An economic system is a socially established institution that coordinates human activities in order to produce, distribute and consume goods and services. Goods comprise the commodities that are extracted from the earth and processed such as food, clothing and natural gas among others. Services comprise activities performed for others that result in the tangible products such as transportation, medical care and education among others. Therefore, three ongoing revolutions have shaped the global economic system. These revolutions include agricultural, industrial and information revolutions. These revolutions contain institutions that make them up, are constantly evolving, and will continue to evolve.
An agricultural revolution occurred during feudalism which is an economic system based on a traditional rule. In the agricultural revolution, it is believed that if your parents were serfs, there is great chance that you will be also a serf. This revolution dominated the western world from about 8th century to 15th century. The first important agricultural revolution is the domestication that occurred 10000 years ago (Ferrante 300). It is the process of bringing animals and plants under human control. Instead of hunting and gathering people planned when they would plant and harvest crops. This planning enabled for a more predictable food source, and made it easy to produce more grain than people required to survive. The availability of excess food supported the domesticated animals because adequate food became available for all. Domesticated animals reduced the need to hunt and offered people a source of power. The availability of food surpluses triggered a chain of events such as trade and civilization that changed society in fundamental ways. Throughout the agricultural period, merchants and artisans grew in an essential and wealth, and ultimately their increased relevance led to changes in the economic system from feudalism to mercantilism.
The industrial revolution is the period when technology and machines rapidly modernized industrial production and mass. A significant feature of the industrial revolution is mechanization or mercantilism, which is an economic system where the government had the power to undertake in economic activities (Andersen and Taylor 361). The industrial revolution is attributed to colonization which one country imposes its economic, political, social and cultural institutions on an indigenous people and the land it occupies. During this period, the handmade goods in the agricultural revolution were replaced with produced goods (Ferrante 302). This led to decline in power of small producers and increased power of the capitalists. Industrial revolution instituted capitalism as the dominant economic system. Therefore, capitalism is an economic system in which commodities and the method of producing and distributing remain privately owned.
Information revolution describes the economic, social and technological trends in the post-industrial society. Information revolution relies on intellectual technologies of telecommunications and computers, which are attributed to post-industrial societies. During this period, the capital is not only financial but also social which is measured by people’s access to social networks that serve as a source of information and opportunity. This resulted in a significant percentage of the working population employed in services, sales and administrative support occupation (Ferrante 304). The economy was defined by the production of goods and laborsaving devices based on knowledge as a source of invention and innovation. Therefore, information revolution applies in the post-industrial society, which enhanced means of communication. In a recap, revolutionary shifts from agricultural, industrial and information that give rise to new economic systems are not the only way to economic systems change. This is so because these systems also evolve internally.
Ferrante, Joan. Sociology: A Global Perspective, Enhanced. New York: CengageBrain Inc, 2010. Print.
Andersen, Margaret and Taylor Howard. Sociology: The Essentials. New York: CengageBrain Inc, 2010. Print.