People Invented Money For A Reason: Bartering Is Inefficient
from the shocking-facts dept
The whole reason that money was invented was that bartering isn’t a particularly efficient means of paying for goods and services. This should be clear to plenty of people, but in the last decade, over and over and over again, we’ve seen companies keep trying to bring back the concept of bartering, as if it were something new and wonderful. In the early days of the web there were a bunch of online bartering sites, and they all died out pretty quickly. A couple years back, the new set showed up, and they seemed just as pointless. One of the higher profile ones was Peerflix, where it didn’t take long for people to realize that when you have to trade DVDs straight up, there are going to be a lot of crappy DVDs available, and not many good ones. It doesn’t take an advanced economics degree to figure out why — though, that hasn’t stopped others from copying their strategy, and claiming they’ve got something brand new. It looks like it only took about two years for Peerflix to at least admit this flaw in their business model, as they’re now changing their service so that all movies now have a monetary value, so that you can buy or sell movies for cash — rather than as part of an elaborate “trade.” In other words, the site is really no different than a specialized open marketplace for DVDs, where you can buy or sell DVDs only at the price the company sets. In that sense, it’s hard to see how it’s better than, say, eBay which also acts as a marketplace, but actually lets the market set the price.