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If the world worked on a barter system, how would you fare? Would you have services to barter? Would you be successful, or would you struggle?



I am in love with farmer’s markets plain and simple, but the ones in France are particularly dear to my heart. I think primarily because I associate France with family and very happy memories. Food has always played a major role in my life from the negative to the postive; anorexia being the negative and cooking and baking being the positive. My parents invested a great deal of emotion, time and interest into food and its preparation and that has not only rubbed off on me, but it has had an impact on how I view food.

So I can pinpoint the origin of my passion for food. I then nutured it by experimenting in the kitchen as soon as I was allowed near an oven in my early teen years; those were the days of Jello, pudding and Cool Whip. As I progressed, those ingredients lost their luster and I moved onto adult cookbooks which called for more complicated techniques such as puff pastry recipes, pastry cream recipes and other types of pastry making techniques.

If I had had the talent for pastry decoration or even just the finesse necessary in, not only creating delicious desserts, but beautiful ones as well, I may have thrown my hat into the ring in opening a Patisserie shop, a small place where one can sit and order a cappucino and a pastry while you read your newspaper or your iPad. That has always been a dream buried beneath a realist assessment of my limited talent.

All of this conjecture does bring me to the heart of this prompt, if we ever re-engaged in the barter system, I would feel very comfortable trading my skills in the kitchen for supplies or services that others would be willing to barter in return for say an apple tart or a cream puff. I might even find a home at a local farmer’s market, bartering my pies, cookies and cakes for cuts of meat, beautiful produce and other sundry items that I would need. I would definitely have a lot of work to do if I wanted to be able to run my household based solely on my edible wares. That would be quite the challenge. 

I think that this would be a very good lesson for many of us, a lesson in understanding the how’s and why’s of value and precisely how objective, and alternatively, how subjective both value and perception can be; because in the final analysis, there is not one concrete method to apportion value to something that could be devoid of one’s inherently emotion based perceptions, thereby thrusting subjectivity into the equation. The last item involved that I neglected to mention is the need factor, there is where I may have trouble, how many people out there really “need” my pastries? Moreover another factor to take into consideration would be how many people want my pastries? Need and want are two different scales in the human value system and how one perceives their relative importance is yet another factor to be considered. I can see how one can view economics the discipline as both simple and complicated at the same time. I have just seen first hand how tricky it is to satisfactorily explain what I mean even when in my head it seems so clear. Good luck trying to decipher my gobblygook. lol