Until the development of farming practices, hunting and foraging for food was the means by which all humans survived.  Hunter gatherer communities still survive in many parts of the world today.

 

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An Economy Based on Money

In Western developed countries, people tend to take their way of life for granted. Few people have to worry about food production except to the extent that it affects the price of their favourite meals at the supermarket. Modern farming methods mean that only a small percentage of the UK's population is involved in supplying food to the population as a whole. In other words, for most people, their main focus every day is not simply seeking out food for themselves and their families. Instead, many people go to work at all kinds of different jobs.

Why do people work? Some would probably say “Because I enjoy what I do.” Others would say “Because I have to.” Most people who have jobs have some expectation of being paid for what they do.  In western society, having money defines the ways in which people are able to live their life. Whether they have a lot of it or none at all can determine whether they live in luxury or in  poverty. Most people are somewhere in between.

Western society encourages us to be consumers, whether it's buying fashionable clothes, the latest mobile phone, a cool car, or a nice house.  Money enables us to get this stuff and we are encouraged to spend our money on products by the people who make them.

If a person in this kind of society doesn't have money, it's a big problem.  People can’t just go into a shop and help themselves to whatever they need. Even if a person is starving and they take some food, just enough to feed themselves for one meal, it is still considered theft.   Money is generally the thing that makes taking things ok.  Someone can go into a supermarket and pile a trolley with £100 worth of food, and as long as they have £100 to pay for it, everything is fine.  The money is what is exchanged for the food.

But it's not like that for everyone in the world.

Read More: Living differently

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