Search the Site

The End is Nigh: Let's All Move to Barter Village!

Let’s face it: things aren’t great right now. The economy is on its back. Our political system is a mess. The South is stuck in a record-breaking drought. And Tiger Woods has apparently forgotten how to play golf. Clearly, the apocalypse is upon us.


Where to turn in such dark times? How about Barter Village. Located in a tiny castle (yes, castle) in northeast Arkansas, Barter Village is an “experimental educational project” where people who’ve been particularly hurt by the down economy can go to learn survival skills such as organic farming, sewing and, yes, bowhunting. Villagers hunt, fish and learn to dress their own game.

After providing for their own needs, Barter Village residents take their excess produce, meats, and handmade goods to the nearby castle market. Items sold there generate a meager income to help cover the costs of their stay at Barter Village. Any excess is divided evenly among the villagers to help fund their own survival community.

The project is the brainchild of John House, a doctor who a few years ago started a health clinic where low income patients could barter for health care services, often trading items they made or grew themselves for things like physical exams and checkups. House is clearly concerned about the state of the world. From his founder’s message:

For anyone who is paying attention to global events, it’s obvious that we are living in a world of declining energy resources, increasing world population, rising food prices, and ever-worsening climate change. The modern industrial economy requires more and more resources, demands ever more consumption, and places an increasingly heavy burden on the environment. It cannot be sustained. The world economy, and thus, the U.S. economy, while it may have brief periods of improvement, is almost certainly going to keep declining until it eventually collapses. Our very way of life is about to change — in a really big way. If ever there was a time when individuals need to re-learn the basics for survival, that time is now.

And thus, an entire village based on a barter economy. The village can support 10 to 12 “villagers” at a time. Of course, it’s rustic: there’s limited indoor plumbing and electricity, and no TV, Internet, air conditioning or cell phone service.
Sound like you? There are 10 spots coming up in October. Go here to apply.
[HT: Eric M. Jones]