Bartering / Trade / Time Banking
Barter and trade is another step towards a gift economy, but it is still a system of exchange. It is based upon your ability to negotiate a deal. In many cases there is a winner and a loser. It is good, in that it is a creative way to meet your needs without capital.
Time banking is a trending new economy system that barters your time for points that can be spent within the system. I love the idea of time banking because it evens out the playing field, since we all have the exact same number of hours in a day. It implies that all people are created equal and their service time has equal value. The problem I saw in my own experience was encountering a professional who seemed to believe that her time was worth more than everyone elses. She charged 2 or 3 hours for 1 hour of her time. In so doing, she was recreating the same disparity that already exists in the present economy. So what did we gain? A new economy is hoping to solve the economic traps of perpetual poverty.
Other frailties I found was that these systems were unable to trade with each other. Their software was not designed to talk to each other. One might earn points in one system, but they could not be spent in the other system.
The final issue I found was the software focused on time-based services without the opportunity to trade for goods. It would be very simple to create a way to do both.
Hopefully someone is designing a software soon that can consolidate all the time banking systems of the world, make it possible to use points for goods as well as services, and train people in the morality issues of the equal value of human energy.
Money Crashers - 36 Bartering and Swapping Sites
The Simple Dollar - 13 Great Places to Trade Stuff
Barter Quest - Swap luxury items
Helping Network - Direct social exchanges for "karma points"