Grind for March 9th
“Storms make trees take deeper roots.” – Dolly Parton
The Return of the Barter Economy, Swapping Eggs for Toilet Paper
Since the beginning of March, unattended folding tables have begun popping up at intersections and the end of people’s driveways, offering everyday goods like rice, a jar of jam or bread. Take what you need and leave what you can, the signs say.
Barter, the trade system prevalent in the Middle Ages, is back in the time of coronavirus pandemic, with a modern twist.
Social networks Facebook and Nextdoor are flooded with posts from neighbors and friends seeking to swap eggs for toilet paper. Small and midsized businesses, whose cash trade has dried up from the economic fallout of shelter-in-place orders, are turning to online barter exchanges.
“When cash is extra tight, it behooves us to buy as much as possible on trade,” said David Yusen, director of business development for Seattle-based Heavy Restaurant Group, which recently bought 56 cases of Malbec wine for $15,000 worth of barter credits. The company’s 10 restaurants have closed, but some locations will start offering pick-up and delivery this week. “It saves us money, it helps cash flow.”
In normal times, the roughly 200 barter exchanges in the U.S. let roofers fix leaks and get paid in restaurant takeouts or accounting services. With tens of millions of Americans under lockdowns, those cash-free trade systems are seeing an influx in participants.
The International Reciprocal Trade Association represents 100 barter exchanges, each catering to thousands of businesses. Some exchanges reported a 20% to 35% increase in member signups in March, said Ron Whitney, president and chief executive officer of the group, known as IRTA. Read more…
More Deaths Than 9/11
The US death toll from the coronavirus pandemic climbed past 3,000 on Monday, making the outbreak more deadly than the September 11 terrorist attacks that killed 2,977, and health experts are warning the worst is yet to come.
Total deaths across the United States increased by at least 605 on Monday, reaching a total of 3,180. It meant someone died every two minutes from the deadly disease. There were 22,022 new cases which brings the total to 164,671.
The amount the daily deaths increases by will continue to rise until the pandemic hits its peak in America which is still weeks away.
The University of Washington School of Medicine predicts that by April 20, the daily increase of deaths will hit 2,000. They say, by that metric, that the total US death toll will be 82,141. The White House has painted an even bleaker picture; that between 100,000 and 200,000 people die in a best case scenario where people follow social distancing guidelines.
President Donald Trump yesterday urged Americans to follow the rules. He has extended them to the end of April.
New York City is the undoubted epicenter, with 138 new deaths reported on Monday. While it was an increase of 17 percent, it was a smaller increase than Saturday’s spike, when 222 died. Read more…
GOOD TO THE LAST DROP:
Did you know… It is physically impossible for pigs to look up into the sky.