Flashcards for Economic Systems
Topic 2:  Non-market Economies
(19 cards)

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Copyright © 2007 by Dennis O'Neil. All rights reserved.

The kinds of societies that are most likely to have non-market economies.

isolated, self-sufficient foraging, pastoralist, and horticultural societies

The kind of economy in which there is most likely a low level of technology, a preoccupation with the daily and, at most, seasonal food supply, and work teams usually only include members of the local community. (Hint: think in terms of market versus non-market economies.)

non-market economy

The reason that people in societies with non-market economies freely share food and other products of their labor with whomever needs it or asks for it in the community.

Social pressure generally obligates them to do it.

The kind of economy in which the goal of work is most likely to be primarily the money that is paid for doing it rather than the pride in producing a good product or working with friends. (Hint: think in terms of market versus non-market economies.)

market economy

The term for trading goods and services directly for other goods and services without the use of money as a medium of exchange.


Barter without direct contact between the traders. Individuals from one group leave trade goods at a neutral location on the edge of their territory and then leave. Sometime later, members of the other community pick up the goods and leave something in exchange.

dumb barter

The kind of economy in which impersonal commercial exchanges are least likely to occur. (Hint: think in terms of market versus non-market economies.)

non-market economy

The most common form of non-market exchange within a community of foragers.

gift giving

In small-scale societies with non-market economies, the thing that usually compels a family whose harvest is larger than that of others to share it with them.

public opinion

The usual source of political power and influence in small-scale societies with non-market economies.

gaining respect through generosity and personal skills rather than the control of production and wealth

The thing that functions as rudimentary credit institutions in non-market economies.

social ties, especially those created by kinship

The crucial difference between gifts and sales in terms of the effect on long-term social relationships between those who are exchanging the items.

Gift exchanges create and strengthen social relationships while sales rarely do.

The reason that formal market places are rare in isolated, small-scale societies.

The advantages of trading in them are slight because every household usually provides for its daily needs from its own production and surpluses cannot be easily sent to areas of scarcity.

The kinds of things that are most likely traded in the markets of isolated, small-scale societies.

non-perishable luxury items (e.g., beautiful feathers and mollusk shells)

The thing that happens to non-market economies when they have prolonged contact with societies that have market economies.

non-market economies die and are replaced by market ones

The concept of ownership in which an owner normally can "own" land and other substantial property only as long as it is being used or actively possessed. The society as a whole is the real owner. The individual "owner" is responsible for looking after the property for the society--he or she essentially only has stewardship over it.


The concept of ownership in which an owner of property has the right to keep it whether or not it is being used or actively possessed. For instance, an individual may own several ranches and never use them. In addition, the owner has the right to pass the property on to descendents or to others chosen by the owner.

proprietary deed

The concept of ownership that is maintained by the U.S. legal system.

proprietary deed

The concept of ownership that is accepted by most foraging societies.