Activity One: Barter versus money
1. Remind the class that barter still happens. For example, there are internet sites where people swap clothes, games, books etc. and young people swap match attax cards. Although barter still happens, money has officially replaced the ‘barter system’ of exchanging/trading goods and services. People now trade money for the goods and services they need/want.
2. Tell the class that they are going to have a class debate about the advantages and disadvantages of bartering and trading with money.
3. Write the following debate motion on the white/blackboard:
The world would be a better place if people returned to a barter system of trading.
4. Divide the class into small groups.
5. Instruct half of the groups to come up with arguments in favour of the motion and the other half to come up with arguments against the motion.
6. Allow sufficient time for small group discussion before bringing the class together and facilitating the debate.
7. Record the main arguments presented on the white/blackboard. If the following arguments were not made by the class, add them to the list and ask students to rank all of the arguments in order of importance:
Arguments in favour of the motion:
- Money is not always required to get something you need/want
- You could build trust through trade
- If you have something that is in demand/popular, you can get more than the cost you paid for it by trading
Arguments against the motion:
- Money is a fairer system
- People can work out how much money they have at any one time
- The value of goods and services are clearer when using money
- You might get cheated or feel cheated in a bartering situation
- You may not find what you need/want in a bartering situation
- You might feel compelled to trade away something valuable because of your particular circumstance at that time
- The values people place on trade items vary depending on the individual and the circumstances
- Goods and services that are valued in monetary terms have a set value, whereas bartering or trading is much more subjective
- It is very difficult to compare values of goods and services when they are not priced
- It is hard to know whether or not you are getting a good deal when you cannot compare your goods/services with similar goods/services
8. Ask the class to take a vote on whether or not the motion is carried.
9. Conclude by stating that our current way of exchanging/trading is with money but there are occasions when barter is useful, especially when people do not have sufficient money to get what they need or want.