Human beings, that were once referred to ‘’Tool using animals’’ have a long history that dates back to 2 Million years ago. However, the major source of economic development was initiated after the process of agriculture came into existence. Post the arrival of Agricultural era, Paleolithic Human largely survived on hunting animals using the tools that were directly derived from nature or were marginally modified using wooden hafts or handles by these groups. It is because of their high reliance solely on hunting, seventeenth-century philosopher Thomas Robbes, described the Paleolithic life as ‘’Nasty, Brutish and Short’’
However, the very first phase of economic development was witnessed after the retreat of continental glaciers about 10000-12000 years ago that lead to extinction of many of the mammals that were food supply of Paleolithic Human. However, the major change brought into the human civilization were the invention of agriculture and domestication of animals and it is claimed that by 6000 BC, human civilizations were largely growing wheat and barley and got involved in tending of cattle. This whole process spread widely from Iran to the Mediterranean and then to Egypt, China and India. These developments proved significant in development of human history and since people were getting sufficient food supply, they were now able to settle permanently, storing wealth, goods and were getting involved socially through art and religion. The changes were started to evolve but gradually, as invention of agriculture was proliferated through invention of new tools, followed by pottery, textile manufacturing and copper mining. It is also that it was only through refined pottery art, wheel was invented that lead to a revolution in transport of goods. The proliferation of agriculture allowed establishment of peasant villages and then powerful city-states that saw buildings made of clay bricks. One such example is the city of Jerico that has traces of neolithical settlement and a huge stone wall erected by 7000 BC, indicating the development of human civilization above agriculture now that further expanded to Mesopotamia and Egypt.
However, it was only around 3500 BC, the soil of lower Mesopotamia, which was once disregarded, became the seat for the first great civilization in the human history, Sumer. The soil of this region was naturally fertile and the Sumer Civilization used it extensively through drainage and irrigation that was well supported by labor division, skilled management and supervision by peasants and artisans. The profession of architecture, medicine was also born during this time providing aid to economic organization of the civilization. Since Sumer was deprived of natural resources except for its rich soil, it involved in trade with other less advanced people for trade of copper and stones. The growing administration lead to the invention of the most significant contribution for other civilization, ‘’Writing’’ that later went on to be used in religion, literature and economic matters. As a matter of fact, in later phase of development, clay tablets were being used for writing contracts, debts and other commercial transaction.
Cameran, R. (n.d.). Economic Development in Ancient Times. In R. Cameran, A Concise Economic History of the World: From Paleolithic Times to the Present (pp. 21-43). Oxford University Press.