coincidence of wants

coincidence of wants

intro’d to the term via AJ Leon here

where he writes:

If you can’t afford something you need (in my case, bagels) or they can’t afford something you offer (design, copy writing, code, blacksmithing), and you feel the tension of a coincidence of wants in your midst, then just obviate the variable that doesn’t fit (i.e., Money) and make a deal.

But this essay, of course, is only partially about the barter economy.

The true point, is this.

Look around you. Most people in this world think in a very linear fashion. They believe that not only must they get from point A to point B, but that they can only do so by drawing the straightest line possible.

But any true adventurer or seasoned entrepreneur or conditioned artist knows that any fool can draw a straight line.

The genius lies in being able to see the dots first, then connect them (no matter how jagged) between where you are now and where you want to be then.

the genius.. yes. and tech can help with this.

AJ linked to this definition:

Definition: The phrase double coincidence of wants was used in Jevons (1893). “[T]he first difficulty in barter is to find two persons whose disposable possessions mutually suit each other’s wants. There may be many people wanting, and many possessing those things wanted; but to allow of an act of barter there must be a double coincidence, which will rarely happen.” That is, paraphrasing Ostroy and Starr, 1990, p 26, the double coincidence is the situation where the supplier of good A wants good B and the supplier of good B wants good A.

The point is that the institution of money gives us a more flexible approach to trade than barter, which has the double coincidence of wants problem. Also known as dual coincidence of wants.

and here’s more:

wikipedia small

The problem is caused by the improbability of the wants, needs or events that cause or motivate a transaction occurring at the same time and the same place.



what if we have tech help us work this little problem out..

facilitate the impossibilities.. the highly improbable/chaotic..

until we no longer barter (at least less with money).. until we see each other enough to need/want less and/or to realize where those adjacent possible crazy connections are.

like getting back our original (day care centers).. unconditional trust.


money ness