Thursday, 14 November 2013

Greece’s Barter Economy

Greece’s economic struggle has created the need for bartering once again among its middle class. Modern Greeks are turning to the ancient system of bartering to replace their failed market. The Network Exchange and Solidarity of Magnesia, is an online platform facilitating Greece’s new barter exchange.

The Network Exchange and Solidarity of Magnesia is currently the acting bank for many suffering through Greece’s economic turmoil. The website issues a barter currency known as the TEM, meaning, Local Alternative Unit. TEM’s are acquired by exchanging goods and services with other people on the platform. The Network Exchange directs people to their nearest barter market. At these designated barter markets, people can trade their TEM’s for paper vouchers that can be used to purchase items with.

Bartering is the most straightforward way to operate a market, which makes it the go to system after an economic collapse as it relies on no assumed, or attributed value. The intrinsic value of an item or service is paramount in bartering. Greece has modernized the barter with the Network Exchange, using technology to revolutionize the ancient system.

Those who developed the Network Exchange say that they do not expect to be a permanent fix for the economy, but are up to the challenge if it comes to that. The Exchange’s homepage describes it’s purpose as “A positive action by the citizens themselves, who take their lives in their hands, creating employment opportunities, add value to local products, help their families and their businesses to survive and cope with the economic crisis.” The New York Times likened the Network Exchange to a “Members-Only Craigslist”.

Here are the base principals of The Network Exchange and Solidarity of Magnesia:

• Equality and equity – Network belongs to its members. All members are equal and hold equal share in the network.

• Openness and transparency – All members are informed of all decisions made and may be involved in the decision making process.

• Participation and Solidarity – Decisions are made collectively and all members are encouraged to partake for the common good and the shaping of society they want.

Learn more about Greece’s bartering economy in the links below.

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