Barter Explained Poorly, then Less Poorly

Paragraph 1. Bartering is trading services or goods with another person when there is no money involved. This type of exchange was relied upon by early civilizations. There are even cultures within modern society who still rely on this type of exchange. Bartering has been around for a very long time, however, it’s not necessarily something that an economy or society has relied solely on.

Paragraph 2. A barter system is an old method of exchange. This system has been used for centuries and long before money was invented. People exchanged services and goods for other services and goods in return. In ancient times, this system involved people in the same area, however today bartering is global. The value of bartering items can be negotiated with the other party. Bartering doesn’t involve money which is one of the advantages. You can buy items by exchanging an item you have but no longer want or need. Generally, trading in this manner is done through Online auctions and swap markets.

Paragraph 3. The history of bartering dates all the way back to 6000 BC. Introduced by Mesopotamia tribes, bartering was adopted by Phoenicians. Phoenicians bartered goods to those located in various other cities across oceans. Babylonian’s also developed an improved bartering system. Goods were exchanged for food, tea, weapons, and spices. When money was invented, bartering did not end, it become more organized. Due to lack of money, bartering became popular in the 1930s during the Great Depression. It was used to obtain food and various other services. It was done through groups or between people who acted similar to banks. If any items were sold, the owner would receive credit and the buyer’s account would be debited.

Paragraph 4. Just as with most things, there are disadvantages and advantages of bartering. A complication of bartering is determining how trustworthy the person you are trading with is. The other person does not have any proof or certification that they are legitimate, and there is no consumer protection or warranties involved. This means that services and goods you are exchanging may be exchanged for poor or defective items. It may be a good idea to limit exchanges to family and friends in the beginning because good bartering requires skill and experience. At times, it is easy to think the item you desire is worth more than it actually is and underestimate the value of your own item.


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Hypothesis Feedback

By THU OCT 07, all of you will have consulted with my on a plan to develop your Hypotheses to reveal the most intriguing research questions you can imagine.

You’re smart people and good students. You’re in class because you want to challenge yourself and learn to do something new, or differently, or better. So, here’s your chance. The “fallback topics” and themes you’ve written about in other classes aren’t as close to the top of the grade scale in this class as they may have been.

Let’s take far-fetched example of a way to turn an “obvious answer” into something more intriguing.

  • Last September, forest fires were raging through California, clearly fueled by environmental conditions worsened by the warming global climate, burning a million acres of timerberland incredibly quickly.
  • The president suggested that the cause of the devastation was the failure of the State of California to “sweep the forest floor” clear of leaves and fallen branches that, as he described it, “explode like matchsticks.”
  • Any sensible person who contemplates the prospect of sending crews into a million acres of forest with leaf blowers recognizes the president’s solution as the ravings of a madman.
  • But . . . what if there’s a point to this insanity?
  • What if, every mile or so (you name the distance), a broad band of woodland was clearcut and the ground kept clear, creating a line that a raging fire would not cross.
  • The condition of the forest floor for that mile (5 miles?) would be irrelevant.
  • Fires that used to rage for 5 miles and then keep going another 10, and another 10, would burn for 5 miles and then stop.

Do you see what I mean? Find your topic. Scan the prevailing opinions. Reject them. Invent a new one that doesn’t at first seem to have much merit. And then bear down on that not-obvious, non-intuitive premise to see what’s there.

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The “Give Directly” Hypothesis

A man checks his phone to confirm that the charity GiveDirectly has transferred a cash grant to his account. (Nichole Sobecki for NPR)

In 2013 Daniel Handel, an economist with USAID—the U.S. government’s main agency for foreign assistance—had just moved to Rwanda when he heard about a charity that was testing a bold idea:

Instead of giving people in poor countries, say, livestock or job training to help improve their standard of living, why not just give them cash and let them decide how best to spend it?

Handel had been mulling this exact question. Aid programs were spending enormous sums per person to boost poor people’s income less than the cost of the program. At this rate, Handel thought, why not just hand over the money to people directly? This program called GiveDirectly was doing just that.

So Handel went to his bosses at USAID’s Rwanda office and proposed an experiment:

Take one of USAID’s typical programs and test it against cash aid. For the comparison, he selected a program to improve child and maternal health in Rwanda by teaching families about nutrition and hygiene.

A pool of families from nearly 250 villages was selected based on typical criteria and randomly assigned to one of four groups.

  • Those in the first were the “control” and received no help.
  • Those in the second group were visited by the nutrition and hygiene education teams.
  • Families in the third group were given small cash grants by GiveDirectly equivalent to the per-person cost of the nutrition and hygiene program, an average of $114.
  • In the final group, families got a much larger cash grant of around $500 – a figure chosen because this was the amount that GiveDirectly estimated was more likely to make an impact.

Following the experiment, the government released the results of the first study in the series.

The experiment found that the program met none of its main objectives. Teaching Rwandans about nutrition did not improve their nutrition or health. Neither did giving Rwandans the cash equivalent of the cost of the education program — about $114.

