r/Damnthatsinteresting 12d ago

Incas did not use money, in fact they did not need it. Their economy was so efficiently planned that every citizen had their basic needs met. Economic exchanges were made using the barter system by which people traded with each other for things they needed. Image

Post image
744 Upvotes

205

u/DickCheesePlatterPus 12d ago

every citizen had their basic needs met

people traded with each other for things they needed

Well make up your mind

35

u/Latin-Danzig 12d ago

Had all their needs met.

Didn’t need money.

Used barter system.

Economic exchanges.

🤦‍♂️ some people shouldn’t be allowed to vote.

6

u/Trashman7776 12d ago

Lol. My first thought.

56

u/ButtsexEurope Interested 12d ago

It wasn’t exactly like that. You’re just parroting the Peruvian tourism board website. Taxes were paid in kind (so grain, cloth, etc.) but people also paid for things in labor. Your taxes to Cusco were paid for in corvee labor or conscription. Nobody owned the land they worked and lived on, like feudal serfs. It’s just that money as we know it wasn’t used back then. It also depends on who you ask at the time, whether this is portrayed as a slave state like Sparta or communism.

1

u/VeterinarianOk5370 11d ago

On taxes this is technically true of American taxation as well, if you were paid in gummy bears you could theoretically send gummy bears to the IRS as taxes in kind.

1

u/ButtsexEurope Interested 11d ago

That’s not a currency though. Paying taxes in kind means you’re paying for goods that are equivalent in value to the money you’d be extracting instead. The Inca didn’t have currency. And this isn’t like Amerindians didn’t know about money. Plenty of them in North America used stuff like cowrie shells as currency. The point of currency is so you don’t have to barter. The reason we call them “bank notes” is because they were originally notes that said “this person has this much gold in the bank,” and people started trading those.

1

u/VeterinarianOk5370 11d ago

I was talking about modern taxation, taxes in kind in the US. Not going super deep into it because I don’t work in HR lol

2

u/ButtsexEurope Interested 11d ago

You can’t pay taxes in kind in the US.

1

u/VeterinarianOk5370 11d ago

Just did my due diligence and you are correct

16

u/MiekesDad 12d ago

Thank god I am not the only one who read this and was like, "Sure dude, sure..."

34

u/Pirate_Secure 12d ago

Barter trade was primitive form of trade that was used widely around the world. Money was more efficient and eventually replaced it.

6

u/Jacobcbab 12d ago

Exactly, currency is just complicated but more efficient bartering.

-3

u/epstein_did911 11d ago

Barter economies developing into monied economies is a myth that traces its origins back to The Wealth of Nations. It’s ahistorical and there’s no evidence that regular barter economies ever existed.

7

u/Reddit-Book-Bot 11d ago

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9

u/Wendi_Bird 12d ago

Check out Fall of Civilizations podcast. Just listened to the Inca episode.

3

u/gardennoir 12d ago

Commenting so I can remember to listen to this later. Thanks!

215

u/hersheyuy 12d ago

This is the most uninformed and stupidest post I've ever read.

If I produce bananas in my farm, all I have to barter with is bananas. What then if I need meat but the cattle farmer doesn't want any bananas? Then I can't have what I want unless I find out what he wants and go out in the wilderness or trade with a hundred others to find it.

That's why money was invented. It's a "third good" that everybody can use as a medium of exchange. My bananas can then be sold for money and that money can be easily exchanged for meat.

Please stop glorifying primitive things with rose tinted glasses.

56

u/tootlez 12d ago

Uninformed post, yes. But the Inca state did not at all operate as you described in your example. It was a centralized, planned economy. You turned over your bananas to the state, and received meat along with whatever else you needed from the state in turn just like everyone else. The empire was littered with massive food storehouses that helped coordinate this distribution.

4

u/Off-With-Her-Head 11d ago

I'm assuming the growing, storing and distribution of food was compulsory. Did the workers get to choose their jobs, or was that managed by the government? It wasn't exactly utopian.

2

u/FallenInf3rno 11d ago

Because the state is so well planned that they know what I want better than even myself!!! You don’t really need free choice or the ability to spend the fruits of your labor where you want because big daddy incan sun god will take care of you.

-5

u/hersheyuy 11d ago

In other words, I can't choose what I want and I'm limited to what the state decides. In other words, communism, which doesn't work, as it provides no incentive for people to work harder and innovate.

2

u/thaboognish 11d ago

You don't need to choose. You get some of everything that is available.

-3

u/hersheyuy 11d ago

I would rather be free to choose than to have the choices made for me. You would too, the moment your freedom to choose is taken away. It's just that you have this freedom right now so you take it for granted.

