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Local Barter Networks Key to Surviving Economic Crises

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We are always told to “be prepared” for a crisis. But what exactly does that mean?

We tend to think in terms of stockpiling supplies, or maybe having an evacuation plan. Of course, these are important steps. But there are other less obvious things we can do to prepare for upheavals, particularly when it comes to the prospect of an economic meltdown.


Brandon Smith founded the Alternative Market Project and he emphasizes the importance of developing local networks to facilitate barter. In the event of a systemic economic collapse, these networks will provide vital channels for the exchange of goods and services in the event traditional markets cease to function. The national network of barter markets he is facilitating are designed to insulate and protect local economies from what he calls the inevitable collapse of the current unsustainable fiat system.

In an interview with Anthony While published at the Daily Bell, Smith explained the importance of these local barter networks:

I believe based on my research of social and financial upheaval over the past two centuries that barter networks are the natural inclination of cultures in crisis. Fiat monetary systems and casino-style equities and trade systems cannot be counted upon for more than a couple generations at a time; then you start to see major decline. Sometimes the rebuilding period is marginally painful; sometimes it is tremendously painful. Sometimes, there is no rebuilding of the original structure. Period. However, there is always barter and localized trade. My theory is that if a society can retain localized and self-reliant systems in spite of ‘globalization’ (or forced globalization), then people will always remain free. It is the threat of fiscal calamity that has driven nearly every tyranny of modern times. When people are not reliant on the mainstream system, they cannot be manipulated by it.”

We saw the value of these localized barter systems first-hand in the wake of the Greek economic crisis last summer. A robust barter economy developed out of sheer necessity, as everyday Greeks had to find ways to cope with cash withdrawal limits and currency shortages.

Smith emphasized that we need to begin developing these localized systems now – before things start to unwind. Once an economic meltdown starts, it may be too late. Smith says finding ways to minimize reliance on the system needs to start early:

Become as independent from the mainstream system as possible. Build voluntary communities based on free markets, production and preparedness.”

As Wile summed up his interview with Smith, “Barter is an essential component of surviving and thriving during a time of social tension and economic dysfunction.”

You can establish barter relationships in your own community – now – before a banking or currency crisis creates chaos. The SchiffGold Barter Metals page provides information on how to get started, and how to find people in your area willing to trade goods and services for gold or silver. If you develop these relationships now, you will have a considerable advantage in the event of a financial meltdown.

We have also developed a tool to help you facilitate barter transactions. Our innovative widget displays a single trade price of an ounce of gold and silver in real time.

Visit the SchiffGold Barter Metals page for all of the information you need to get started bartering with precious metals, as well as links to barterable products.


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