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Barter-Based School Catching On Globally 118

Posted by Soulskill
from the i'll-give-you-a-black-lotus-for-your-calculus dept.
sethopia writes "In 2010, three people had the crazy idea to start a school where the teachers teach whatever they want and the students pay for classes with whatever teachers need — cutlery, art, advice — but never with money. Trade Schools have been popping up around the world and are now active in 15 cities and 10 countries, with almost no prodding from its founders. Caroline Woolard, one of the founders, discusses the challenges and opportunities of adapting their idea to an international audience and making the Trade School software — based on Python and Django — great."
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Barter-Based School Catching On Globally

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 26, 2012 @01:24PM (#40121827)
    Blowjobs?
    • An exchange of valued commodities plays some role in the courtship rituals of most if not all mammal and avian species, meaning it predates the "oldest profession". I suppose you'll claim that since teaching a class doesn't amount to courtship then blowjobs sound more akin to prostitution?

      In any case, we know the ancient greeks and roman boys rewarded their teachers with blowjobs and anal sex.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 26, 2012 @01:33PM (#40121883)

    Because I just happen to have $87,000 worth of Bitcoin.

    • by G3ckoG33k (647276) on Saturday May 26, 2012 @01:58PM (#40122053)

      What a coincidence, mister. I just happen to have a waterfront house on the marvellous Island of Bogomipi, off the beautiful coast of Nigeria. My friend, the charming lady Ogoboffo Moffo has seen the island and says it would suit any Lord of the Bitcoin power with good computer skills. We have good electricity skills in this island. And excellent telephone connections. Please, contact me and you and I we make little bicoins into more, larger and much shinier bitcoins. You are my friend mister. Please let the world find heaven in golden collaboration.

      • Jesus... that's the funniest thing I'm gonna read all day... might as well start drinking!
      • by axlr8or (889713)
        Cant i just give you my checking account number so you can deposit all that fugitive capital and pay me 10 percent of it? That would be so much easier than mining bitcoins.
  • Cash (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pitchpipe (708843) on Saturday May 26, 2012 @02:02PM (#40122073)

    ...the students pay for classes with whatever teachers need â" cutlery, art, advice â" but never with money.

    What the hell do they have against cash? Cash is the most useful thing I own.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Good evening and welcome to 'The Money Programme'. Tonight on 'The Money Programme', we're going to look at money. Lots of it. On film, and in the studio. Some of it in nice piles, others in lovely clanky bits of loose change, some of it neatly counted into fat little hundreds, delicate fivers stuffed into bulging wallets, nice crisp clean cheques, pert pieces of copper coinage thrust deep into trouser pockets, romantic foreign money rolling against the thigh with rough familiarity, (starting to get excited

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      ...the students pay for classes with whatever teachers need â" cutlery, art, advice â" but never with money.

      What the hell do they have against cash? Cash is the most useful thing I own.

      taxes and red tape.

      • by Prune (557140)
        Uh, income from barter is taxable, so get off your high horse. http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=187920,00.html [irs.gov]
        • by gl4ss (559668)

          yes, it's taxable. if you find a value for it. that is, if you sell the thing forward for example, then it has a known value.

          but I'll bet you a thousand bucks if we went out and found these guys who have been doing this that we would find them not having paid taxes on the barter - if simply for the reason that it's pretty complicated for them to come up with a tax value for something like an used bicycle or three kilos of home grown potatoes or coke.

          this is just a simple system of obfuscating the payment, h

    • "Cash is the most useful thing I own."

      Well, if I have cutlery, I can take your cash. 8-D
      Seriously, though, it is cool. Most schools freak out if you bring cutlery to class.

    • It would do us well to get somewhat used to the idea of bartering for the things we need. When economies collapse, everyone falls back to the barter system. Not saying that the U.S. economy is on the brink or anything (although it's certainly a lot closer than it was 30 years ago) but most younger people seem to have no concept of bartering for goods and services or look at it with incredulity. My uncles, all older tradesmen (carpentry, electrical, plumbing) all worked on the barter system occasionally o

      • It would do us well to get somewhat used to the idea of bartering for the things we need. When economies collapse, everyone falls back to the barter system.

        It's more likely they'll fall back to an alternate currency system. At least once in US history people used postage stamps as a replacement for money when it was scarce. Using a currency is obvious enough that it'll start happening right away.

    • by mikael (484)

      Maybe they are on holiday, religious or resident visas that would prevent either from attending paid educational courses or receiving financial payment. I know friends in France who are not allowed to "work" as English language tutors, but accept gifts instead. Same with the French language tutors.

      • by tehcyder (746570)

        Maybe they are on holiday, religious or resident visas that would prevent either from attending paid educational courses or receiving financial payment. I know friends in France who are not allowed to "work" as English language tutors, but accept gifts instead. Same with the French language tutors.

