Going back to bartering

In all but the most primitive cultures, I people do not directly exchange one good for another," writes Nobel Laureate Paul A. Samuelson in the eleventh edition of his widely used economics textbook. "Instead, they sell one good for money, and then use money to buy the goods they wish." But in the U.S. today, thousands of people are returning to primitive habits of exchange.

One of the fastest growing trading organizations is Barter Systems Inc. of Oklahoma City. Founded five years ago by three men who had run small swapping clubs, the company now has 62 trading...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!