Ramblings from the Desert

The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either. ~Benjamin Franklin

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Location: New Mexico

Author of the urban fantasy novel, The Music of Chaos, and the paranormal romance, The Canvas Thief.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Show Me The Money

The folks over at DailyKos are having a terribly good time with Sue Lowden's (GOP Senate candidate) "Chickens for Checkups" comment.

“I’m telling you that this works. You know, before we all started having health care, in the olden days our grandparents, they would bring a chicken to the doctor, they would say I’ll paint your house. I mean, that’s the old days of what people would do to get health care with your doctors. Doctors are very sympathetic people. I’m not backing down from that system.”

My question. Under Lowden's system, if my chicken is sick, how do I pay the veterinarian?

The trouble with barter is that in our modern society cash is king. While it's fun to wax poetic about the days of yore when a chicken would cure your toothache, nowadays poultry doesn't pay the cable bill. My mortgage company doesn't accept swine in exchange for a roof over my head.

And there's the question of storage space. Money fits nicely in my pocket. The bank is happy to store my money and pay me a bit in interest as well. Chickens? Not so much.

I run into the barter issue as an artist, especially at arts and crafts fairs. Another artist comes up to my booth. "Oh," says the artist, "I love this. I have to have it. Do you want to trade?" The artist points hopefully at his or her booth.

At which point, I squirm, embarrassed. See the other artist just complemented my work. If I say "No," the implication is that I don't like her work.

Except, chances are, I don't. Or at least, I don't like it enough to haul it home and add it to my already enormous collection of crap that begs for a yard sale.

There are two responses to this conundrum. First, distraction. "Wow! Is that guy nekkid?"

Second, the lie. "My computer/fridge/water heater died and I really need the money." This option has been used so much the other artists must think my husband and I have been cursed.

At any rate, nineteenth century solutions don't apply to twenty-first century problems.

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