Artisans and Traders
All societies have an economic system, or a means of producing, distributing, and consuming essential or useful goods and services. In the previous unit, we introduced the topic of economic specialization within the context of household production. In this unit, we will expand on the topic of specialization, and will also examine the related topic of how specialized craft goods are distributed in nonegalitarian societies.
After completing this unit, you should be able to
- differentiate between the kinds of information about an economic system that can be derived from studying objects and those that cannot.
- explain how generalized economic specialization differs from institutionalized economic specialization.
- describe the main institution of economic production in nonindustrial societies.
- identify and define the three types of distribution of goods and services, and provide an example of each type.
- describe the four categories of household activities evidenced in households in the Valley of Oaxaca.
- explain what the presence of full-time specialists indicates about systemic relationships in a society.
- describe two institutions for commercial distribution in nonindustrial nonegalitarian societies.
- describe the relationship between economic specialization and urbanization.
- describe the basic elements of a city.
- explain how the large population at Teotihuacán fed itself.
- explain what material remains indicate about craft specialization at Teotihuacán.
- describe how goods were distributed at Teotihuacán.
- describe and interpret the evidence for craft specialization at Copán.
- compare trade and specialization at Copán and Teotihuacán.
After completing the viewing assignment for this unit, you should be able to
- describe the evidence indicating economic complexity in Maya society.
- compare economic activity in rural and urban Copán.
- describe the evidence for increasing economic complexity at Teotihuacán.
- describe the evidence indicating the economic impact of Teotihuacán on the rest of Mesoamerica.
- explain how ethnographic analogy is used to interpret evidence of craft specialization.