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BARTER EXCHANGE: A method of trading goods, commodities, or services, directly for one another without the use of money. In a barter exchange one good is traded directly for another. This sort of exchange ultimately requires a double coincidence of wants, meaning that each trader has what the other trader wants and wants what the other has. Without a double coincidence of wants the exchange process can become exceedingly complex, requiring a great deal of resources to complete transactions, resources that can not be used for production. In fact, inefficient barter trading was the primary reason that money was invented. With money, more resources can be used for production and fewer are needed for trading. See market.

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BALANCE OF TRADE: The difference between funds received by a country when exporting merchandise and the funds paid for importing merchandise. The balance of trade is a major part of the current accounts portion of the balance of payments. A balance of trade surplus results if exports exceed imports, commonly termed a favorable balance of trade, and a balance of trade deficit exists if imports exceed exports, analogously termed an unfavorable balance of trade. The "favorable" and "unfavorable" normative connotations attached to the balance of trade rests with the presumption that a nation is "better off" when it exports more than it imports, which is not necessarily true.

     See also | foreign trade | export | import | current account | balance of payments | balance of trade surplus | balance of trade deficit | favorable balance of trade | unfavorable balance of trade | normative economics |


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ALLOCATION

The process of distributing resources for the production of goods and services, and of distributing goods and services for the satisfaction of wants and needs and human consumption. This allocation process is an essential part of an economy's effort to address the problem of scarcity.

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