Traditional Economy

Examples Of The Economy

The thing about traditional economies is that they are very primitive, so to find these places you would need to look to undeveloped countries, rural areas, etc. South India, rural areas in the middle east, Inuit territory in North America, Native American territory that has yet to be developed, etc.

Since it is a primitive system, before there were settlements, they started as hunters and gatherers. As time progressed, they moved towards agriculture and livestock keeping, but their methods of maintaining a functioning society stayed pretty much the same as time progressed. Even with technology being what it is, there are still traditional economy based societies that are still attempting to hold on to their way of life that has been passed down

Drawing of an Inuit tribe

What are some advantages and disadvantages of a Traditional Economy?

Chief Sitting Bull of the Lakota - Leader of the tribe

Since a traditional economy is found among very primitive countries in the world, it is most likely not going to be sophisticated by any means. In a traditional economy, everyone has a role in the economy specified by some head of the tribe, household, council, etc. Men did the hunting, leading, herding, etc. The women did the farming and raising the children. And the children helped with chores around the household. This order was set and there was no leeway in this set order.

With this being said, since everyone has a role, everyone (chances are) is going to be good at what they do, because that's all they really have to do. For instance, in many native american tribes throughout North and Central America, the males' role was to hunt and provide for the family (for those not in position of chieftainship). The complexity of these societies however, varied, but the main concept around all of these was that they had a social order that everyone revolved around. When the order was broken, there was punishment. There is also no deviation from this order, keeping the good of the tribe over the individual.

Some disadvantages are definitely present, one of which is the lack of complexity. In a global economy, being stuck in the 1700s is definitely not effective. Usually these societies do not need interaction with other bodies because they are self sustaining, but given the time period we are in, the use for barter system and set social hierarchy is definitely falling by the wayside.

Middle eastern goat herder...herding goats

How does a traditional Economy address the three basic economic questions?

Well, the three economic questions can be answered by simply looking at how a traditional economy functions. Since many of these societies and tribes are based on some sort of religious concept or clan mentality, each of these can be answered with that explanation.

  1. What will be produced?: Since these cultures are very primitive, only basic necessities are created such as houses, clothing, food, containers (sometimes) and since they are based around religion or some other family aspect, things like native american peyote pipes, ceremonial dress, etc. will be created.
  2. How will it be produced?: The religious aspect comes into hand when we talk about what will be produced and HOW. Natives generally have a purpose for settling on land and most of the times, tie it to a religious center. After they have the land, the social aspect comes into play as to who will do the producing. The roles established in the tribe/society/clan/council will determine who does the production of certain items.
  3. For whom will it be produced?: In these societies, many of the tribes or clans were self sustaining but sometimes made goods to trade for other goods they couldn't produce themselves. Also, a lot of these societies, since they are so close knit, all of the production is produced for the tribe. Everyone puts forth a collective effort. It is basically a much more functional version of communism (its not completely communism but food production, upkeep of the land, etc was done for the collective good).

Visuals and other links

Picture of a typical hunting/gathering socieity

Comment Stream

2 years ago

Very informational that sums your topic in one easy page.

2 years ago

The font for your titles is really neat, and you answer the three questions well.

2 years ago

I thought your website was very good! It had a lot of good inforation and was well organized. I feel like it would be a little easier to follow with some bullet points for the advantages and disadvantages. VERY NICE!