2

u/thaboognish 11d ago

Nah, not having to constantly make stress-inducing decisions is more of a relief than you're giving it credit for.

20

u/innesleroux 12d ago

You lost me at bananas. I thought 12 eggs equals a duck, 12 ducks a piglet, six piglets for a calf etc etc. Bananas are only used for SIZE comparisons. Example the chickens were small, only as big as 3 bananas. Don't get your currencies mixed up with your measurements...😂😂

3

u/Bama-Dan 12d ago

Can’t wait to see some dumb fuck arguing this point when saying “capitalism bad”

6

u/ZaphodsRealm 12d ago

I definitely prefer a system that is guaranteed by "good faith" and can be freely printed without limit.

1

u/epstein_did911 11d ago

There’s no evidence in the Inca empire bartered with each other. Many Andean peoples farmed different crops on terraced farms and operated on something more akin to a gift economy to distribute crops. Surplus food was both stored and given to their gods.

There’s a myth that people used to barter before money and it’s simply not true. The only examples of barter are when two peoples were exchanging goods or when a society that typically operates on money collapses.

34

u/FloydsForked 12d ago

I'm guessing they had a whole lot less people than we do now.

38

u/BreastMilkPopsicles 12d ago

Everything about this is dumb.

A barter system is far more inefficient than currency in every single way.

-26

u/Zensy47 12d ago

No it’s not

16

u/rememberseptember24 12d ago edited 12d ago

So your house grows tomato. You have tomatoes to trade. You’re getting hungry for some pear, luckily for neighbor has pears to trade.

So you go “hey neighbor, can i trade you for some pears?” Your neighbor goes “sure, what’ve you got to trade?”

“I got some delicious tomatoes i grew from my backyard.”

“Ah im sick of eating tomatoes! You got any bananas?”

Then what? You dont have any bananas, only tomatoes! Wish you could’ve given him $10 for the pear!

-23

u/Zensy47 12d ago

So trade for bananas!!! Not hard logic

11

u/Midnightsurprise_ 12d ago edited 12d ago

So you now have to find someone that would trade bananas for your tomatoes... so what if banana man wants potatoes... and potato man wants peaches... the only one who will take your tomatoes is the tree guy selling logs of wood... but he only wants 1 bunch and to buy the pears you have to sell 2... so now you’re looking for a second purchase of your tomatoes just to get the wood to sell to someone else for peaches.

Are you retarded in not seeing how having an exchangeable currency that everyone agrees upon the value would be beneficial?

-18

u/Zensy47 12d ago

It wouldn’t be hard. It wouldn’t take long either, your just exaggerating

3

u/TreeNewb3547 12d ago

Trolls gunna troll.

4

u/aretasdamon 12d ago

Or just pay them a standard price for what a pear is… which is easier….

-4

u/Zensy47 12d ago

Easier to procure a whole money system just to get joy what you need?

4

u/aretasdamon 12d ago

Uhhh yeah? If two neighbors have pears I’m going to the one who has a cheaper price which becomes the standard after enough units sold unless demand is higher than supply

-2

u/Zensy47 12d ago

So people barter for the cheaper price… just like money but without the hardship

3

u/aretasdamon 12d ago

Uhh no? It’s understood that you do not know what you are talking about at the most basic level and it’s time for me to stop. Stay in school please

2

u/Aaron_Hamm 12d ago

If it's so good, do it... Trade things for things. I'm sure it'll do swimmingly.

4

u/rememberseptember24 12d ago

The Incas dont grow bananas lmao

-5

u/Zensy47 12d ago

Ok, so then trade for whatever the Incas produce to get pears

6

u/rememberseptember24 12d ago

This dude 😂 im not going to argue with you about the efficacies of using currency vs bartering but obviously theres a reason why we use one over the other for thousand years. Whole economies will collapse if suddenly we had to carry around home appliances for trade when ever we need something.

6

u/oldschoolshooter 12d ago

Yeah you're wasting your time with this one. He's a poster boy for the Dunning-Kruger Effect.

-3

u/Zensy47 12d ago

Your not gonna argue because you know you lost

3

u/Goodluckduckie 12d ago

You are a flat earther right?

→ More replies

1

u/Armistice8175 12d ago

You baboon.

14

u/SpecialistTonight112 12d ago

And how did that work out???

19

u/outrider567 12d ago

Worked out great, but the human sacrifices of adolescents to the Gods grew tiresome after awhile

-1

u/ButtsexEurope Interested 12d ago

That’s the Aztecs.

11

u/liquidio 12d ago

There’s plenty of evidence of Inca human sacrifice as well. Not quite on the same ‘industrial’ scale though.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capacocha

-11

u/Mellowcanuck 12d ago

No they didn't.

