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The Indigenous Economic System: Capital And Production

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Chapter Summary

Every individual and society, at one point or another, faces what is alternatively called "the economic problem". This chapter clears up some technical and definitional confusion regarding Africa's indigenous economic system. The commonly held view that traditional African economies were "subsistence" economies is now proven to be myth. Certainly, those in other African regions who produced pottery, leather goods, copperware, brass basins, were not expected to eat but to trade them. The chapter discusses the indigenous African economic system by focusing on the following issues: how production was organized, how goods were exchanged or distributed, how the natives obtained finance, and what role, if any, the chiefs or native governments played in the economy, notwithstanding the "primitive" technologies. Africans engaged in quite a wide variety of economic activities. Agriculture was the primary occupation of Africans, and the basic unit of production was the extended family.

Keywords: African economic system; agriculture



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