E. Varghese – Week Five – Systems of Exchange

The different systems of exchange that are found vary within societies. I learned a lot about the different subsistence strategies including hunters and gatherers, horticulturalists, agriculturalists, pastoralists, and industrialists. These different systems have many similar qualities among each other, but they different entirely. These were very interesting to learn about and so I will discuss these five.

Hunters and gatherers hunt for their food and supplies and collect them in order to survive. This group of people is limited and these people are becoming more and more rare. This will range within a family or in a small group of people, who all work together to thrive. To be hunters and gatherers, there must be a strong, personal relationship between everyone within the group so that everyone gets along and perform their best to gather food and supplies. This is an egalitarian community.  This group also works with the horticulturalists, where their food is grown in a garden and is supplemented by hunters and gatherers.  These are family and community gardens. Other methods they used were slashing and burning of forests to use as a new garden plot for them to thrive from. Horticulturists grow what they will consume for themselves and although hunters and gatherers have an egalitarian community, horticulturalists usually have central leader. There is more differentiation in tasks and so the importance level of this group lowers.

The next group I will discuss are the agriculturalists, who produce a larger quantity of food materials, so much that there is a surplus of goods. They also focus on crop rotations in order to keep the soil organic. Agriculturalists use animals to do the work, such as irrigation, to make the crops better. This is different from horticulturalists. Agriculture is very common in the United States, which I can connect to the most with because it is the most common. The differentiation has grown immensely, and so owners and laborers are defined with different tasks and a central government is found.

Pastoralists are similar to horticulturalists in way that instead of raising gardens, they actually domesticate and raise animals. This is in the purpose of food and not for agriculture and so pastoralists rely on animals for clothing as well. They also care for the animals in ways of herding and keeping them in pens. Pastoralists can also be intertwined with horticulturalists and agriculturalists, because the small group they are.

Finally, industrialists are controlled by market systems where good and services are exchanged. This group has very limited and specific jobs, and they are all different from each other. Labor varies among everyone within this system. Within this group, there are also separate systems of religion, education and politics. These are all different from each other, in the way that each of these systems is completely from the other and different people are attracted to either religion, education, or politics, which drives a separation. The government of this group is territorial, which is similar to the agricultural and pastoralist system.


One thought on “E. Varghese – Week Five – Systems of Exchange

  1. In your post when talking about industrialist subsistence strategy you mentioned that the group has limited and specific jobs. This has to do with division of labor. In industrialist societies there are often more people and more units of production and therefore more categories to split up people for work. It’s not an egalitarian society either so some jobs are inferior, of a lower status. This has led to issues in specific job areas in the working class. One example talked about in the reading and lecture was “Poverty at work”. In the post-industrial market system manufacturing jobs have been replaced with service jobs. This displaced workers from a fairly well-paying job to a less well-paying job. Not only was it economically disruptive but also culturally disruptive. It was culturally disruptive because it took working men from a well-respected “masculine” job to what was considered a less respectable job in the service industry.

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