Well, you know it had to come. There is an on-line auction site that is getting geared up to barter, sell, and swap those California IOUs. Read the details here. Some people are going to make out like bandits and the ones who will be screwed are the poor B*****ds who had to accept these things in exchange for honest work. I am getting real tired of the notion that 'something is better than nothing.' We keep hearing it. When hours or pay or benefits are unilaterally cut we hear the nostrum that at the workers still have a job. How long before people start to realize that that something is really nothing?
Here is another interesting article from Bloomberg on-line. Given the number of stories I have been reading about food shortages in some areas, you would think there would be buyers for the grain this article says is sitting in storage in Russia--more than half of last year's crop. I gather from this account that neither cash nor credit is flowing in parts of Russia and eastern Europe as well as parts of South America. A number of seed providers and chemical companies are setting up bartering arrangements with the farmers to take the crops in exchange for seeds and agricultural chemicals. That's nice but it makes me a bit uneasy. During the reign of Diocletian (late 3rd century) the Roman Government had to accept tax payment in kind rather than coin. Coin simply wasn't circulating, especially in the western Empire. Those who had it kept it because the political unrest and constant civil wars between generals contending for the imperial throne as well as the effects of some nasty epidemics and a series of crop failures. Makes you wonder doesn't it.