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Letter Re: Barter as an Investment and a Hedge

While barter for necessities is one possibility, barter for wealth is another. A poor man with a small investment in an essential TEOTWAWKI [1] item can magnify his wealth. If you are not in a position to outfit yourself with the food/weapons/tools you would like now, consider a barter investment. Something you can get cheaply now, and then trade for the items that are currently out of your budget.
When choosing barter goods for storage, consider seven things. Original cost, size, availability, need, divisibility, verification, and indestructibility.
Items stored for barter should:
(1) Have a very low initial cost. In this way, barter becomes an investment, hedging against TEOTWAWKI [2]
(2) Be small enough to take to market easily
(3) Be things very easy to obtain now and virtually impossible to obtain later due to the manufacturing process involved.
(4) Be things that you cannot easily live without
(5) Be easily divisible into smaller units
(6) Be easily and universally verifiable as being non-counterfeit
(7) Be resistant to the elements and time
I put forth Iodized salt. In Roman times, soldiers were paid in salt at the rate of about 150 pounds per year. That’s less than 1/2 a pound a day.
The word salary comes from the word salt. In some parts of the ancient world, salt and gold were traded equally by weight.
You may consider the loss of salt a minor inconvenience but that is not so. You eat salt all day long without knowing it. Soda, bread, every food you eat is loaded with it. If you were truly given a salt free diet (no processed foods) and had to do any kind of manual labor, the sweat loss of salt could literally kill you. Iodine is a heavy element that washes away with the rain and so is not found in mountainous areas and away from the oceans. Lack of iodine causes goiter.
Salt is (1) very cheap now (2) can be sold in small packages at market (3) virtually impossible to obtain in TEOTWAWKI if you are away from the ocean (4) required for life. Add in iodized salt and doubly so. Remember the Goiter belts? (5) Divisible as it is a powder (6) recognizable by taste (7) virtually indestructible.
My second choice is the .22 rimfire cartridge which satisfies numbers 2,3,5, and 6. A $100 investment in salt now could easily be worth a fortune in another time and place. – SF in Hawaii