Ancient Southern Mesopotamian Agriculture Credit
We are not surprised that offering wages go down when there are more workers available than needed, and offering wages go up when there are less workers available than needed. Similarly, we are not surprised that market prices among competing basic food commodities (e.g. rice, wheat, beans) vary with their relative food value (calories). When economists quantify these phenomenon, they create graphs of price vs. availability i.e. “Demand Curves.”
Archaeologists rarely have available data to make such tabular computations, but in the 2017 Oriental Institute presentation, Economic Growth and Growing Inequality in Times of Empire, Dr. Michael Jursa (Professor of Assyriology at the University of Vienna) presents data from Old Babylonia (2rd millennium BC) and other cultures in various times, then focuses upon the New Babylonian empire (1st millennium BC). His presentation conveniently complements last week’s post regarding Gil Stein‘s hypotheses about Staple-based and Wealth-based cultures in his paper Economy, Ritual, and Power.
Price Elasticity is an important economic concept, and Dr. Jursa’s presentation adds data of another sort to Dr. Morris’ constructs.
Thanks for visiting,
R. E. J. Burke