INTRODUCTION

argentinaWhat happens when a country's currency loses its value? If money in our society were to lose its value, how would you obtain the goods and services you have come to expect? How much value do you place on your belongings? In this lesson, you will explore the idea that goods and services have non-monetary values which can be exchanged and traded through barter.

TASK

In this lesson, you will listen to an audio file about Argentina's barter economy. This barter economy became necessary in 2002 when Argentina's currency lost much of its value.  While you listen, you will use an interactive note-taker to record supporting details about three main ideas presented in the audio. Then, using your notes, you will answer questions related to the audio.

PROCESS

Activity 1

Listen to the Marketplace audio file about 'Argentina Barter Fair.' Go to http://marketplace.publicradio.org/shows/2002/04/rafiles/29_mpp.ram . The starting timestamp is 19:10, the ending timestamp is 23:43 for the part about Argentina.

While you are listening, you will use the note-taker to find supporting details about three main ideas. The three main ideas you will focus on today are these:

  1. Goods Argentines Are Bartering
  2. Services Argentines Are Bartering
  3. Problems with creditos (creditos are paper currency used in Argentina)

Also, as you listen to the segment, record any words that you don't know- especially words that may be important economic terms.

Then, listen to the audio file again to gather additional supporting details and possible definitions of the vocabulary words using context clues, and record them in your note-taker.

Finally, you will be asked a series of questions related to the story.
Activity 2

barterListen to the marketplace audio file again and consider the choices the Argentine people must make in order to benefit from the new barter economy. Answer the following questions and discuss your answers with your class:

  • Have you ever participated in a barter exchange with friends?
  • Are there services you think you could provide in exchange for goods?
  • How much value do you place on the goods you own and on the services you could provide?

Next, create a mock barter fair in your classroom. imagine that your classroom represents a country whose currency has depreciated. You need to determine the value of goods and services and exchange them. When you are finished, reflect upon the following questions and record your answers.

 

  1. What problems did you encounter during the barter fair?
     
  2. Was it hard to determine the value of goods and services?
     
  3. Were all the exchanges fair?
     
  4. What choices would you have to make in order to survive in a barter economy?
     
  5. Are there any benefits from a barter economy?
     
  6. Why is the use of creditos not the same as bartering?
     
  7. How is the credito the same as currency?
     

CONCLUSION

By the conclusion of this lesson you should be able to explain the reason for Argentina's barter economy, how a barter economy works, and the possible consequences of having a barter economy.

ASSESSMENT ACTIVITY

1. Turn in your note-taker on the Argentina barter fair and discuss the news story with the class. Be sure to focus on the concept of barter and how the use of bartering might replace the use of currency.

2. You participated in a mock barter fair and you will hand in your reflections. As you reflect on the activity, consider the reasons for Argentina's failing economy and the ways in which the barter system may or may not have helped people to deal with the problems involoved.

EXTENSION ACTIVITY

1. Complete 'A case study: United States International Trade in Goods and Services-December 23, 2003' to extend your understanding of the concepts of trade and inflation.

2. Complete 'One is Silver and the Other is Gold' to extend your understanding of the concept of money and its value.