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.  

solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and (thankfully) short

Damn Hobbes and his Leviathan. Clearly he and other related political thinkers have been pervading my mind.

Yup, it's that time of the year my friends. And nope, I'm not talking about holidays. I'm talking about the dreaded time that comes right before then...exam season. Dun, dun, dun! The past week has been absolute madness and this week will be even worse with two papers and three finals to write. So right now, I've been in my own little bubble dealing with matters of sovereignty, NGOs, IOs, MNCs, inequality, globalization, Hobbes, Locke, Marx, Veblen, Nietzsche, Weber, ICTs, dadadada the list never seems to end. I've been living in cafes all week and I've seriously considered moving into one and living there for the time being. It's been brutal, I tell you. So brutal that in the past week I've had to line up to get into a library. A library. That's when you know you've reached the peak of your cool. And I know that this struggle of mine is a plight shared by many others. Makes me question whether Hobbes was actually talking more about studentkind than all of mankind when he said that life was solitary, poor (oh so very, very poor!), nasty, brutish, and (thankfully!) short.

So for all of my fellow students out there finding themselves sleep-deprived, overly-caffeinated, and losing your mind, I feel your pain. Just gotta keep on keepin' on and I'll see you all on the flip side!