Evolution of Commerce – The Hunting, Pastoral and Agricultural Stages

Evolution of Commerce

Evolution of Commerce is an unending process. With the technological changes taking place, commerce is growing every day. The evolution of commerce is linked with the changes in economic life of the man. In the following discussion the evolution of commerce has been studied in relation to the changes in economic situation.

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The Hunting Stage:


This was the first stage in the evolution of man. The needs of the man were limited only to food, clothing and shelter. he depended upon nature for food. The animal flesh, fish, fruits, roots, berries were his main sources of food. His main activity was hunting and fishing. Man made his weapons from stones and sticks and these were used for hunting and self-protection. The skin of animals was used as clothes. For shelter, man used to live in caves. The life in this age was nomadic. People used to live in groups to protect themselves from animals. They moved from place to place in search of animals, etc. There was no division of labour and food articles collected by men were shared by all. This was an economy of self-reliance and no dependence on others. There was no question of exchange of goods so commerce was non-existent in this stage.

The Pastoral Stage:

This is the second stage in the economic evolution of man. The uncertainty in depending upon hunting, man started rearing animals. The reared animals were used for food and their skin was used as clothes. The animals needed grass and water. man started settling at places where grass and water were available in abundance. The animals such as goats and sheep were used for getting milk also. Man started having interest in his animals, this also meant creation of new wealth. man moved in tribes in search of new pastures, lakes and rivers where he used to settle so long his requirements of water and grass were met.

There was no division of labour and people used to depend upon their own means of livelihood. There was hardly any exchange of goods among people. In the absence of exchange there was no commerce at this stage too.


The Agricultural Stage:

In the early part of this stage people used to live in tribes. They started settling down at places where water was available. In the meantime people started sowing seeds and rearing cattle on the land which they shared in common. All production was for the use of whole tribe and they were self-sufficient in meeting their requirement. There was a shift from hunting to agriculture. There was no division of labour except between the man and the women. The rise in private ownership led to the split of tribes into separate families. The father in each family owned land and cattle and other members used to help him in day to day activities. The women looked after the house and children and men remained busy in earning their livelihood. The economy of the household remained self-sufficient. All requirement of the family were met through its own sources.

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