Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Things I want to learn more about: The Incan Economy

During my daily internet browsing I found this interesting article on io9.

The greatest mystery of the Inca Empire was its strange economy

In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the Inca Empire was the largest South America had ever known. Centered in Peru, it stretched across the Andes' mountain tops and down to the shoreline, incorporating lands from today's Colombia, Chile, Bolivia, Equador, Argentina and Peru - all connected by a vast highway system whose complexity rivaled any in the Old World. Rich in foodstuffs, textiles, gold, and coca, the Inca were masters of city building but nevertheless had no money. In fact, they had no marketplaces at all.

The article mostly focuses on the fact that the Inca did not use money, nor did they have marketplaces.  Anyone who has visited ancient Greek and Roman cities usually see how central the marketplace was in those societies.  So this makes the utter lack of a marketplace very unusual for such an advanced society.

The article bases it's information from the book The Incas: New Perspectives by Antropologist Gordon McEwan.  I am curious if any economic historians have written books about this.