Following the Argentinean example, thousands more are also involved in Greece’s barter network, in which those without sufficient Euros due to loss of work or financial hardship exchange basics like clothes and food or services such as English lessons, massages or haircuts by using the TEM credits system. On Sunday the ECB announced that it would refuse to further capitalise the Greek banks which means that they will literally run out of money very soon. In a post-default scenario a desperate population will resort to joining barter clubs on a massive scale, as 2.5 million Argentineans did in 2002 when liquidity ran dry. These would act as another safety valve against neoliberalism’s devastating consequences.
According to Jorge Rabey, coordinator of a barter club in the Argentinean city of Santa Fe in 2002, “in my city alone, the clubs were used by 4,000 families. Ultimately barter acted as a barrier to poverty and as a form of containment. Santa Fe enjoyed lower levels of violence and social problems during the crisis as the community came together to ensure that basic needs were satisfied.” He adds that “the corporate media and ruling elites were favourable to us in the early days because they were well aware that barter was helping the system to save itself and preserve social order.”