A traditional economy is an original economic system in which traditions, customs, and beliefs shape the goods and the services the economy produces. Countries that use this type of economic system are often rural and farm-based. Also known as a subsistence economy, a traditional economy is defined by bartering and trading. Little surplus is produced, and if any excess goods are made, they are typically given to a ruling authority or landowner. A pure traditional economy has had no changes in how it operates (there are few of these today). Examples of traditional economies include those of the Inuit or those of the tea plantations in South India. Traditional economies are popularly conceived of as "primitive" or "undeveloped" economic systems, having tools or techniques seen as outdated. As with the notion of contemporary primitiveness and with modernity itself, the view that traditional economies are backwards is not shared by scholars in economics and anthropology.
Traditional economies may be based on custom and tradition or command, with economic decisions based on customs or beliefs of the community, family, clan, or tribe.