There were a few different types of exchange systems we discussed in class, including hunter/gatherer, horticulturist, agriculturalist, and industrialist. Within a hunting and gathering group, members subsist by hunting animals and gathering fruits, vegetables, and other edible foods. Within this type of exchange system, there is no stratification, and the group is relatively small, composed of a family to a few families. Labor mostly includes hunting and gathering and is largely egalitarian.
Within a horticulturist exchange system, there is an active role of the members in actually growing food and or raising animals. There is more stratification, and the members are ranked according to status. Some higher ranked members of this type of society may determine what amount of food or resources other members have access to. Many members of a horticulturalist society are responsible for growing food and or tending to animals. An agriculturist society is similar, however it entails even more intervention and control of food growth systems. There are concerted efforts to divert water into agricultural lands so as to ensure that plants get enough water. Also, pastoralism is allowed for in this type of system, often times more intensively than in a mere horticulturist society. With greater food production comes also greater stratification of labor and power, and governments with systems of law are spawned. Rather than a more tight group of relatives, agriculturalist systems allow for more diverse and more numerous amalgamations of people that live together. It is also typical for larger cities to arise. Labor is even more divided as well. Many people depend on agriculture, however with the advent of the surplus, more roles for labor develop as well, such as artisans, merchants, and aristocrats. Within agriculturalist societies, there may be different types of trade amongst members and other cities or groups, including monetary systems, barter trade systems, and reciprocal gift giving. Gift giving is also common even between and within hunter gatherer and horticulturalist groups.
The last type of society is an Industrialist one. Within industrialist societies, there is even more stratification than ever in terms of both labor and power. With more dense population center, increased government power arises. Different production roles are very specialized and do not overlap nearly as much as they do in other types of societies. Currencies are the dominant form of exchange and dictate economic operations. Still, gift giving is very common, and reciprocity remains the social norm. While monetary currencies are the main form of exchange within industrialist societies, sometimes currencies will break down and fail, necessitating a return to a barter system, in which people depend on exchanging goods for goods, or maybe, goods for services. Within an industrialized society, since there are so many laws to regulate citizens and economic activity, a shadow economy may also arise, in which people buy and sell goods without the oversight of the greater system of law that is regulating other economic activity in the society. Within the shadow market, people buy and sell multitudes of different things, some being commonplace items, some being illicit items such as drugs, weapons, animals, or other banned goods such as ivory.