Barter Direct

Barter Direct

Barter, the direct exchange of goods and services without the use of money. Barter is common in primitive societies, but may also appear in a developed money-using economy during rapid inflation (hyper-inflation), when the value of money is falling so drastically and quickly that people are unwilling to hold notes or coin. The main disadvantages of barter are that it requires a 'double coincidence' of wants between the two parties (each wanting what the other offers), and that in the absence of money there is no common measure of value, If notes and coin are not available, or after the emergence of barter in inflation, there is a tendency to use a commodity as currency. For example, after World War II when the German mark had shrunken in value, coffee and cigarettes were widely used as currency. Modified barter between countries may also occur in the form of bilateral trading agreements in which there is barter of commodity for commodity or value for value. International barter arises as a modification of attempted self-sufficiency (autarky) or when the mechanism of international currency payment has been disrupted by war.

Bastiat, Frederic (1801-50), a French writer on economics. He was orphaned at an early age and soon afterwards contracted tuberculosis. He studied at a university and tried business and agriculture, but failed at all three. Failure and idleness turned his thoughts to economics, where he used ridicule with devastating effect. He was an ardent free trader and rose to prominence with his article, De l'infiuenee des tavifs fvai'ais et anglais sup l'aveniv des deux peuptes (1844), which was followed by other Sophismes d'cononiques. In 1848 he was elected to the National Assembly, but poor health caused him to retire to Pisa, where he died. His satire was popular with the liberals of his time, and some is worthy reading in our day, though his work had little fundamental effect on economic thought.

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Since then his writings have in turn been increasingly reinterpreted as a special case both by some followers and by some economists who had not wholly accepted his writings. The content of economics is in a state of change, and this site is therefore not a final statement of economic doctrine.

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