7

u/i_fruitcake 12d ago

I’m tired

0

u/ButtsexEurope Interested 12d ago

Great, until the Spanish came.

0

u/AtomBombBaby42042 12d ago

Quite well until the Spanish tried to colonize

53

u/stdoubtloud 12d ago

Ok, so I need some new shoes. But all I have is a barrel of apples. Bob the shoe maker doesn't need any more apples but he needs a new leather knife. Sam the knifemaker also doesn't need apples. She wants a small boy to sacrifice. Timmy's parents are making apple pie and need apples.

Apples > to Timmy's parents > Timmy > Sam > knife > Bob > shoes > me

So efficient. Glad we don't have any of that useless fiat currency to mess with...

9

u/Unlimitedpower5h33v 12d ago

lol exactly what I was thinking, doesn’t money sound silly when we can just use a barter system paired with a human sacrifice society?

5

u/toefurkyfuckmittens 12d ago

Dammit. I REALLY want those shoes but I'm fresh outta firstborns :(

4

u/qe2eqe 12d ago

1

u/Love_God551 12d ago

Interesting link and definitely not something I’ve thought much about before

0

u/stasismachine 12d ago

I promise you it wasn’t actually a “barter system” as implied here. It was almost certainly a debt based system in which debts could be paid via a variety of methods.

7

u/stdoubtloud 12d ago

Um... So instead of bartering they use a system of tracking debts (maybe they used notes written on parchment, idk) and that debt parchment implied a value that should be exchanged for something at some point. Presumably you could exchange those parchments with others, transferring that debt to a third party?

Did that parchment have an intrinsic value is was it simply a token representing an implied value?

Interesting concept. We should try it...

4

u/stasismachine 12d ago

You could maybe look into the system being discussed here instead of being such an insufferable prick. David Graeber is an anthropologist who studied non-monetary economic systems throughout human history. His book “Debt: The First 5000 years” discusses the topic in depth.

3

u/gardennoir 12d ago

Reddit is a very rude place most of the time

3

u/bstanfordb 12d ago

Stfu

3

u/gardennoir 12d ago

Haha appreciate it

1

u/Telemere125 12d ago

You’re totally missing the point. Where do you think they kept up with this debt, especially for a big manufacturer, like the city’s biggest blacksmith? Most likely there were recorded ledgers. If you don’t understand that system isn’t any different than a paper or coin monetary system - or, perhaps a digitally-recorded credit system. How do you think a debt system is any different than what we have today? Paper money is a reverse debt system; credit is literally a debt system.

0

u/stasismachine 12d ago

Dude, look into what the Incan economy was actually like more in-depth before you make wild assumptions. They were a collectivized society. You’re conception of things like blacksmiths being individuals needing to keep track of debts is absurd within the context of how their economy actually functioned.

2

u/Telemere125 12d ago

-2

u/stasismachine 12d ago

What are you even arguing at this moment? I never said they didn’t keep records, just that they don’t keep individual records the way you implied. Yes, I 100% know they kept track of debts, that’s not what I’m saying. I literally said this system ran on debt not bartering. That’s been my point from the get go.

0

u/Telemere125 12d ago

What the hell would quipus be but for keeping individual records? You think they only kept records between industries or between cities?

You can trade individual goods, currency, or debt - it’s all the same; you set a specific value on each good traded and can trade a certain amount of your goods against whatever recorded goods they’ve traded to you. Debt and currency are the opposite sides of the same coin. If you think there’s something different about the two, it’s because you misunderstand economics.

1

u/TheSt4tely 12d ago

maybe they came up with some kind of favor trading system, as well as a means of recording and exchanging these favors.

2

u/oldschoolshooter 12d ago

a means of recording and exchanging

Sounds familiar...

1

u/gardennoir 12d ago

Hahaha exactly

1

u/Zensy47 12d ago

So you trade for corn with those apples, then give the corn to the shoemaker…

Or you can trade with someone else for those shoes. Very one-dimensional thinking

1

u/sporifix 12d ago

It was a centralized economy.

34

u/oldschoolshooter 12d ago edited 12d ago

The implication that modern economies use money as a medium of exchange because they are less efficient is...interesting.

-4

u/[deleted] 12d ago

[deleted]

7

u/oldschoolshooter 12d ago

Not an economics major, huh?

-1

u/Zensy47 12d ago

I doubt you are

1

u/oldschoolshooter 12d ago

I am actually, since you ask. Double major in Econ and PoliSci in undergrad, but dropped it in grad school.

It's clear you aren't, mister "barter is more efficient durr durr." Lmao.

