Talk:Subsistence economy

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Question to Sarge Baldy: If you define subsistence economy as you do in the first paragraph: Looking at an agrarian society/early state which raises taxes in kind (like UR III in Mesopotamia) and otherwise meets all other criteria you stipulate would you still term this a 'subsistence economy'? And if so, why? Greetings - Popeye2

I wouldn't say so, but maybe just because it doesn't quite make sense to me. If there are taxes, wouldn't there have to be a surplus? After all, it's taking necessary resources from a group, and that means forcing overproduction of at least one resource so as to alleviate that tax burden. So no, unless there's something I'm missing I don't see how they could be. Sarge Baldy 20:44, 19 August 2005 (UTC)

Greetings again & Thanks. To pinpoint the problem: Any agrarian economy - even a subsistence economy as defined by you - needs a regular periodical surplus for seeds in the coming season. An even greater suplus is necessary if the population is growing in between harvests - as must have been the case in the neolithic. From this point of view it is only a gradual difference to originate an additional surplus for "taxes in kind" to feed a hierachy of religious or political "officials" managing the increasing complexity of a growing community. I am not critical about your definition. I am struggeling with a different problem related to the origin of state and the role of staple food storage in subsistence economies and its effect upon stratification. (See for example: Testart, Alain, The Significance of Food Storage among Hunter-Gatherers....Current Anthropology, 1982 (33), 523-537).

True, and I suppose it's a matter of where you draw the line. But I think an important ingredient is that production exists for the sake of consumption and not for exchange. Taxes, being a means of massively redistributing resources, would seem unnecessary to me if the economy was truly subsistent; there is a reliance on the production of others, and at some stage an instability in these transfers could prove fatal to an economy. Although note that I'm a bit distanced from the field of anthropology, and cannot offer anything other than speculative assistance relating to the topic. Nor can I look into it further right now, not presently having access to an academic library. Sarge Baldy 20:33, 31 August 2005 (UTC)

To Whom it may concern: In the reference cited the following can be found: ..."In a subsistence economy, enough is grown, hunted and crafted to provide for the basic needs of the people. A surplus is only created if there is a need or a desire to trade with neighboring people...." Would it therefor not be more accurate to define subsistence economy along the lines of: In a subsistence economy all production [of agricultural and of any other technological nature ( see above grown, hunted and crafted..)not just food]is for group consumption or needs. Only surplus is created and used to trade with. I believe broadening the definition would allow for moving away from the underlying inference that subsistence economy by necessity has to be primitive and poor. Altera vista (talk) 15:26, 9 June 2010 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Altera vista (talkcontribs) 19:28, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

No Currency?[edit]

Is that the only definition of a subsistence economy, that there is no currency? A better definition is needed. Fresheneesz 01:12, 28 May 2007 (UTC)

Proposed edit[edit]

I propose deleting "is an economy which refers simply to the gathering or amassment of objects of value; the increase in wealth; or the creation of wealth. Capital can be generally defined as assets invested with the expectation that their value will increase, usually because there is the expectation of profit, rent, interest, royalties, capital gain or some other kind of return. However, this type of economy cannot usually become wealthy by virtue of the system, and instead requires further investments to stimulate economic growth. In other words, a subsistence economy",

and "to be used by a particular nation"

and "Therefore,"

"Capital can be generally defined as assets invested with the expectation that their value will increase , usually because there is the expectation of profit, rent, interest, royalties, capital gain or some other kind of return." may be true but why is capital being defined here when it is not mentioned beforehand?

and how can an economy refer to something? Does the writer mean "is a term which refers simply to ..."?

And what is the relevance of a nation to the explanation? Surely a subsistence economy could be operated by a community of any type or size. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:29, 7 April 2013 (UTC)