Trade: So Who Needs Money?

Bartering is the world's oldest method of doing business; Esau, one of its early practitioners, swapped his birthright for a mess of pottage. Though the easy flow of money and credit has long since ruled out any need for widespread swapping, the surprising fact is that bartering survives in today's sophisticated international trade. It is even undergoing something of a revival as more nations sign trade agreements to exchange yearly quotas of goods and commodities with one another; more than 490 such agreements are now in force. About 20 companies, mostly in Switzerland, Holland and Britain, are in the...

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