The idea of Economics as (just) the exchange of things is reductive and not inclusive

Reducing all human life to exchange means not only shunting aside all other forms of economic experience (hierarchy, communism), but also ensuring that the vast majority of the human race who are not adult males, and therefore whose day-to-day existence is relatively difficult to reduce to a matter of swapping things in such a way as to seek mutual advantage, melts away into the background.

As a result, we end up with a sanitized view of the way actual business is conducted.

The tidy world of shops and malls is the quintessential middle-class environment, but at either the top or the bottom of the system, the world of financiers or of gangsters, deals are often made in ways not so completely different from ways that the Gunwinggu or Nambikwara make them—at least in that sex, drugs, music, extravagant displays of food, and the potential for violence do often play parts.


This is one of the many passages and charts I find in books and articles on a daily basis. They span many disciplines, including:

I occasionally add a personal note to them.

The whole collection is available here.