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Cultural Traces Around the World

Bartering - Exchanging Goods, Services and Friendship

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Welcome to our program, “Bartering – Exchanging Goods, Services and Friendship.” Bartering was a system of trade introduced by the Mesopotamia tribes dating back to 6,000 BC. The Phoenicians adopted the system to trade goods with other cities across the oceans. An improved bartering system was developed by the Babylonians and was used to exchange goods for food, tea, spices, and other commodities. With the global adoption of a monetary system, simple bartering of goods and services between people is less practiced, but still exists in some parts of the world. In the Koraput region in India where over 48 indigenous communities live, bartering is still a common practice. Many villages in Malaysia still use bartering as their main means of trade. In recent years, bartering is making a comeback in Hawaii where people see each other as part of the ʻohana, or extended family. With this modern bartering system, people are able to trade services, talent and skills. In Africa, certain countries use bartering to help children get an education. In Nigeria, many schools allow parents to trade in used plastic bottles for their children’s school fees under the RecyclesPay Education Project, a campaign by the African Clean Up Initiatives. The barter system is practiced at an international level between large companies and countries using treaties and trade deals to exchange goods and services. It’s the perfect way for companies to clear obsolete or surplus inventory and achieve zero waste. There are many advantages of bartering. It’s economical and saves resources. Something you no longer use may just be the item someone else has been looking for. The exchange is also more direct, immediate, and personal. It’s an opportunity for interaction between people, a chance to form lasting friendships that are much more valuable. Supreme Master Ching Hai once hinted in a lecture in 1992 that one day, the Earth can even barter with beings from other planets…
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