Rates go to pay for a lot of things – roads being one of the most commonly cited when people complain about the relentless rise of their rates bill.
Given the choice, would you rather give up paved roads or libraries?
It’s no contest for me; I’ve lived a large proportion of my life in areas without paved roads, but I can’t be doing without a library.
Besides, unpaved roads make people drive slower.
Not that I am suggesting anyone fail to pay their lawful taxes – look where it got Al Capone, for a start. Instead, I turn to the time-honoured practice of the cash-free economy, as a convenient way of reducing or minimizing tax incurred.
A wise and talented friend of mine suggested some time ago that we could swap skills to mutual benefit. I knit, she doesn’t; she is a professional artist and I can’t even conjure the artistic verisimilitude of a stick-man.
So, I am going to knit her a warm wooly winter hat and scarf (patterns selected from Ravelry, the only online social network to which I belong) and she is going to draw a portrait of me (which I plan in due course shall grace the About page).
Let us hope, for the sake of the sighted public, that her kindness as a friend outweighs her accuracy as an artist…
There are a lot of benefits to entering the cash-free economy.
For example, the lack of tax. Yes, tax is still payable on the materials, but the labour is untaxed, as is the final product.
Consider: How many hours at the DDJ would it take to earn the money to pay for a portrait? More than I care to think of, particularly considering that the government would insist on taking a nice fat slice of tax off the top. Shudder.
So much more pleasant to knit instead, which is a) something I enjoy, b) something I find relaxing and c) something I can do while either watching a DVD or listening to my husband read – it doesn’t get much better than that!
There’s also the social aspect – particularly important for those of us who work at home. I spent a very enjoyable morning with my friend going through patterns and then selecting yarns and needles. As Marianne asks, “is there a felicity in the world superior to this?”
What skills do you have that others might have need of? Conversely, what skills are you in need of? Cash can be a convenient arrangement when there isn’t a directly reciprocal need, but why go via cash (and be taxed) when you don’t have to? It’s worth asking around – most people are happy to be offered a chance of legal tax avoidance.
Barter, cashless economy, payment in kind, quid pro quo – call it what you will, it’s a great old idea. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to put my feet up, have a cup of tea and knit.