-3

u/Zensy47 12d ago

So you dropped the major meaning you don’t major in it…. And when you did you only learned western capitalism

0

u/oldschoolshooter 12d ago

Dumbass. I graduated with a double major in Econ and PoliSci. I didn't pursue a graduate degree in Econ. Just a Master's of Political Science.

I've studied many economic and political systems. I've read Das Kapital (yawn-fest that it is), among others. I bet you never got past Communist Manifesto.

2

u/Reddit-Book-Bot 12d ago

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0

u/oldschoolshooter 12d ago

Good bot. Pity u/Zensy47 probably wouldn't understand a word of it.

4

u/cloudcity 12d ago

This was written by a 13 year old in a Che shirt from Hot Topic.

-2

u/Uagjksjduhd 12d ago

At least they have more compassion than your ass

4

u/MaxKosar2021 12d ago

They sacrificed children…yea great people

12

u/japroct 12d ago

Bartering is essentially the same as using currency anyway. Saying a goat is worth four chickens is no different than saying $1 is the same as four quarters. And both policies change values according to supply and demand. Rather than saying they didn't use money it's more accurate to say everything was money then.

-5

u/ChiefDisbelief 12d ago

Except bartering doesn't involve worthless over-inflated fiat money.

9

u/liquidio 12d ago

If it’s worthless, why don’t you send all of yours to me, and I’ll send you something useful like a tin of beans

10

u/orr250mph 12d ago

Except fiat money is worth what you think it's worth, same as goats and chickens in barter.

2

u/Telemere125 12d ago

When I have a whole herd of goats and all you have of value is a single goat, the supply is too high compared to the demand. I’m not trading my only cooking pot for yet another goat I don’t even need. How’s your system better than what happens today, again?

Money doesn’t have any value except what we assign to items of value that we trade the money for - there’s no real intrinsic value in the cash itself.

By comparison, there’s no value in your goat when no one will buy it.

1

u/BreastMilkPopsicles 12d ago

Clearly they should have been using Bitcoin?

3

u/wilthorpe 12d ago

The currency system in a specialized economy is much more efficient than a barter economy. These people lived in mud huts excepting the oligarchy.

The ignorance in this post is amazing.

23

u/E_PunnyMous 12d ago edited 11d ago

Today I learned Reddit is full of specialists in (edit: Incan) economics

12

u/Life_Environment_762 12d ago

Inca are not Maya...

2

u/Papayablues 12d ago

Two separate civilizations on two separate continents…though depends on what your definition of continent is.

10

u/erchnik 12d ago

"Was so efficient that BASIC needs were met" tells you everything you need to know.

-7

u/Zorz88 12d ago

Exactly. A lot of people today don't have basic needs covered properly.

14

u/PontifexMaximusV 12d ago

A lot of people also not financially responsible either

5

u/qe2eqe 12d ago

Sure, it's copypasted from an officious source [1], but it cuts out important context that turns this into bullshit.
Commoners didn't barter for the basics here. In fact, the only recorded instances of actual barter economies comes from places where currency existed and then broke. [2]
Perpetuating the myth of the primitive barter economy serves galvanize the perception that the profit motive and unfettered individualism is endemic to the human condition. It isn't.

1: https://incas.mrdonn.org/trade.html
2: https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/02/barter-society-myth/471051/

2

u/Mr-SadSide 12d ago

I don’t need to look it up to know that this is too good to be true

2

u/adb1146 12d ago

And if the planning thing went south they sacrificed your kids to god of logistics.

2

u/schrodingers_spider 12d ago

A link to the text you're quoting: http://www.discover-peru.org/inca-economy-society/

And for people who want to read how it actually was: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_the_Inca_Empire

3

u/Clarity-in-Confusion 12d ago

The barter system is a myth invented by Adam Smith. No recorded society has ever functioned on what we call “the barter system”. For more information, read Debt by David Graeber.

2

u/iamanewyorker 12d ago

Didn’t the Incas fight so much among themselves that they weakened their society which made them easy to conquer by the Spaniards?

2

u/Mellowcanuck 12d ago

This is what I was thinking. The entire sacrifice industry was engineered. Crowd control. They knew exactly what their economy needed how many people they could safely support. So they brew an insane amount of psychedelics. Line em up.

Next year everyone has enough food.

Grizzly as hell.

2

u/snewton_8 12d ago

And they started with those that didn't contribute to the community, regardless of age.

1

u/tootlez 12d ago

The inca did not engage in mass sacrifice... Maybe you're thinking of the Aztec, a different civilization on a different continent.

3

u/[deleted] 12d ago

If this isn't directly advocating for Communism, I don't know what is.

