Venezuelans organise Barter 2.0 to Survive the Economic War, avoid Inflation and Tax.

barter-takes-off-in-venezuelaby Nazareth Balbás via RT

Social networks have become the ally of the family economy of Venezuelans against rising prices. Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp work groups work as exchange sites for necessities: no money, no speculation.

The first surprise is the offer: varied, uneven, abundant. Second, the number of groups in the world. The third thing is that escapes public or private control.

Barter has become the new alternative for Venezuelans suffering the ravages of the economic war. The system, which has existed since time immemorial, gaining strength in the South American country with unique features is strongly mediated by social networks.porteo

Falling oil prices since last year has resulted in shortages of foreign exchange for the mono-exporting country. This along with the long campaign of boycott and sabotage from the USA, and the determined resistance of the deposed oligarchy articulated through the upper middle class, has led to hyperinflation and economic disaster.

The most visible consequence has been the decline in inventories on the shelves, not just products but the basic basket of items for personal care.

While employers demand more dollars for imports, the government has focused its efforts on priority centralized purchasing and designing a distribution system with the help of communities. In the meantime, queues persist and Venezuelans “give back” to the situation.    continues further downimages


US-Led Economic War,  Not Socialism, Is Tearing Venezuela Apart:  ..In 1998, Venezuela had only 12 public universities, today it has 32. Cuban doctors were brought to Venezuela to provide free health care in community clinics. The government provides cooking and heating gas to low-income neighborhoods, and has launched a literacy campaign for uneducated adults….


One of the initiatives is the creation of closed Facebook groups and Instagram accounts where goods are requested and offered in exchange for other products. In parallel, citizens are organized to form networks through WhatsApp not only to barter items but to share information about where food, medicine or toiletries are sold at subsidized prices.

For example..An image with five deodorants and a box of birth control pills accompanies the note: “will exchange for milk, sugar, flour, bread, pasta and rice.” The offer is in the Facebook group “Truekes in CCS.”logo-red

To join the group, which already has 31,387 members, you must submit an application and wait for admission by the administrator. The rules are clear: only product by product exchanges. No purchases or “bachaqueo*” offers which is the name given to the resale of items regulated speculative prices, which can reach up to 1000% of their actual cost.

*bachaqueo means ‘tricky unfair speculative dealing’

“In some groups, such as Instagram, they are severe with those who want to use those spaces blatantly to commit bachaqueo: selling packages of staples at insane prices.  “says Manuel Palma, a parent with two young children who has resorted to bartering as a system for scarce products.

“Barter is a valid option because sometimes it is the only way to get what you need when you have a little cash but cannot find the product,” he adds. Therefore he checks the digital catalogs -mainly- searching  diapers and food, and checks what he can barter in exchange for them.555x300xcola-de-mujeres-en-venezuela-090315jpg-jpg-pagespeed-ic-n8qeglhhrm

However, sometimes there are risks. “In Facebook, to avoid scams, people have created very tight groups. Once you are  added they dictate a book of rules, always under the strict supervision of those who manage the groups, “he says.trueque-1-1100x618

For William Castillo, analyst and political and current president of the National Telecommunications Commission (Conatel), this phenomenon occurs but remains marginalized “because the Revolution has not yet developed a deep and liberating reflection on the issue of consumption. We are a consumerist socialism that is only now rediscovering the notion of production. ”

Barter works well outside the state and outside of private capital: the exchange is agreed, it is carried out in a public place and no money or tax is involved. It is a spontaneous and collective response,  in the face of an extraordinary situation..       continues below


‘Corporate owned US media insist that ‘socialism means poverty.’ But in the case of Venezuela and other states not totally governed by the free market, this cliche simply doesn’t ring true. The main cause of the crisis is not low oil prices, but an all out economic war, stopping 90% of investment and cutting bank credit, with the aim of fomenting chaos, seizing control of oil reserves and the returning the white oligarchy who enslaved the people for generations’.crisis-en-venezuela-2120145w620


But Venezuela is not the only country in which barter is being revived. During the economic crisis in Spain, the mechanism was presented as an alternative, and it is already longstanding in the Netherlands, UK, Denmark and Sweden. In Argentina, inflation has revived the system of exchange of goods without there being money.

“Barter turns upside down the notion of merchandise and its exchange value. The value of a thing is not the price as proposed capitalism but the perception of the usefulness (value in use) of the acquirer, “adds Castillo.

But not everyone trusts or uses social networks. The option for them are the IM groups like Whatsapp. An administrator adds members and there is all kinds of information is shared on the trading of products or sites of sale of consumer goods regulated by the state prices.venezuela-inflaciones-foto-nuevo-herald_nacima20160217_0015_6

The option is becoming increasingly popular in residential complexes, neighbors are organized to offer: “I make my barter plan… on Whatsapp we have a group and everyone offers what they have and say what things they need in exchange, “says Siodelys Arredondo, a woman of 30 years.

“I have exchanged flour, toothpaste, diapers rice. The group is composed of people of my residential block. Zero money, just barter. Here any trouble can be resolved, “she insists.

