Going back to bartering: rice for oil

The Financial Times reports Oct. 27, 2008 that Thailand, the world’s largest rice exporter, plans to barter rice for oil with Iran, which is one of the top 10 importers of rice. Apparently countries haven’t bartered like this for decades, but the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization says it is likely to happen much more because of high commodity prices and scarce credit.

Sounds to me like a good thing. This is what small remote communities have been doing for years – swapping goods and services, because there is no available banking in their communities. Both sides get something valuable in exchange for something valuable – and people who need food get it. Perhaps such bartering will bring some reality back to financial markets.