Makeshift's Trade Issue: Beyond the Greenbacks and Silver Dollars

Old for new, this for that, goods for cash. Exchanging goods, services, skills, land—even people—has pushed the world toward its current state. And, for better or for worse, it underpins our modern world. The latest issue of Makeshift Magazine explores the intricate labyrinth of trade around the world. But we're not talking about Wall Street here. We're talking about inventive exchanges and backroom deals. This latest issue features everything from analog wire transfers in the Middle East, organ swapping in China, and bustling exchange in the Nakivale refugee camp.

I had the opportunity to sit down with the community organizers behind the Trade School Toronto (TSTO) and write about this growing global network of learning spaces that run exclusively on barter. Anyone can teach a class and students attend with barter items that the teacher requests. Two-hour classes run the gamut from urban forestry to learning the 8-count lindy hop. And you can learn it all for the price of a vegan meal, a song, a baking sheet, or even just the simple promise to try swing dancing again. TSTO and its equivalents around the world is a manifestation of the move away from traditional educational systems to alternative, more accessible learning models.

Get an insider's look at offbeat, dirty, ingenious, and original tales of trade from street levels around the world by grabbing your copy of Makeshift Magazine here.  

Makeshift's Resistance Issue: Hackers of Technology and Authority

From capturing light in a plastic bottle in the slums of the Philippines to tapping into streetlamp wires to charge mobile phones during the revolts in Tahrir Square, creativity can be found in some of the most unlikely places. These are the places where resources are scarce, but ingenuity is in endless supply.

Makeshift is a print and online magazine dedicated to documenting the hidden creativity that takes place all around the globe and featuring the creators, hackers, and entrepreneurs that make it all happen. I had the incredible opportunity of working with Makeshift's crazy talented network of multimedia journalists for this quarter's issue of "Resistance"--an edgy theme that puts the spotlight on creative opposition in informal economies around the world.

I personally interviewed Elizabeth Suda, founder and CEO of fair trade company Article 22, and wrote about their peaceBOMB project. In Laos, more than 250 million bombs were dropped from 1964 to 1973, making it the most heavily bombed country per capita in history. Article 22 works with artisans in the Naphia village of Xieng Khouang province to turn the refuse of unexploded bombs in the area into a thing of beauty and self-expression: bracelets. Combining human ingenuity and aluminium war scrap metal, peaceBOMB is just one example of how people around the world are turning something negative and destructive into something positive and productive.

This issue of Makeshift introduces readers to hackers of technology and authority: weapon makers in Libya, renegade electricians in South Africa, and creators of homemade minesweepers in Afghanistan. You'll be amazed by the ingenuity that people are capable of under a dominating authority! Take a sneak peek of the issue online, on your tablet, or grab the copy in print!