Thursday, February 5, 2009

Barter in hard times...

Many of the ill-prepared LDS of our day imagine to themselves and even verbalize to others that when hard times hit they will just go to a prepared persons home and get what they need...but never seem to mention that it will cost them anything. Perhaps they think of themselves like the prodigal son...coming home to enjoy a fatted calf...without taking into consideration that perhaps the goods they expect from their neighbor will not be "without money and without price" as they now suppose.

Perhaps they would be surprised to know that if they could go back in time to the days of Brigham Young...that they could expect no such handout from him. He said "Be not so unwise as to sell the bread that you and your children need...and remember that you cannot buy any from me, unless you pay a fair price for it." (Journal of Discourses, vol. 10, p.256)

"Paying a fair price" does not mean..."come on over and get what you want for free!" The doctrine for "providing in the Lords way" is that if a person can work for what they need...they should.

In the words of Heber J. Grant...

"My experience has taught me, and it has become a principle with me, that it is never any benefit to give out and out, to man or woman, money, food, clothing, or anything else, if they are able-bodied and can work and earn what they need, when there is anything on earth for them to do." (Conference report October 1936, pp. 2-6)

Paying a fair price for goods and services is generally now done with the currency of a nation. One must remember that the currency of any nation is only of any worth in a working economy. In a non-working economy...trying to get the things you want will take offering your services (working)...or trading the things that you have that people want.

Ezra Taft Benson told us...

"The Saints have been advised to pay their own way and maintain a cash reserve. Recent history has demonstrated that in difficult days it is reserves with intrinsic value that are of most worth, rather than reserves, the value of which may be destroyed through inflation." (Ezra Taft Benson, “Prepare Ye,” Ensign, Jan. 1974, 68)

So...during "difficult days" it is not money in the bank that we want...but instead "reserves with intrinsic value".

So what are some items with intrinsic value?

F. Enzio Busche helps us to see how a now commonplace food item...was once an item of most value...

“Frequently I am asked, ‘What were the most valuable items in the days of starvation in Germany?’“...As for what we needed, the food item we relied on most was vegetable oil. With a bottle of vegetable oil, one could acquire nearly every other desirable item. It had such value that with a quart of vegetable oil one could probably trade for three bushels of apples or three hundred pounds of potatoes. Vegetable oil has a high calorie content, is easy to transport, and in cooking can give a tasty flavor to all kinds of food items that one would not normally consider as food - wildflowers, wild plants, and roots from shrubs and trees. For me and my family, a high-quality vegetable oil has the highest priority in our food storage, both in times of daily use and for emergency use. When vegetable oil is well-packed and stored appropriately, it has a long storage life without the necessity of refrigeration. We found ours to be in very good condition after twenty years of storage, but circumstances may vary in different countries and with different supplies.” (F. Enzio Busche Ensign,
June 1982)

Many of us have heard the story of how in the "great depression" a car was traded for a sack of potatoes. In day's of prosperity it is hard for many to fathom why someone would ever make such a trade...but when food becomes scarce...or when hyperinflation increases the price of basic commodities to the point where the average person cannot buy will make a whole lot of sense.

It is foolish to expect that the expensive toys we now have will be able to be traded to obtain our family the food we need in hard times. When food is priority number one and people's stomachs are one will want your electronic trinkets...your fine twined linens...and crisping pins...they will want eggs and butter!!

Charles W. Nibley related how the saints survived in the Cache Valley during the winter of 1860 and said that "Eggs and butter were the chief currency of the country. There was no such thing as money". (Pioneer stories, pp. 87-98)

I know of many people who might be labeled "survivalists" who when they are at the store...and see a great deal on a certain item...stock up on as much as they can. Their attitude is that if they can't use least they will have extra on hand with which to trade for the things they do need.

As F. Enzion Busche said...

" long as there survives more than one family, there will be trading of valuable items. A free market will begin immediately to satisfy the needs of the people, and items in greatest demand will set the price, bypassing the use of money." (Ensign, June 1982 pp. 17-18)

Here is a site that list's the 100 things that will disappear first...that you may consider stocking up on...for bartering purposes. By no means is it a complete list...but perhaps it will get you thinking on what items really matter most...and which may be of most use for bartering when the time comes.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for a great article. This was passed to me by my mom. I am in complete agreement, and I think one of the best things we can do, is teach our neighbors and those close to us how to prepare, and even HELP them do it, so as to make our own stock last longer. We have given 72 hour kits, honey, food storage, etc. as gifts many times to family members. They were greatful, as they are many times unsure of what was needed, or pre-occupied with other things.