“Our hearts sank.”

The program’s focus on trying to change behaviors is one of the world’s major strategies for ending malnutrition. And, at least in this example, it had failed to achieve any of its primary goals.

A year on, the children who had been targeted by the nutrition and hygiene program were no more likely to eat a better or more diverse diet, and no less likely to be malnourished or anemic than children who had gotten no help at all. But providing a much larger cash grant of about $500 did make some difference.

Supporters of such “cash-benchmarking” exercises are heralding this particular one as a milestone. For years, anti-poverty advocates and researchers have complained that the U.S. government doesn’t do enough to make sure its aid programs actually work. “But when you talk about giving money to people straight up, with no conditions, people at USAID look at you kind of like you’re a crazy person. There’s ‘an inherent sense’ that they can’t be trusted to spend it wisely.” said Daniel Handel’s associate James Carbonell.

  • In this case, people who were given the cost-equivalent grants used much of the money to pay down their debts.
  • It remains unclear what, if any, material changes USAID is planning to its nutrition efforts based on the study’s findings.
  • At the time of this writing (FEB 2019), USAID remains reluctant to discuss the experiment and did not grant the authors of the NPR story permission to speak directly to Daniel Handel about the results.


  1. Did the authors of the study Fail?
  2. Would proving that cash-equivalent grants were as beneficial as the education program have qualified as Success?
  3. Or did the authors succeed by proving that simply handing recipients money without any stipulation was the wrong way to achieve a particular goal?
  4. Could the authors conclude that poor people really DON’T know “what to do with the money”?


Heavily edited from an original story by NPR.
Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit

Link to the original:

Further Reading

The Planet Money story:

From Nonprofit Chronicles:

Brief Exercise

  1. In the Reply field below, briefly answer any or all of the Discussion Questions, then discuss how you would respond to finding that your “My Hypothesis” proposal cannot be supported by the initial evidence.
    • (Assume in your Reply that you did not wait until the last week of the semester that the evidence did not support your Hypothesis. 🙂
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chickendinner hypotheses

mental health and social media

continuous social media exposure and mental illness

the causal relationship between continuous social media use and chance of mental illness

Continued, long-term social media use is a direct causal factor for a higher chance of mental illness.

In the long-term, continued internet usage can lead to a lowered capacity for discerning reality.

The very websites designed to keep us connected to other people, can easily become the greatest source of our isolation.

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Hypothesis- calamariii

  1. Farmland use
  2. Effective farmland use in the us
  3. Farmland, how its used and its impact on our development
  4. How we use the farmland in the us is important to our development and sustainability as a country
  5. With consideration of imports and trade, we should focus agriculturally as a country on using our farmland efficiently
  6. The use of farmland in the US should focus not on quantity and appeasements of wants but instead on sustainability and environmental impact if we care about our countries health and longevity
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my hypothesis

  1. Meditation 
  2. How meditation affects the brain 
  3. Scientific evidence of what happens in the brain during meditation
  4. How meditation affects mental health 
  5. Meditation being taught in schools 
  6. How meditation can help students with their mental health
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My Hypothesis-zzbrd2822

1) Happiness

2) The search for happiness in life

3) The effect of the search for happiness on the quality of human life

4) The search for happiness, seen as a life goal to many, negatively impacts the well-being of society.

5) Eliminating the difficulty of searching for happiness in life would considerably increase the overall well-being of society.

6) Eliminating the single-minded search for happiness in life would increase the overall well-being of society by shifting the focus to identifying the fulfilling purpose of life.

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Hypothesis- Anonymousgirl116

  1. Student debts
  2. Student debts should be eliminated. 
  3. Student debts should be eliminated to those who make less than the national average income.
  4. Student debts should be forgiven for those who can not afford to pay them back. 
  5. Many students graduate in debt, people who qualify should receive a lower number to pay back or have it forgiven altogether. 
  6. Because many college students graduate with significant debt, forgiving it for those who qualify would be financially beneficial.

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My Hypothesis

My Hypothesis – CocoChanel715

  • Climate Change
  • Climate Change around the world
  • Climate Change in different elevations
  • The Coral Reef decreasing in size every year
  • The Arctic melting and getting significantly smaller
  • The snow caps on top of the mountains disappearing
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1.going back to the moon

2. Going back to the moon can further education

3. Going back to the moon can help further education

4. Its good to check back up on the moon

5. Going to the moon during different phases can be seen different at all phases

6. Going back to the moon is essential to understanding planet earth more.

7. Going back to moon is essential for americans because we own that moon and its very beautiful piece of life that helps us live. Helps us in the longrun to understand the rest of humanity and what we believe in. Thats because the moon is very valued here on planet earth. history always repeats itself.

8. Going back to the moon will help new studies. Because life here on earth always changes and so will the know this because i have a belief the moon is very fragile and unique in detail.

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