A bartering cell, in my definition, is a group of professionals who agree to do business with one another, privately and completely off the books, exchanging only "virtual cash" spendable by each other and each other's dependents (and anyone else you trust not to rat on us to the IRS). Only one of each type of professional will be admitted into the cell, unless for example the doctor wishes another doctor to be in the cell; in any case all current members must unanimously approve of any additions. You may of course form or be part of other cells; that is not the concern of this cell.
Payment will normally be in dollar equivalents; for example, since I charge $100/hour for my training, systems administration, and custom programming, the same amount will be charged to cell members in "virtual cash". It is understood that each member of the cell will give his best effort to accomplish any agreed-upon service; no lawsuits are to be brought against any member by another member or member's dependents for any service performed. For example, if you botch an operation on my arm and then must amputate it, I wouldn't expect to have to pay full price for the operation but I'm not going to take you to court either, since that would violate our confidentiality agreement. Disputes should be resolved between the two parties involved when possible, otherwise the cell must meet and resolve it by majority decision. All members must agree to abide by this form of arbitration on joining the cell.
Virtual cash will be exchanged by secure email, signed by one's own PGP or GPG key and encrypted by the other's key. No such transactions or any mention thereof can be made by mail not so signed and encrypted, or the confidentiality of the cell may be compromised. For example, if you didn't botch the above operation and I owe you $5000 in virtual cash, I will have sent you an email, signed and encrypted, saying something like "This is my payment of $5000 as agreed for services rendered on December 10, 2002". You then want to give your brother a gift of $1000 for Christmas; you can either send him an email, after you are satisfied that he understands and agrees to the confidential nature of the transaction, stating "This email transfers $1000 of my account balance to you"; or, better, if you want me to provide service to him, you could email me with the transaction and just notify him that I owe him 10 hours service.
Once a month or so, we should meet and check our balances to make sure we all agree on amounts outstanding, and resolve any discrepancies while we still remember the nature of the transactions. No member should get too far ahead or too far behind; as long as we pick the right professions for our cell, there will always be something we need from another member: that living will you've been putting off forever; customized billing software to replace that obsolete MS-DOS package you outgrew 10 years ago; the annual checkup you haven't had in 15 years. If you are too far indebted to other members, you can settle with real cash or valuables, as negotiated between you or in arbitration.
Obviously I haven't thought of everything, and if you want to discuss this further before deciding, please email me, encrypting with my GPG key below.
John Comeau P. O. Box 100632 Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33310-0632Home page and GPG key