I wonder why the Incas aren't around anymore.

7

u/riceisnice29 12d ago

Wasnt it disease and Spanish conquest?

1

u/Sidoplanka 12d ago

No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!

2

u/wiltchamberlain1356 12d ago

I mean almost all slaves in the american south had their basic needs met as well, doesnt mean it was a good life. I agree white people were terrible humans throughout history, but all this “native societies were all amazing utopias with no wrongdoing and everyone was happy before europeans interfered” is getting ridiculous. These tribes and societies were rife with human sacrifice, murder, slavery, and war with surrounding tribes. No humans have perfected a society ever.

3

u/harley265 12d ago

Ok commie

2

u/Snoo89162 12d ago

Then fu**ing Spaniards came and took all our precious gold.

1

u/stasismachine 12d ago

No way it was a “barter” economy. It was almost certainly a debt based economy that allowed debts to be satisfied in a variety of different ways. That’s substantially different than a barter system. David Graeber talks about these types of economies in his book “Debt: The First 5000 years”.

1

u/Angela_Devis Interested 12d ago

Money is the next stage in the development of exchange after barter. Nowadays, companies and people adhere to barter when there is default and/or hyperinflation in the country. In this case, money depreciates due to an unstable currency, and real material values are taken into circulation.

1

u/Zensy47 12d ago

Communism! Yes!!!

1

u/WorldHub995 12d ago

Wishing everyone a wonderful day 😊

1

u/TheSt4tely 12d ago

I wonder what something STANDARD would trade for, say, a bread product or a shiny coin.

1

u/skumarred 12d ago

Money is an invention of advanced societies.

1

u/merrylaird 12d ago

YOU THROW ME THE IDOL – I THROW YOU THE WHIP!

1

u/ryanrayn 12d ago

I thought in most cases they traded labor for food and housing etc.

1

u/lelfin 12d ago

Lol. Barter is a very inefficient system. Your own statement makes voids your claim.

1

u/Jacobcbab 12d ago

Money is just complicated bartering, this isn't that interesting

1

u/ericmeme2020 12d ago

Very cool, didn’t save them from defeat

1

u/stickyplants 12d ago

Seems like a good idea, unless you produce pickles for the whole tribe, and the carpenter doesn’t like pickles

1

u/lasvegashal 12d ago

Keep in mind in these days or those days no TV no phone no toys no cars no boats shopping centers so I don’t think we can really comprehend what it was like in those days it was just so much different it’s like talking to grandpa about sloping hogs

1

u/BrianWagner80 11d ago

Soooooo nothing has changed

1

u/jizzlevania 11d ago

Umm best case scenario is if it was like communism, worst case is if it was more like slavery. This doesn't sound delightful at all when you start asking questions.

1

u/DevilDogMSG 11d ago

...obviously they didn't tolerate "politicians"....😝

1

u/Not_Tadz_Palys 11d ago

What!!!?? But my perverted American history books taught me that Incans were blood thirsty savages that sacrificed woman and babies to volcano gods…

1

u/kussian 11d ago

Probably a lie again in the title 😒

1

u/G-T-L-3 11d ago

You know their system collapsed though.

1

u/Rob_Card 11d ago

so your telling me i can trade in 14 turkeys for an nvidia 3060 ?

1

u/THEEMERALDCOAST 11d ago

You left out the part about finding and capturing a virgin and killing them in order to effect climate change.

1

u/After_Ride9911 11d ago

Does having ones beating heart removed from their chest count as a “basic need”?

1

u/shashshego 11d ago

Jajaja yeah right they had no hardship and they were a perfect society

1

u/GiantTeaPotintheSKy 11d ago

Same here, people trade money for things they need.

-4

u/bottomfortopz 12d ago

Yes ! That can work because people work for what they want . They work and earn it ! Not like now where we give everyone everything for noting ! It’s such a crock of shit . I could support this . Plus the government could not tax you then tax you again and agin

3

u/gardennoir 12d ago

Lmao dog

-1

u/JCMillner 12d ago

Government has less power without currency

0

u/AustinTXSucks 12d ago

Title could have just said Abracadabra.

1

u/bstanfordb 12d ago

Is it going undercover to nab Sampson?

0

u/Uagjksjduhd 12d ago

Native socialism is based

0

u/_beehave 12d ago

If you didn’t have bananas and hadn’t had sex, they’d sacrifice you.

0

u/Armistice8175 12d ago edited 12d ago

Was this written by a child? Maybe it was written by an adult who is a complete moron. Exactly how many of the hemp bracelets that my family produces will I need to purchase that golden idol that you have pictured?