Economics and Civilizations
years back “Homo Sapiens” evolved in Africa. Apart from learning technique for making
tools they developed abstract art engraving on ostrich shells, bone &
shell jewellery and sharp bone tools. Human instinct to live together formed societies,
which helped moving forward in many groups; about 60,000 years back they spread
out into the rest of the world. Essence of economics existed even during that period,
which behaved them to migrate from Africa as first human species. Migration
“out of Africa” improved locating new resources and survival tools. While,
in many parts they had to compete with
their ancestors “Neanderthals” or "Homo Erectus" who migrated from Africa earlier. The theory of
Neanderthals/Homo Erectus and Homo sapiens interbreeding or wiped out by
Homo sapiens or became extinct are still a disputed arguments among explorers. Ancient
ancestors migrated from Africa had an economic goal “survival”.
is always an economic activity
whether ancient ancestors or present modern human. The economics is a process
of managing continued existence, resources and consumption.
or any specie’s basic instinct is to
store the remaining after consumption, for the future needs is “saving”. “Exchange”
is interchanging surplus or unneeded
for currently required. These two factors “Save”
and “Exchange” significant as “save”
signifies “Banking” and “Exchange” signifies “trade” in modern economic world. Save
and exchange are integral parts of the definition of economics.
any civilization whether Stone Age or Iron
Age or our modern times, activities carried out that creates environment to
survive or secures survival is the economic activity.
Evolution of managing economics expanded farther during first historic civilization
some 8000 years ago through
farmers in Mesopotamia. Farmers
benefited from Tigris
and Euphrates rivers and its fertile lands. In Bronze Age Mesopotamia
included Sumer, Akkadian, Babylonian,
empires all natives to the territory of modern-day Iraq (Wikipedia).
They began to grow grains and domesticated animals which provided an
alternative food and compost for agricultural land. As the population grew feeding
became a challenging task. They invented a methodical form of irrigation system
using canals and dams that converted barren to fertile land. This developed irrigation
system transformed agricultural outlook and grew trade relationships.
Rising agricultural economy
allowed trade to grow and develop markets, which later transformed to cities. Economic
movement and growth eased expansion of urban cities. The first big city was
Uruk (4400-3100 BC) later became Babylonia. Advancement of agriculture and over
production initiated finding ways to dispose opened international trade routes
to Egypt, Indus Valley and other parts. Imports and Exports were mainly done on
equal value of merchandise, later exchanged with silver and precious metals. Economic
activities evolved and trade became the major avenue to relationship with
foreign countries helped extending exchange of discoveries, culture, and
The people of Mesopotamia
invented earliest form of writing called cuneiform, was an added value to record
production and marketing. Both barter and
systems prevailed in trading activity. Banking
introduced that made methods of transactions easier in the form of clay tablets
engraved notes and ring moneys. Similar to present banking systems, Mesopotamian
banks too received deposits, lend on interest. This civilization’s economic
system was more or less similar to present private participation but in the control
of dynasties. Dynasties controlled land, people, military and economy under Hammurabi code (1795-1750 BC). A
tax system was introduced by dynasties, which was binding to all traders and
citizens. Most taxes were collected in the form of live stock, precious metals
or labour. The tax net was wide, almost each activity was taxed that attracted
smuggling and tax evasion. Penalties under Hammurabi code was too tough, non
payment of taxes on harvest, cheating or theft. In the same time the code was
relaxed to those who lost crop or suffered loss in commerce or trading due to disaster
or other mishap, was freed from tax payment.
Finally, the prosperous
civilization too was not immortal and had to face environmental change,
regional war, over urban population and declined resources, which weakened this
civilization and fell to Achaemenid
Persian Empire. This civilization’s elaborate means of economics was
gift to next civilizations.
the priority of inhabitants and dynasties
were upgrading living standard indicates nation and individual grew economically.
Priorities shifted from mere essentials to comfort such as keeping slaves,
decoration and fashion. Rising income created huge demand for luxury goods such
as ornaments, potteries and decorative items.
of slaves reduced cost of agriculture and
commercial activities that led to huge margins to the owners. Babylonia defeating
kingdom of Judah, imprisoned soldiers and inhabitants as slaves, used them in
agriculture without any remuneration. During this period male & female slaves
were displayed for purchase and sale, value depended on the worth of a slave.
This practice continued until Persian king Cyrus the saviour invaded and forced
release of slaves.
growth and surplus funds allured inventions
and discoveries. Sumerians of this civilization invented writing helped keeping
record of economic transactions. And introduced law of conduct applicable to
all, for uninterrupted social order.
growth built trade and cultural
relationship with neighbouring regions, which exchanged discoveries, developed
literacy and knowledge, social beliefs and customs.
the economics is a science that
exists whether fails or survives as long as human needs exist. The growth is measured
by standard of living and consumption pattern. The economics is integral part
of social systems as economic functions are to gratify social needs for its
inhabitants. The social potency lies on its economic growth and stability.
regions in Mesopotamia’s economic growth
diverted attention from agriculture to more profitable occupation. Lacking innovation
in irrigation & agriculture lapsed focus on solving mineral salts layer
problem in cultivable lands, (about 2300 BC) drastically reduced agricultural
productions was foremost reason for its weakening. The weak regions were prone
to invasion for wealth and minerals. The expansion does not mean to neglect the
base on which the economic growth erected.
Use of slaves in Mesopotamia reduced cost of agriculture and commercial activities
that led to huge margins to the owners.