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Bonus Blog: Joseph Wright

In the early part of the semester, the second day to be precise our class began our discussion on what were identified as the characteristics of states. Out of those characteristics there were six that were identified as primary: urbanization, agriculture, specialization, complex economy, stratification, and state authority. The other emphasis was placed on the secondary characteristics of civilization that included: monumental public works, writing, metallurgy, tribute and taxation, mass production of goods, state religion, sate art, and epidemics of diseases. Together all of these embody what is means for a band or small group to become a society or a state. Perhaps may opinion may be biased or incorrect, that seems to be a running theme this semester, but in my ideal view of what it takes for a band, group, society, etc. to be considered a state I belief that a complex economy needs to be in place.
Granted this perspective comes from and individual who is a self-identified communications marketing major, and as such I have a view that is biased towards business. Still based on the evidence presented in class there is reason to believe that my ideal is the correct one. Considering all of our advanced societies that we examined over the class period there usually existed some system of exchange for goods and services. It could be based off of the tributary economy, a system of work for goods and services, or ultimately it could just be like how our society operates today. No matter what commerce is usually at the forefront of societies evolution into a complex state. Complex economies are tied inherently to the other primary characteristics of states as well as its secondary characteristics.
Through the development of economic systems and taxation practices stronger and larger urban centers are able to be developed for urbanization. Agriculture is able to produce a profit and those that do not grow their own food are able to use a complex monetary system of purchase to acquire food or other agricultural resources. Specialization is able to exists because they are able to focus on a particular area of interest in the hopes of turning a profit, without being overly burdened by the day-to-day thanks to a reliance of an economic system. Finally states are able to build up authority and be recognized as the elites by their subjects basically because they exercise the power of the purse, to control tax and regulate economic affairs within their state. I realize that my ideal may not fit some of the other opinions of my classmates, but it is still my mentality that the presence of a complex economy is THE most important primary characteristic of states. Thank you.