        So in short, they're criminal enterprises. The government should close them all down.

  • by ohnocitizen (1951674) on Saturday May 26, 2012 @02:07PM (#40122103)
    Holy white on yellow batman! Their site (http://tradeschool.coop/) has successfully burrowed inside my eyes and is setting up a permanent tent city. They could use some help designing the site, or at least getting a readable color scheme. Mayo on yellow mustard surrounded by ketchup is not working.
  • teach whatever they want better then college as college is loaded with filler classes, way off base classes, required classes that some times are not even related to what you want to learn. Loads of gen ed and lot's theory based classes that do not give much help in learning what you want to learn. There needs to be more apprenticeship like learning out there with REAL skills. HVCA, pumpers , ECT don't take 2-4 years full of mainly theory based classes and off base filler classes to learn how to do there w

    • by bigtrike (904535) on Saturday May 26, 2012 @03:17PM (#40122551)

      Those gen ed classes don't go nearly far enough. Many programmers have terrible grammar, limiting their ability to work on anything public facing without supervision.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Well-well look. I already told you: I deal with the god damn customers so the engineers don't have to. I have people skills; I am good at dealing with people. Can't you understand that? What the hell is wrong with you people?

      • by Belial6 (794905)
        You get 13 years of Gen ed classes before entering college. If you haven't been able to get educated in 13 years, a few more years are not going to change things. The only reasonable rational for colleges is for specialization.
        • by tehcyder (746570)

          You get 13 years of Gen ed classes before entering college. If you haven't been able to get educated in 13 years, a few more years are not going to change things. The only reasonable rational for colleges is for specialization.

          You are entirely wrong. The subjects you study at college are irrelevant, what is important is the continuing education in learning how to think for yourself (rather than just regurgitate material from textbooks).

          If you do a degree in Chemistry or History, it does not mean you are training to be a Chemist or Historian (although some people will).

          • by Belial6 (794905)
            If you have not learned to think for yourself in the first 13 years of education, a few more years is not going to make the difference.
  • by bcrowell (177657) on Saturday May 26, 2012 @02:24PM (#40122185) Homepage

    Looking at the kinds of classes they do [tradeschool.coop], most of it seems like the kind of thing where if I wanted to take that kind of course, I'd probably go to my local school of continuing education [cc.ca.us]. Cooking, drawing, photography, crafts, ... Here in California, at least, these courses are extremely cheap.

    It seems like it's more of a political mission than an educational one.

  • Let's face it, edjimication isn't getting any cheaper... and my understanding (based on a not-very rigorous survey of people I personally know, some of whom are tenured professors at the college level in the US) is that more and more young folk are going the way of trade schools (in the traditional sense).

    Why get crazy in debt for a liberal arts degree when you can get real world skills for less of a financial outlay?
    Pros: -Get a job in an actual career (someone mentioned refrigerator repair earlier-- doesn't sound sexy, but fixing things and working with your hands appeals to a lot of people)
    -Don't spend the rest of your life in debt
    -Learn in an environment where people are there to learn (a lot of college pukes I see are there to party on their parent's dime)

    Cons:
    -Accredation?
    -Unsure about the qualifications of a teacher who doesn't/can't get a regular teaching gig
    -Facilities? I don't want to learn welding at a college where safety gear is "donated"!

    There's been some important precedents set-- Black Mountain College [wikipedia.org] had a similar model.
    • by tehcyder (746570)

      Why get crazy in debt for a liberal arts degree when you can get real world skills for less of a financial outlay?

      Because having a proper education isn't just about learning work-related skills?

  • by trout007 (975317) on Saturday May 26, 2012 @02:46PM (#40122369)

    I don't get why people think barter is more moral than money. I can see being against government endorsed fiat currency. But money allows complicated development to occur. You can use barter to build anything of substance. Money allows for figuring out the most efficient way to accomplish your goals.

    • by bky1701 (979071)
      Hating money is a nice way to express your hatred of the bad aspects of our capitalistic system, without making oneself and obvious hypocrite and/or nutcase. Go look at the last story, "Can You Buy Tech With a Clean Conscience?", if you want to see what happens when money isn't getting blamed. Not pretty.

      Money is, of course, just an extension of barter. No reason to think any system of barter will not on its own develop money - as has happened in every civilization, no matter how small. It's simply the e
      • Hating money is a nice way to express your hatred of the bad aspects of our capitalistic system, without making oneself and obvious hypocrite and/or nutcase

        Contrary to certain belief, it does still make someone a nutcase.

      • by mc6809e (214243)

        Hating money is a nice way to express your hatred of the bad aspects of our capitalistic system,

        Nearly half of US households now receive some sort of assistance/income from government and the interstate commerce clause gives the Federal government ultimate control of the economy.

