I believe. The monthly farmers markets will become more like produce exchanges.- Those with too many zucchinis will trade with those who have too many asparagus, etc. The nearby Quaker like community will be visiting every couple months with their higher valued goods (eggs, goat cheese, etc). And if someone NEEDS something but does not have sufficient barter value goods at the time IOUs will be written and accepted for members of the community in good standing= even if those IOUs are never recognized.

    1. Along the lines of a Jubilee. It should work, shouldn't it?

    2. Historically it did work.
      In small communities/tribes/clans/families.
      Reputation was credit, kindness and generosity within the group grew reputation, miserliness and unnecessary dependence upon others decreased ones standing.
      Outside the group interactions would all depend on what the outside group was and how they were related to your group.
      Looking at the Native Americans as a recent example hunter gatherers AND on the east coast small scale villages, we see that there would be annual meetings between many vaguely related groups where trade was conducted and friendly marriages could be arranged to prevent excessive inbreeding.
      In those big meetings a good deal where you got somewhat more than what your group would have valued the traded item at was considered good (AKA capitalism lite) but within the groups once no longer at the big barter faire such methods of dealing earned reverse respect (aka communism lite).
      I have recently also had it pointed out to me that accepting offers from within the group even, or especially, if you don't want or need the item is actually a good thing as it increases both sides standings. You can see this when a child tries to share their favorite candy with an adult, accepting even a single taste delights the child as it raises their self perceived worth to the group instinctively AND bonds them tighter to the adult as a familial member. A very good thing to keep in mind since eventually those bonds are likely to be the only real retirement any of us can count on.

    3. Like the kid/candle example as I hadn't thought of it that way.

    4. Children are closer to their instincts than most adults. And many of them voluntarily share with those of higher social standing than themselves, and are unhappy when that sharing is rebuffed.
      Also children with a singularly unique thing will refuse to share it if it does not raise their social standing "Yes, you can play with my malibu stacy doll, *but* _only_ if you do this and that with her"..."no, no, you aren't playing with her right! give her back!".
      Status through 'bossyness' and ownership of 'cool stuff'