Flashcards for Economic Systems
Topic 1:  Introduction
(10 cards)

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Copyright © 2004 by Dennis O'Neil. All rights reserved.

A term referring to how food and other necessities are produced. (Hint: this is a general term referring to the subsistence patterns discussed in the last tutorial of this series--i.e., foraging, pastoralism, horticulture, and intensive agriculture.)

system of production

A term referring to the practices that are involved in getting the goods and services produced by a society to its people.

system of distribution and exchange

An impersonal but very efficient system of production, distribution, and exchange that is characterized by the use of money, the ability to accumulate vast amounts of capital, and highly complex economic interactions that are ultimately international in the scale of their inter-relatedness.

market economy

A kind of economy that has a low level of technological knowledge and a preoccupation with the daily and, at most, seasonal food supply because techniques for long term preservation of food are generally inadequate. Work teams are small and usually only include members of the local community. Little or no attempt is made to calculate the contribution of individuals or to calculate individual shares. Social pressure generally obligates individuals to freely share food and other products of their labor with whomever needs it or asks for it in the community.

non-market economy

A portable, arbitrarily valued medium of exchange. All market economies today use it. It can have a variety of physical forms--e.g., coins, paper money, or bank checks. It can also be simply a digital transmission from one computer to another that occurs with the use of credit cards or the electronic transfer of funds. Anything that is for sale can be bought with it--everyone accepts it.

general purpose money

Objects that serve as a medium of exchange in only limited contexts. In societies that have it, usually there are certain goods and services that can be purchased only with it. If you don't have it, you cannot acquire the things that it can purchase.

special purpose money

The kinds of things that traditional pastoralists commonly measure wealth in terms of—i.e, their primary medium of exchange.

livestock that they own

The changes that usually occur in a society after general purpose money is introduced into an economy that previously only used special purpose money. (Hint: think in terms of what happens to the value and importance of special purpose money as well as the economy as a whole in this situation.)

General purpose money ultimately replaces special purpose money and the society progressively becomes part of the global economic system.

The changes that usually occur for individuals when general purpose money replaces special purpose money. (Hint: think in terms of economic dependency on elders or others who traditionally have wealth within the society.)

Young adults often gain increased economic independence from elders or others with wealth within their society.

The changes that usually occur for isolated societies when they get drawn into the global economic system. (Hint: think in terms of economic self-sufficiency of the society rather than individuals within it.)

The societies become less self-sufficient.