Aztec Civilization Business Practices and essay

Download this essay in word format (.doc)

Note: Sample below may appear distorted but all corresponding word document files contain proper formatting

Excerpt from essay:

Also, these cotton capes were so valuable that a family or individual lucky enough to own twenty or more could support themselves for an entire year in the city of Tenochtitlan; these capes could also be used to barter for more expensive items like gold jewelry and necklaces made from jade (Van Tuerenhout, 184).

Out of all the goods that were available in the Aztec marketplaces, two were of primary importance for the people of the empire, being obsidian and ceramics. Because of its excellent cutting abilities and the large number of blades that could be fashioned from a single core, obsidian, also known as black volcanic glass, was one of the most valued and widely-traded goods in the Aztec Empire. Part of the explanation for this is that the Aztecs lacked metals like iron and had no knowledge pertaining to the smelting of iron ore. Although they did possess the ability to smelt copper ore and to make bronze, these metals did not hold a sharp edge and wore out rather quickly. But obsidian, with its extremely keen edge, was used for various purposes, such as for cutting cloth, wood and other naturally-occurring materials. Obsidian was also used for cutting food and meat and was often used in religious ceremonies involving the dismemberment of human sacrifices to the Aztec gods. As to ceramics, various household items like mixing bowls, plates and even eating utensils were made from the abundant supply of special types of clay found in almost all regions of the Aztec Empire. Almost all ceramic items, with the exception of those made in the home, were manufactured by highly-skilled pottery makers who often ran their businesses as a kind of store with their goods on display for all potential buyers (Van Tuerenhout, 217).

In 1987, Frederic Hicks published an extensive article related to evidence to support the application of an economic model to the Aztec civilization. Basically, Hicks argues that the Aztec economy just before the arrival of the Spanish conquerors was on the verge of a market-integrated system, similar in nature to many current national and international market economies. In this article, Hicks outlines four basic requirements needed to achieve such an economy.

First, the presence of full-time specialists who do not produce their own food, i.e., the pochteca; second, the presence of people who produce the basic necessities of life, i.e., the common merchants; third, a market economy which brings the specialists and the common merchants together, and fourth, the presence of a state to maintain order and to provide mechanisms for dispute resolution, i.e., the Aztec nobility and monarchy. Clearly, Hicks was on the right track, for the Aztecs did indeed possess all of these characteristics with the possible exception of some type of system which integrated all of the markets into a single entity (Van

Tuerenhout, 84).

In conclusion, the various economic systems and business practices related to the Aztec civilization seem to have all worked together "in a dynamic and complex economy that brought the Aztec Empire into a single economic, social and cultural unit" (Hassig, 234) despite the fact that the Aztecs were a somewhat primitive society as compared to what was occurring in Spain during the early years of the 16th century. From an economic standpoint, the growing population of the Aztecs made the increased production of food mandatory and the craftsmen who produced the goods and commodities for the marketplace required merchants like the pochteca to sell their goods, much like today's business owners who rely upon steady customers.

This market system, although primitive, was the primary link that allowed the various market sectors and regions to come together to create an extraordinarily dynamic economy. An added bonus was that this system made it possible for the average person/consumer to get ahead economically, perhaps an early example of entrepreneurship. Thus, as Francis Berdan sees it, the Aztec economy with its merchants and business people was highly commercialized and dynamic; however, it was not what we now call a capitalist economy, for there was no paid labor and land was not bought and sold as a commodity (256). In essence, the Aztecs, despite living and working in some of the harshest environments of Mesoamerica before and after the Spanish Conquest, managed to prosper under a system of fairness and equality based upon commonly-shared needs like food, clothing and various household goods even with the presence of a rigid system of hierarchical social classes.

Works Cited

Berdan, Francis. The Aztecs of Central Mexico: An Imperial Society. New York:

Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1982.

Hassig, Ross. Trade, Tribute and Transportation: The Sixteenth Century Political Economy of the Ancient Aztecs. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1993.

Hooker, Richard. "Civilizations in America: The Mexica Aztecs." 1996. Internet.

Retrieved October 5, 2008 at

Van Tuerenhout, Dirk R.…[continue]

Cite This Essay:

"Aztec Civilization Business Practices And" (2008, October 07) Retrieved December 10, 2016, from

"Aztec Civilization Business Practices And" 07 October 2008. Web.10 December. 2016. <>

"Aztec Civilization Business Practices And", 07 October 2008, Accessed.10 December. 2016,

Other Documents Pertaining To This Topic

  • Aztecs Civilizations of the Past

    The author points out that there were more commoners than nobles but the commoners were often at the mercy of nobles and were expected to serve them. Although this was the case, it was also true that commoners had a great deal of control over their lives and in most cases they had enough to meet their basic needs and the needs of their family. Religion One of the most interesting aspects

  • History 1500 Present World Civilization From

    The American Dream was repeatedly exposed as a lie by American dramatists, ranging from Eugene O'Neill to Edward Albee to Arthur Miller -- but the PR machine had already been established: Orwell's warning was not heeded -- and "ignorance" became "strength." Millions now enjoy economic, social, and cultural slavery -- and don't even know it -- because they all believe they are experiencing "life, liberty, and the pursuit of

  • Marketing Strategy Planning and Execution

    Problem Statement Monsanto continues to incrementally improve their level of authenticity and transparency with global consumers, yet trust will remain elusive for decades until their customers' success levels outweigh the social and ethical controversies the company has shown to be adept at creating for itself. Three Strategic Alternatives There are three strategic alternatives for the company to consider pursuing: 1. Completely re-order R&D to concentrate only on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and metrics of

  • New Spain Mexico the Culture of New

    New Spain, Mexico The Culture of New Spain: the Rise and Fall of Mexico The conquest of New Spain defined contemporary Mexican culture to a great degree. But that conquest has been ongoing and did not stop with the conquistadors and the implementation of Catholicism and Spanish customs in Mexico. From the time Columbus brought the Spanish flag to the West Indies (1492) to the 19th century, New Spain was informed by

  • Sustainable Agriculture There Are Many

    The second method forces agriculture to manage wastes and develop rural employment. ( Lichtfouse 1-10) All-in-all, there are numerous ways in which to make sustainable agriculture, from simple management adjustments to fundamental changes in the farming system. One course calls for the substitution of products used in agriculture. For instance, toxic chemicals and fertilizers could be substituted for less pollutant alternatives. Many persons suggest the use of Genetically Modified organisms

  • Olmec Although Scientists Found Artifacts and Art

    Olmec Although scientists found artifacts and art objects of the Olmecs; until this century they did not know about the existence of the Olmecs. Most of the objects which were made by this community were associated with other civilizations, such as Mayan, Toltec or Chichimecan. The Olmec lived between 1600 B.C. And 1400 B.C. In South Mexico. The name of this tribe comes from an Aztec word "ollin" which means

  • Guns Germs and Steel The

    Till the period up to 11,000 BC every individuals remained Stone Age hunters/gatherers. Nearly that time, the roads of growth of human societies on various continents started to move away in a large scale. (Guns, Germs, and Steel- the Fates of Human Societies: ( During that period, when Stone Age hunter-gatherers comprised the total human population, a big segregation happened in the proportion that the human societies progressed. In

Read Full Essay
Copyright 2016 . All Rights Reserved