As Greece finally succumbs to it’s financial collapse many Greek towns are turning to a bartering system that is similar to what emerges after a SHTF or post-apocalyptic world.
Everyday Greeks are now dropping the Euro at a lightning fast , even before this Sunday’s election, and adopting a bartering system to buy and sell books, eggs, clothes, kids toys and every day essentials that are necessary.
Buyers and sellers gather in a sweltering, previously abandoned building in the Greek city of Volos, some 200 miles north of Athens. There’s a bit of everything available here — books, eggs, clothes, kids’ toys, and even an old fax machine.
But there isn’t a euro in sight. On the eve of a vote which may determine whether Greece stays in the euro zone, these Greeks have moved beyond the euro, at least here. This market is the brainchild of a network of people who have chucked the euro in favor of the TEM — the Greek shorthand for “Alternative Local Currency.”
“In the network, people can trade their goods and services. They don’t need money for that. They just need time and the desire to do it,” said Christos Papaioannou, one of the network’s founders. It’s kind of like bartering on steroids, he added.
“We can see it as exchanging favors, if I do a service for you, then you owe me a favour, and I can use that favour to get some service from someone else. So, we don’t have to exchange directly, I can get it from some third person.”
Let’s say someone offers a haircut. The network determines that’s worth 10 credits. (To make it easier to set prices, one TEM is valued at one euro.) The haircutter can then spend those credits on products at the market, or on services offered by someone else.
The ever-deepening eurozone financial crisis has forced many Greeks to rely on barter-style economies.
“I want to use euro but it’s very expensive and I believe trade is better,” said Volos resident Artemis Zafiriou of in a recentNBC News report.
The town of Volos is not special. It’s one of the many Greek communities that have been hit hard by the financial crisis and high unemployment, forcing a growing number of individuals to trade goods and service in return for essentials. For instance, Zafiriou and her “partner” “sell ”chicken eggs, homemade marmalade, and soap at an open-air market in town,” according to NBC’s Yuka Tachibana.
“Looking like a mix between a flea market and a farmers’ market, it is packed with colorful stalls displaying fresh produce, home-baked bread, second-hand clothes and jewelry,” Tachibana writes.
16 Things to Stockpile with High Barter Value
Cigarettes. I hate smoking, and can’t stand being around anyone that smokes. Having said that, I recognize that in a SHTF situation many others will be cut off from their access to cigarettes, so there is plenty of barter potential.
Soap. Bars of soap, and even those little cleaning napkins/wipes that you get at the BBQ restaurants could be very valuable in a SHTF scenario.
Bullets. Obviously, it’s a good idea to have a decent store of ammo representing all calibers of the weapons you own. However, it is also a good idea to store extra ammo in common calibers (9mm, .22, .38, 12-guage shells, etc.) as a potential barter. After all, a gun without ammo is just an inacurate throwing object.
Alcohol. Alcohol could serve a variety of purposes in a SHTF situation. It is valuable as a potential bartering commodity, and it also has medicinal uses. Did you know Vodka is a great home remedy to counteract the reaction to poison ivy?
MREs. More portable and easier to barter than larger 5-gallon buckets, or even #10 cans of dried foods, MREs are great to have on hand for bartering. Keep a variety of flavors and different kinds of foods because you could be holding something that could complete a meal for a hungry person.
Silver Coins. Keep in mind this doesn’t necessarily mean only silver dollars with a full ounce of silver, but even older, less expensive coins with a high silver component (the 1964 Kennedy half-dollar, for example).
Detergent. Don’t think people are interested in bartering detergent? Apparently, Tide detergent on the black market is now referred to as “liquid gold.” Interesting.
Water bottles. To someone in bad need of water, a water bottle could be worth its weight in gold. Remember the rule of threes: you can live three minutes without air, three days without water, and three weeks without food. Store accordingly.
Matches and lighters. A box of matches is relatively inexpensive, but for someone needing to build a fire a pack of matches or a lighter could be very valuable. Be sure these are stored safely, and if they are not waterproof make them so by storing in a watertight container.
Sugar. My grandfather used to tell stories of things that were in limited supply in the Great Depression. Sugar was something he often mentioned. Imagine how easily you could win over a sweet-tooth with the promise of a bag of sugar in exchange for something you are short on.
Toilet paper. This one is rather self-explanatory, isn’t it? Sure, there are substitutes for Charmin, but who wants to keep using leaves when paper feels so much better.
Water Filters/Purifiers. Water purification drops and filters could mean the difference in offering family members treated water or potentially harmful, bacteria-infested water. Who’d be willing to trade for that?
Bleach. May be used to disinfect water, or keep living quarters and soiled clothing sanitized.
Batteries. Can be used to power up flashlights, radios, and other electronic devices.
Candles. Emergency candles would be a great barter item for those in need of providing some light to their living quarters without electricity.