It is hard to overemphasize how critically important exchange is in any economy, including that of primitive hunter-gatherer societies. Only hermits who voluntarily choose to live in extreme isolation don’t engage in exchange, and those who are marooned on deserted islands are forced to be self-sufficient.
For the rest of us, we rely on exchange for meeting practically all our needs. Just reflect on the fact that every one of us consumes a very tiny fraction, if anything at all, of what we actually produce. The factory worker produces cars but most of his consumption consists of non-cars; the doctor produces medical services but consumes very little of that; similarly the architect, the farmer, the green grocer, ad infinitum. Continue reading