Family and work groups are also favorite places for barter. Catherine Bazó, a young woman with two children, confesses that she has never bartered products on social networks “but with co-workers: food, soap, sanitary towels. In offices it’s very common. ”

This is NOT bachaqueo
Why this growing trend? It Removes the need for money, avoids queues and is an option against so-called “bachaqueo”.160115200718_sp_supermarket_venezuela_624x351_afp_nocredit

In Venezuela, since last September 1st, the minimum wage increased to 22,576.60 bolivars, with 300%H inflation. The “bachaqueros” may demand up to 1000% more than the official price for products of the basic basket they are scarce.

Many Venezuelans choose to purchase products at regulated prices when they get the chance, although they may not need them, to barter them later for those they need but aren’t freely available.

Men buy sanitary napkins, women without children buy diapers or milk formula cans for babies. These items can be exchanged for pasta, rice or soap.v9

The barter strategy will destroy the business of the exploiting”bachaqueros” and strikes less at the family economy in a country which, according to estimates by the World Monetary Fund (IMF) – could close this year with 700% inflation. As Palma says, he barters “to retain a valid option.”

main text by Nazareth Balbás with thanks.. rough translation by Mike Gilli  


Any discussion on Venezuela is likely to end in fisticuffs. On one side we have the US and neoliberal forces conspiring together with a repressed middle class and the old ruling class in every conceivable way to destroy a state socialist revolution, which may be corrupt, inept and brutal but guarantees basic health, education, housing, food and a vision of social revolution to the great majority of people..

Background on The US ‘Destabilization’

Washington, which almost instinctively has been opposed to Chavismo from day one, has consistently interfered in Venezuela’s internal affairs in the hope of crushing the Bolivarian process.

From a Bush administration-backed[14] and CIA-aided[15] coup in 2002, in which then-President Chavez was nearly removed from power by force, to refusals to recognize Chavista electoral victories, threats of sanctions, and covert funding for opposition candidates, the United States had been determined to do everything possible to ensure that it would fail.

The United States has viciously opposed anything that threatens the dominance of the unfettered neoliberal capitalist vision that it has sought to defend, and then spread, throughout the world.lionaza-urachiche-e1387660920691

As William Camacaro and COHA Senior Research Fellow Fred Mills wrote early last year in Counterpunch, “A great deal hangs in the balance with regard to the feasibility of advancing a democratic socialist project while under the continuous attack of a U.S.-backed opposition, elements of which are bent on restoring the neoliberal regime.”[16]

The U.S. mainstream media, overwhelmingly owned by large corporations and loyal to their interests, naturally reflects and promulgates the ideological contours of this worldview.


original of main text in Castillian

Los venezolanos recurren al trueque 2.0 para hacer frente a la guerra económica

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via RT

Las redes sociales se han convertido en el aliado de la economía familiar de los venezolanos frente al alza de los precios. Facebook, Instagram y los grupos de Whatsapp funcionan como sitios de intercambio de productos de primera necesidad: sin dinero, sin especulación.

Lo primero que sorprende es la oferta: variada, disímil, abundante. Lo segundo, la cantidad de grupos que existen. Lo tercero, es que escapa del control público o privado.

El trueque se ha convertido en la nueva alternativa para los venezolanos que padecen los estragos de la guerra económica. El sistema, que existe desde tiempos inmemoriales, cobra fuerza en el país suramericano con característica singular: está fuertemente mediada por las redes sociales.

La caída de los precios del petróleo, desde el año pasado, se ha traducido en escasez de divisas para el país monoexportador. La consecuencia más visible ha sido la merma de inventarios en los anaqueles, no sólo de productos de la cesta básica sino de rubros para la higiene y cuidado personal. Mientras los empresarios exigen más dólares para importaciones, el gobierno ha enfocado sus esfuerzos en centralizar las compras prioritarias y diseñar un sistema de distribución con ayuda de las comunidades. En el ínterin, persisten las colas y los venezolanos “le dan la vuelta” a la situación.

Una de las iniciativas es la creación de grupos cerrados de Facebook en los que se solicitan y ofertan productos a cambio de otros, así como cuentas en Instagram que funcionan con el mismo propósito. En paralelo, ciudadanos se organizan para conformar redes a través de WhatsApp no sólo para trocar rubros sino para compartir información sobre los sitios donde se expenden alimentos, medicinas o artículos de tocador a precios subsidiados.

Producto por producto

screenshot278

Una imagen con cinco desodorantes y una caja de pastillas anticonceptivas acompaña la leyenda: “Cambio por leche, azúcar, harina pan, pasta y arroz”. La oferta se encuentra en el grupo de Facebook “Truekes en CCS”.

Para integrar el grupo, que ya tiene 31.387 miembros, hay que enviar una solicitud y esperar la admisión por parte del administrador. Las reglas son claras: sólo se cambia producto por producto. No hay compras ni ofertas de “bachaqueo”, que es como se denomina a la reventa de rubros regulados a precios especulativos, que pueden alcanzar hasta 1000% de su costo real.