        Wouldn't it be more accurate to call our system a mixed economy?

        • A mixed economy in denial.
        • by Locke2005 (849178)
          I would further argue that any market that companies like Exxon-Mobile are participating in are by no stretch of the imagination a "free market". Adam Smith's "Invisible Hand" was based on the model of an agricultural economy, in which each of the buyers and sellers are infinitesimally small compared to the total size of the market. As soon as there are companies that are "too big to fail", you no longer have a free market. Additionally, if the government is allowed to interfere in a market, e.g. via the ta
          • by tehcyder (746570)
            Capitalism will inevitably lead to very large corporations and monopolies, and thus not be a free market, unless prevented by government. So you're never going to have a free market without government intervention, at which point it stops being a free market.

            This is because the idea of a perfect free market is just an economic abstraction, not a reality.
        • by bky1701 (979071)
          When you find a less mixed one, I'll accept that classification. To me, the US is pretty much second only to anarchistic African warlord states in terms of lack of government involvement in the economy. Even that is kind of loosening the definition. Europe and China would be mixed economies; purely socialist ones are mostly a thing of the past, although Cuba might still qualify.
    • The ones who think money is immoral are usually those without it.
      • It would be hypocritical the other way around, wouldn't it? Though there are worse things than hypocrisy. Poverty, for instance.

      • by rohan972 (880586)
        Not only those without, just less than someone else. I have multimillionaire relatives that tut-tut at billionaires because "no-one needs that much money".

        Many people link too much money is evil and set the allowable amount to a little bit above what they have.
      • by tehcyder (746570)

        The ones who think money is immoral are usually those without it.

        Yes, and the ones who think money is inherently moral are usually those with a lot of it.

    • by flyneye (84093)

      Well you have a point there! Not to detract from that, I could use some money. Gimme' your wallet, that's right, it is a gun. Uh, uh, no bartering or negotiating.
      Just your money. I need it so I don't have to bother with barter. When you're right , your right.
        Okey dokey, transaction complete. Lights out *!

    • Bartering lets you end-run the tax man.
    • by mikael (484)

      20% sales tax on low quality imports vs. home grown / home made produce with no tax (jam, honey, scarves, woollen wear, cords of wood for winter, compost, clothing) . One persons trash is another persons spare parts.

      • by Prune (557140)
        No tax, you say? Barter is taxable, just like anything else, and if you're not paying tax on items you barter, you're carrying out a criminal offense. http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=187920,00.html [irs.gov]
        • by mikael (484)

          Fortunately, these weren't carried out in the USA. But it might explain why so many European countries have financial problems, especially when the majority of the population lives in small villages.

            In the UK, the big problem was with people paying builders, plumbers and joiners in cash and avoiding the 20% VAT (which can be quite considerable when prices go over £5000.

          • Paying in cash does not avoid VAT, the trader is supposed to declare it and eventually pay it.

            What happens with cash is that it is more difficult to track, but the VAT & any other derived taxes (Income tax, or corporation tax if operating as a Limited Company) are still payable.

            • by mikael (484)

              True, but the phrase "making a living on the side" was often used. Sometimes they would do jobs for each other, buying materials at "wholesale" prices and doing the work for free in exchange for a rack of wine or champagne.

    • by mjwx (966435)

      I don't get why people think barter is more moral than money. I can see being against government endorsed fiat currency. But money allows complicated development to occur. You can use barter to build anything of substance. Money allows for figuring out the most efficient way to accomplish your goals.

      They think it's a good way to avoid tax. It isn't.

      They also don't realise how impractical it is. 1/3 of a banana for that box of nails... what are you going to do with the other 2/3 of the banana?

    • by tehcyder (746570)

      I can see being against government endorsed fiat currency

      I can see thinking space bats are following you everywhere. It's called insanity.

  • The less value paper money has, and the more regulation and taxation there is on commerce, the more of this you will see.

    • by tehcyder (746570)

      The less value paper money has, and the more regulation and taxation there is on commerce, the more of this you will see.

      We have regulation on businesses to stop criminals, and we have taxation to pay for civilisation.

  • by Locke2005 (849178) on Saturday May 26, 2012 @05:00PM (#40123181)
    Originally, all transactions were based are barter, before human beings discovered that the use of money was a much more efficient means of matching up supply and demand. With barter, you need to match up with somebody else whose needs and supply are the reciprocal of your own. With money, your supply and demand get translated by "the market" into monetary values, and you can exchange goods with people halfway across the world. Explain to me again how barter is a superior system...
    • by waveclaw (43274)

      Originally, all transactions were based are barter, before human beings discovered that the use of money was a much more efficient means of collecting taxes.

