How Do Societies Meet Their Needs?
In Project Trade Up, we learned about many interesting topics including how societies prospered and thrived and what they needed to do that, different kinds of markets and economies and about industries and their kinds. This was fascinating because it helped me understand how we got the luxuries we have now and revealed how society developed into what it is now. It also made me understand about the aspects of the market and how we get all the products in it. So, we learned about many interesting things. For example, kinds of economies, types of industries, the factors of development and how all of this contributed to how a society prospers.
Completing this project I learned that there are two main kinds of economies- Command Economy and Market Economy. In a command economy, the government tells how much of what will be produced, distributed and consumed. The factories, harvesting sites etc. are all owned by the government. The workers working there also work under the government itself. So here, the government will control what goes into the market. For example, the government can tell the farmers that only 10,000 red apples and 5,000 green apples will be grown and sold. So, the only fruits in the market would be 10,000 red apples and 5,000 green apples. Then, this will be distributed among the people. However, in a market economy, the government doesn’t play that big of a role. The market is controlled by the factories and farms themselves, who are not owned by the government. In this economy, there is a lot more competition. The producers also have to keep supply and demand in mind. They have to know that if the supply is more and demand is less, they will suffer a loss, if demand is more and supply is less, they can raise the price, if demand and supply are equal, it is good for everyone and if demand is less and so is the supply, they can reduce the prices, get stuff all sold out and then get newer things in the market. However, most countries are a mix of both economies. Such economy is called Mixed Economy where the government controls certain aspects of the market and the producers and consumers control others.
I also learned that there are four types of industries- Primary, Secondary, Tertiary and Quaternary. The primary industry is about providing raw materials like wood etc. Secondary industry is about using the raw materials to create products like furniture etc. Tertiary industry concerns with the provision of services like education etc. And Quaternary industry involves the intellectual services that add on to the development of the society like medical scientists to make medicine etc.
One has to keep in mind the location of where the industries will be based. If the location of a society is in a desert, they can not choose the fishing industry since they don’t have a lot of water bodies. We had to do this for our civilization too. I had chosen wood cutting, fishing, pulp extraction, forestry and farming for primary industries, wood working, rubber production, paper production and tea production for secondary industries, laborers, teachers, doctors/ nurses, hotels/ restaurants for tertiary industries and design, sciences and architecture for quaternary industries.
Coming to the factors of development of a society, there are many. One of the most important ones is location. The location of a society can both support it or lead to its downfall. If the location is not right, then they would not have any resources of their own. Trade will be an option, but it is not the most reliable thing to depend on completely since the trading partner can always betray you or go bankrupt. Also, you will need to have something that interests them for them to keep trading with you. So, if the location is not good, then the society will be in trouble. However, if it is good, then the civilization will get a head start. The resources that will be obtained from the good land will be used to build good industries. Then, these can turn into fantastic sources of income and the society will not only survive, but also prosper and thrive.
Apart from academic topics, I also learned a lot about myself as a learner. I think I did pretty good as a communicator. I would share my ideas and put my opinions out there. I also did well as a thinker and researcher since I thought my answers through and made sure I used reliable sources and cited them wherever necessary. Being a collaborator was also mostly good. I would keep my group members and myself on track whenever necessary and so would they. I would also urge others to talk in discussions when they seemed to have stopped doing so. My group members were also pretty supportive and played their own role very well too. One thing we all could work on is maintaining stress so that we all don’t burst out yelling at each other every time we are worried.
All in all, looking back on Project Trade Up, I learned a lot about societies and what helps them thrive. For example, I learned that there are two major types of economies (Command and Market) but most countries follow a third type of economy (Mixed), there are four types of industries (Primary, Secondary, Tertiary and Quaternary), there are many things that help a society grow and prosper (location is an important one) and that if the location is right, it affects everything.
Keeping all the new things I learned in mind, there were a few changes in my thinking too. Before this project I used to think that there was just one kind of economy- one where some parts were controlled fully by the government and others were controlled by us. Now I know that is not true. There are, in fact, three economies only one of which being what I described in my past thoughts.
As for the answer to the driving question “How do Societies meet their needs,” I now know that there are many factors of development that help a society succeed. These factors affect everything- the industries, the economy, the trade and foreign relations and of course, the level of success.
Finally, Project Trade Up was a very fun and educative learning experience. I learnt a lot of new things. I enjoyed building my own civilization and working with my group. I had a lot of questions that confused me at the beginning of the project and they were all answered as we progressed. However, a question I still have is that keeping all the problems we have now and the success of ancient civilizations, would the civilization of the present– our civilization- be considered fully successful.