“En algunos grupos, por ejemplo en Instagram, son severos con quienes quieren utilizar esos espacios descaradamente para bachaquear: vender bultos de primera necesidad a precios de locura. Se ponen medio moralistas y todo”, dice Manuel Palma, un padre de familia con dos hijos pequeños que ha recurrido a los trueques como un sistema para conseguir productos escasos.

“Es una opción válida porque a veces no sólo es que no consigues lo que necesitas, sino que cuando tienes alguito de plata, no encuentras el producto”, agrega. Por eso recurre a los catálogos digitales en búsqueda -principalmente- de pañales y comida, y revisa lo que puede trocar a cambio de ellos en su despensa.

Sin embargo, a veces hay riesgos. “En Facebook, para evitar estafas, han creado grupos muy herméticos. Una vez que te agregan, te dictan una cartilla de normas, siempre bajo la vigilancia rigurosa de quienes administran los grupos”, cuenta.

Socialismo consumista

screenshot279

Para William Castillo, analista político y actual presidente de la Comisión Nacional de Telecomunicaciones (Conatel), este fenómeno ocurre pero permanece marginado “porque la Revolución aún no ha desarrollado una reflexión profunda y liberadora sobre el tema del consumo. Somos un socialismo consumista que apenas ahora descubre la noción de producción”.

Las normas del trueque las hacen y las cumplen quienes entran en el sistema. Fuera del Estado, fuera de los capitales privados: se pacta el intercambio, se efectúa en un sitio público y no hay dinero de por medio. Es una respuesta espontánea y colectiva, con sus patas cojas, para afrontar una situación extraordinaria.huerto

Pero Venezuela no es el único país en el que revive el trueque. Durante la crisis económica en España, el mecanismo se presentó como una alternativa que ya es de vieja data en Holanda, Reino Unido, Dinamarca y Suecia. EnArgentina, la inflación ha hecho resurgir el sistema de intercambio de mercancías sin que medie el dinero.

“El trueque pone patas arriba la noción de mercancía y su valor de cambio. El valor de una cosa no es el precio tal como lo propone el capitalismo sino la percepción de la utilidad (su valor de uso) que tiene quien lo adquiere”, añade Castillo.

Resuelvo por WhatsApp

screenshot280

Pero no todos confían o usan redes sociales. La opción para ellos son los grupos de mensajería instantánea como Whatsapp. Un administrador agrega a los miembros y allí se comparte todo tipo de información sobre intercambios de productos o sitios de expendio de bienes de consumo a precios regulados por el Estado.

La opción cobra cada vez más popularidad en los conjuntos residenciales, los vecinos se organizan para ofertar: “he hecho trueque en mi urbanismo. Por Whatsapp tenemos un grupo y cada quien oferta lo que tiene y dice por qué cosas está dispuesto a cambiarlo”, dice Siodelys Arredondo, una joven de 30 años.

screenshot281

“Yo he intercambiado harina por pasta de dientes, arroz por pañales. El grupo está integrado por los habitantes de mi conjunto residencual. Cero dinero, sólo trueque. Por allí se resuelve cualquier apuro”, insiste.coy4cmkwiaah1hw

Los grupos familiares y laborales también son espacios predilectos para el trueque. Catherine Bazó, una joven con dos hijos, confiesa que jamás ha trocado productos por las redes sociales “pero sí con los compañeros de trabajo: comida, jabón, toallas sanitarias. En las oficinas es muy común”.

No es bachaqueo

¿Por qué crece esta tendencia? Permite prescindir del dinero, evitar las colas y es una opción contra el llamado “bachaqueo”.

En Venezuela, desde el pasado 1 de septiembre, el salario mínimo aumentó a 22.576,60 bolívares más Bs. 44.000 en bono de alimentación. Los “bachaqueros” pueden pedir hasta 1000% más por los productos de la cesta básica que están escasos.

screenshot282

Por eso, muchos venezolanos han optado por comprar productos a precios regulados cuando tienen oportundiad, aunque no los necesiten, para poder trocarlos después por los que sí requieren. Hombres adquieren toallas sanitarias, mujeres sin hijos compran pañales o jóvenes no dejan pasar las latas de fórmula materna. Esos rubros se pueden cambiar por pasta, arroz o jabón.venezuela-colas

Esa estrategia le tumba el negocio a los “bachaqueros” y golpea menos la economía familiar, en un país que -según las estimaciones del Fondo Monetario Mundial (FMI)- podría cerrar este año con 700% de inflación. Como dice Palma, el trueque “es una opción válida para aguantar”.

 

por Nazareth Balbás

3 thoughts on “Venezuelans organise Barter 2.0 to Survive the Economic War, avoid Inflation and Tax.”

  1. Reblogged this on The Most Revolutionary Act and commented:
    *
    *
    Barter has become the new alternative for Venezuelans suffering the ravages of the economic war. The system, which has existed since time immemorial, gaining strength in the South American country with unique features is strongly mediated by social networks.

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