Below is an example of a terrible essay that “explains” an abstract concept by appealing to other abstract concepts. Its terms are vague. It ignores the humanity of readers. It contains not one memorable image or example.
Barter is the act of trading your fat cow for a hundred bushels of fresh sweet corn, or the act of cutting your neighbor’s hair in return for his used lawnmower. Notice that those examples engage the senses of your reader. Help her visualize (or even taste, hear, feel) the real-world examples that illustrate the concepts.
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.
Paragraph 5. On the positive side, there are great advantages to bartering. As mentioned earlier, you do not need money to barter. Another advantage is that there is flexibility in bartering. For instance, related products can be traded, or items that are completely different can be traded. Another advantage of bartering is that you do not have to part with material items. Instead, you can offer a service in exchange for an item. With bartering two parties can get something they want or need from each other.
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