D. Mao – Week Five – System of Exchange

Through this week’s reading, I learned that there are many different types of exchange systems. For example, I learned hunter and gathering, horticulturist, agriculturalist and industrialist. Through these different types of exchange systems, we can find that with the time, environment and cultural changed, the exchange systems were changed. In my opinion, I do not think that one type of exchange system is better than other type of exchange system. With the time, environment and cultural, the society created an exchange system which suit the society best. It will result bad if we use industrialist in hunting and gathering society as well as use hunter and gather in our society.

Comparing with our exchange systems, hunter/gatherer is a primary and easy exchange system. In this type of exchange system, people hunt animals and gather vegetables and fruits. In this society, each member will do their own job. Therefore, there are not many division of labor. In addition, society uses hunter/gatherer has a low population density.

Unlike hunting and gathering people. People who are horticultralists grow their own foods and farm their own animals. It is a big step from the hunter/gatherer because the environment influence was decreased. According to the lecture, it says “They organized in extended kin networks”. There are more people involved in this exchange system than hunter/gatherer exchange system. In this exchange system, people who did a good job on growing and farming have right to determine what amount of resources other people can get.

Agriculturalists is similar with horticulturalists but have some differences. In agriculturalists, people can grow more foods and raise more animals. Therefore, when supply is bigger than need, surplus is created. With the surplus, people can use them to do other useful job, trading. Technology is really important in the exchange system. According to the lecture, it says technology is “cultural knowledge for making and using tools, and for extracting and using raw materials.” In the agriculturalists, people started to show their ability to use the technology. For example, people put crops into the soil to ensure the soil productive. In addition, people started to divert water resources into farm lands to ensure the plants have enough water and grow faster. Diverting water resources into farm lands is more stable than relying on rains. In addition, in this exchange society, division of labor become more important. People separate to owners and laborers. Owner and laborers have totally different kind of duties and jobs. Also, people are not tight in relatives in Agriculturalists. Different people live together more and more.

Industrialists has many differences by comparing with other kinds of exchange systems. For example, people in industrialists have more specific jobs. In addition, they have many different ways to exchange resources. In Industrialists, the population is denser. With such number of population people have many different jobs to do. Labor is an important form in this exchange system. In this exchange system, the power of governments and laws are huge. They regulate the economy situation including currency. If the economy situation goes bad, the society may back to a barter society. Therefore, industrialists is a more complex exchange system comparing with other exchange systems.

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