Sue Loudon may be a bird brain, but the fact remains that barter, or to update matters, local exchange trading systems, or LETS, can help people and communities where there is little cash, but people with skills.
The baby sitter earns community credits that can be spent on the housepainter. A carpenter earns credits so that he can get some groceries at a participating merchant's.
Local, democratic, non-profit, and in times of economic hardship, an attractive model. My granddad was a local doctor who in the Great Depression saw patients pro bono, or took services in kind. Of course that was when office visits where $5 and house calls!! $7. That world is long gone.
Let us enjoy ridiculing, of course, but let's also face the fact that absent cash people, communities are going to have to find a way, especially because for many low wages and high unemployment is going to be with them a long long time.
There are of course tax implications, though less so on the trading of services in kind. The LETS community, and it is global, has a set of best practices.
And these days, as in any downturn, they are growing.