      It is hard to come up with a system superior to barter for resisting taxes. Perhaps something might work involving offshore accounts, 'charitable organizations' and friends in politics. But that's not something the average joe can get in on.

      Remember, it is the government and its police/military that backs up the concept of money as value. It is these quarterly taxes ensuing that vendor needs to take in a lot o' the current regime's dollars and the company needs to pay out in same. Otherwise the valu

      • by Prune (557140)
        Are you retarded? Barter is taxable, and if you don't pay tax on barter, you're breaking the law just as much as if you avoid it for monetary income. http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=187920,00.html [irs.gov]
      • Legally you are supposed to pay tax on barter and those laws are there exactly to prevent what you describe. It just hasn't been profitable to enforce, and barter tends to be impractical for significant sums, but if too many transactions involved barter, the tax man will come.
      • by tehcyder (746570)

        It is hard to come up with a system superior to barter for resisting taxes.

        You say that like it's a good thing.

        People who avoid tax are selfish scum. If you want to live outside society, fuck off to a desert island and don't expect any help when you fall sick or are robbed by pirates.

    • by pz (113803)

      With money, your supply and demand get translated by "the market" into monetary values,

      More important than that to the end-user is that using money decouples in time the supply you can generate, and the demand your needs create.

      If I need toilet paper at 9pm on a Sunday night, I can go to the local drugstore and buy it with the cash I earned some nebulous time earlier when it was more convenient and efficient for me to generate. Who knows if I'll have a spare half dozen eggs the next time the toilet paper runs out, and if the store owner will need eggs at that point. Decoupling those two par

    • by dmm10 (726220)

      The myth you stated (the founding myth that Adam Smith used in creating the field of economics) is just that. The fantasy world of barter never existed. The historic progression is from virtual money (ancient Mesopotamia where one silver shekel = one bushel barley = ... and the silver never left the treasury) to coinage (much later) to barter (used mainly by people who were used to cash transactions when currency wasn't available and a system of credit didn't exist.)

      Look to John Maynard Keynes (his self d

    • Originally, all transactions were based are barter, before human beings discovered that the use of money was a much more efficient means of matching up supply and demand.

      Well, sort of. But people started using money, loosely defined, pretty damn quick. Talking about the third and early second millennia BC:

      The principal exports from Sumer to Tilmun were textiles and oil, provided by private capitalists. In the absence of coined money (which was not invented until well into the first millennium BC), there was always the problem of paying for goods and of stating the relationship between values of different commodities. One solution was to use a silver standard, even when payments were not actually made in silver . . . . This kind of use of a silver standard without actual payment in silver was a widespread commercial device before the invention of coinage. An Egyptian document of just after 1300 BC presents . . . [a] good example of it. It is a record of a lawsuit relating how a merchant had gone from house to house, offering a Syrian slave-girl for sale, until finally the wife of an official bought her. The price was stated in terms of silver, but was actually paid in various cloths, garments and bronze vessels, each item being valued in silver separately.[1]

      So basically, even before there was actual money, people were using the abstraction of it in order to make their barters.

      [1] Saggs, H.W.F. The Babylonians: A Survey of the Ancient Civilisation of the Tigris-Euphrates Valley. (London: The Folio Society, 1999), 215.

    • Originally, all transactions were based are barter, before human beings discovered that the use of money was a much more efficient means of matching up supply and demand. With barter, you need to match up with somebody else whose needs and supply are the reciprocal of your own. With money, your supply and demand get translated by "the market" into monetary values, and you can exchange goods with people halfway across the world. Explain to me again how barter is a superior system...

      The concept of "barter" is actually quite interesting, and often misunderstood. People (and economist) just assumed that earlier, it worked as it does wtih money now, but just without the money part... It has been found however when looking at old societies and tribes to have worked very different however! There where 2 kinds of barter actually: the social trading inside the same society (village or tribe) and the trade between different villages. People did actually not barter in the sense "I will trade my

    • Explain to me again how barter is a superior system...

      If you use money, your transaction cost increases by about 60% due to taxation. Money ought to be superior.

  • by jgoemat (565882) on Saturday May 26, 2012 @05:53PM (#40123529)
    You need to file form 1099-B [irs.gov] to report bartering income.. Enjoy paying tax to the government for that old cutlery you don't even want...
  • To all the cretinous imbeciles suggesting this is a way to avoid taxes, you better stop misleading the rest of slashdot readers: http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=187920,00.html [irs.gov]
  • So, they read the Tiffany Aching books by Terry Pratchett, and went, "Hey, that system of education sounds really effective and workable"?

  • By the way, this looks like the utopian anarchy from Ursula Le Guin on the book "the dispossessed". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dispossessed [wikipedia.org]

    (wikipedia has a link to the full text)

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