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UNIT 8: Early Economies

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READINGS

Reading 1

Candice Goucher, Charles LeGuin, and Linda Walton, In the Balance: Themes in Global History (Boston: McGraw-Hill, 1998). Selections from chapter 6, "Trade, Transport, Temples, and Tribute: The Economics of Power."

Abstract: This essay focuses on the role belief systems played in making sense of the material world, and in explaining or justifying the distribution of both power and material goods. It focuses specifically on the Aztec and Inkan Empires in the Americas, and suggests that religion can provide the ideological glue that makes an economic system—as well as a political system—work.

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Reading 2

Candice Goucher, Charles LeGuin, and Linda Walton, In the Balance: Themes in Global History (Boston: McGraw-Hill, 1998). Selections from chapter 7, "Ties that Bind: Lineage, Clientage, and Caste."

Abstract: Using the examples of feudal Europe and feudal Japan, this essay emphasizes how some political structures were shaped by ideologies based on clientage. While each society was distinct in many ways, both shared similarities in their reliance on ideas about social organization and concepts of community to cement the ties between—and minimize the differences among—diverse internal elements.

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Reading 3

Candice Goucher, Charles LeGuin, and Linda Walton, In the Balance: Themes in Global History (Boston: McGraw-Hill, 1998). Selections from chapter 11, "Commerce and Change in Asia, Europe, and Africa."

Abstract: This essay describes the commercial revolution in China between 750 and 1250 and the impact it had on Chinese society. It argues that the Chinese commercial revolution did not take place in isolation, since it was situated at the eastern end of a network of trading ties that linked peoples across Eurasia. It did, however, result in massive changes at all levels of Chinese society, from the growth of cities to gender roles.

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