The Barter Market mimics a conventional street market, but one where transactions are done purely through exchanging goods and services. Vendors list goods or services they desire in exchange for what they have on offer. Some will be posted online in advance of the event but attendees can also negotiate with individual vendors. Any offer of money will be immediately refused. Barter Market is a social initiative to connect local makers and skilled individuals and to encourage a radical way of thinking – where money ceases to be currency and trade happens through interpersonal connections and communication.
In a society largely governed by capitalist ideals, Barter Market aims to show the implied status of money as a man-made social construct. It affirms the idea that each individual has desirable skills that should not have to be pegged to a dollar value. Portland has a huge community of makers who may not the opportunity or desire to price and sell their wares, and others who do, but have a deeper appreciation for the values behind this concept. Barter Market provides a novel platform for such makers to share their goods with a larger audience and an efficient means of directly acquiring desired products or services in return, cutting out ‘cash’ as the middle man.
Barter Market aims to reduce waste – the old maxim ‘one man’s trash is another’s treasure’ comes to mind. People can trade what they have in abundance/do not need for things or services that they do. Further, one may be rich in skills but not necessarily cash. Trading is a means of giving them purchasing parity without money.
This has actually already been piloted in Singapore (by Indigoism) - one of the world's most capitalist countries - to great success. A friend who was part of it connected me with the founder, and we believe that its awesomeness could be exponentially multiplied if it was held in cities around the world, under the same branding, instead of just a recurring event in Singapore.
Funded by Portland, OR (August 2016)