A bit of good news.
A determination to ‘move beyond anger to creativity’ is driving a strong barter economy in some places
In recent weeks, Theodoros Mavridis has bought fresh eggs, tsipourou (the local brandy: beware), fruit, olives, olive oil, jam, and soap. He has also had some legal advice, and enjoyed the services of an accountant to help fill in his tax return.
None of it has cost him a euro, because he had previously done a spot of electrical work – repairing a TV, sorting out a dodgy light – for some of the 800-odd members of a fast-growing exchange network in the port town of Volos, midway between Athens and Thessaloniki.
In return for his expert labour, Mavridis received a number of Local Alternative Units (known as tems in Greek) in his online network account. In return for the eggs, olive oil, tax advice and the rest, he transferred tems into other people’s accounts.
“It’s an easier, more direct way of exchanging goods and services,” said Bernhardt Koppold, a German-born homeopathist and acupuncturist in Volos who is an active member of the network. “It’s also a way of showing practical solidarity – of building relationships.” …
Tems has been up and running for barely 18 months, said Maria Choupis, one of its founder members. Prompted by ever more swingeing salary cuts and tax increases, she reckons there are now around 15 such networks active around Greece, and more planned. “They are as much social structures as economic ones,” she said. “They foster intimacy and mutual support.” …
The Greek parliament recently passed a law encouraging “alternative forms of entrepreneurship and local development”, including exchange networks such as Volos’s, giving them official non-profit status for tax purposes.
Choupis said there was a new mood abroad in Greece, a determination to “move beyond anger to creativity”.
“You are not poor when you have no money,” she said, “you are poor when you have nothing to offer – except for the elderly and the sick, to whom we should all be offering.”
by Jon Henley in Volos, guardian.co.uk
See also: “Modern Greeks Return To Ancient System Of Barter” https://www.npr.org/2011/11/29/142908549/modern-greeks-return-to-ancient-system-of-barter