When we think of the economy, we usual envision money, images of graphs, and old white men in suits. In reality economics simply refers to how we manage our resources. Economics has therefore always been a part of every day life. Throughout history humans have used economics to facilitate their well being. Economies evolved to suit the needs of the societies they served. Until very recently the evolution of economics was slow, little changed for tens of thousand of years. The economic system we use today, is just a blip on the chart of human history. It has served humanity well in the sense that it has brought us comforts unthinkable to our fore bearers. Humanity has flourished and spread. The world feels much smaller now than it did
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There was very little surplus wealth, so there was little room for specialized trade of gross inequality. And, importantly, they had no concept of private property (Heilbroner 12). At its most basic level their economy calculated the quantity of resources that would have to be harvested to feed the community. These communities developed trade with other groups, creating some specialization. One tribal group might seasonally pass by a region were high quality flint was easily accessible. Another group might have harvested surplus game. It would be in the interest of both parties to trade their resources with the other: the first group now has to spend less time hunting, and the other group doesn't have to make the journey to the flint mine.
This basic economy persisted for tens of thousands of years, and still exists today in several places in South America and Oceania (Eede). Then in around 8000 B.C. One of the most rapid economic shifts in history began. People living in the fertile crescent of south west Asia started domesticating seed forming grasses. By 5000 B.C. farming communities were springing up all over the fertile crescent (Braidwood 23-24). A hunter gatherer group could maximally produce little more than enough to feed themselves. They quickly depleted an areas resources; forcing their communities to pack up and move frequently. With careful management a piece of farmland could be used for hundreds of years without loss of productivity.