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Necessity is the Mother of Invention and as many people across Europe feel the financial pinch they are looking at age old ways to survive. TEK reported that in Greece the Barter System has experienced a resurgence in popularity. Goods, services and skills are being traded. A local catches a couple of fish and trades those with a small holder who has some spare eggs; perfect but not for government coffers.
One of the most precious commodities in life though can be time and so Time Banks have sprung up along with the more familiar Food Banks.
Spain's economy is struggling to keep alive. News that the people are using age old methods to live will not be good for the economy. In general economists are appalled at the increase in bartering. It does not after all put taxes into government coffers.
People though are sick and tired of governments and the mess they appear to be making using their methods. Unless governments get a grip they are going to lose the goodwill of the people. Many already have.
In Spain many citizens are turning to Time Banks in order to get work done and to live. Those with a vehicle may trade a "lift" for eggs. For some local produce a person offers to paint a wall. If you do not have a car, but need transport, babysitting for a lift could solve a problem. You get the idea?
For us it is reminiscent of that time in the late sixties when one phrase was "back to the earth, man".
Not everything in the past is bad. Utilising the old barter system could be good for the people involved. It means that governments can print as much money as they want and devalue currencies but you will not be affected. Bartering pre dates the creation of currencies when all is said and done.
In real terms though it is a sad and sorry situation. People living in supposed civilised countries have to revert to age old, forgotten practices, just to survive.
As the global financial crisis deepens expect more Time and Food banks to be created. They may be organised or simply vague arrangements between like-minded individuals, but revenues will be lost by governments. Ultimately though it is their fault.
The two-tier system of life, between the 1% and the rest of us, means that austere times hit those who can ill afford to be hit. Perhaps at last we are fighting back.