Saturday, March 1, 2014

We Are All Richer Through Trade - Trading With Friends and Family

Source: de:Eygentliche Beschreibung aller Stände auff Erden, hoher und nidriger, geistlicher und weltlicher, aller Künsten, Handwercken und Händeln ..." from Jost Amman and Hans Sachs /Frankfurt am Main / 1568 / thanks to
Early Trade - (Image is in the Public Domain)

One of the core tenets of economics, is everyone is richer through voluntary trade. Trade allows for more choices, if two parties agree to trade, they are doing so because it benefits both of them.

I've posted before on here about Kijiji being a way to make money and ensure items can be re-used. Some of you may not be interested in selling online to a stranger due to perceived hassel, or safety concerns. Wouldn't you have no problem selling, or giving away, items to your friends? Isn't it much better that someone in your family or friends gets an item rather than it goes in the garbage? Or to a thrift shop?

The couch in my living room, came from a friend who needed to get rid of it to clear some space. I traded a case of beer for the couch, and we were both happy to make the trade. If I hadn't have happened to callup this old friend, he would've thrown the couch in the trash.

What ways are there to facilitate more trade between friends? Is this something that you are doing? Or anyone is doing? What about between co-workers? Your workplace is somewhere where tens to thousands of people head to everday, isn't there a chance you can trade items with these people, without any extra transportation required? You bring a DVD to work, they trade you for another.

If you already have items on Kijiji or Craig's List, sending your friends a link to all your items would be one option.

Alternatively, sharing photo's of items you no longer want in a Google Drive spreadsheet or Flickr photo site. Does a broadcast on Facebook work?

What about services? If you don't want to cut your own lawn, wouldn't it make more sense to poll your friends and family first? What about transportation to the airport? Or a math tutor for your kids? You may think your friends and family aren't interested, but perhaps they would be? Your friends and family would only take the trade if it made sense, but by never presenting the trade you never know what missed internal trading opportunities there are between friends and family.

The number of trade opportunities with friends that have by chance worked out (see couch example) makes me wonder how many other opportunities are missed out on. I'd really love to hear if anyone has formalized this among co-workers, friends of family and how well it's done.


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