Land, labor, and capital are the essential components of a market system (Heilbroner 33). Due to the fact that these major components were nonexistent, the market system at one time did not exist. The catalyst for the market system was the idea of gain, which is a relatively modern idea (H 24). There were many factors of society that prevented the market system and the idea of gain from entering. Tradition (rooted in religion) was the main factor that prolonged the nonexistence of the market system. Judging by today’s times, the survival of mankind has a direct relationship with the market system.
Tradition did not view labor as a way to directly get money. A person’s job was his way of life. This was determined by caste or following what the parents were. Tradition did not view land as freely salable and rent-producing (H 28). Land was the core of social life and provided the basis for prestige and status (H28). Competitiveness was not acceptable in tradition. Many guilds were established in order to give an equal opportunity to everyone. When new and efficient techniques were discovered by a group of individuals in the same trade, the guild would outlaw those techniques in order to avoid such a concentration of wealth and ‘unfairness’ (H 29). Providing equal opportunities for all was tradition, not the idea of gain. The idea of gain was, in the eyes of religion, not an acceptable feeling and was related to being greedy. This is due to the fact that one person’s gain is due to someone’s loss.
The transition from tradition to modern system was not easy. Views and willingness to adapt to change were necessary elements for the transition. The world had gotten along for centuries in the comfortable rut of tradition and command; to abandon this security for the perplex workings of the market system, nothing short of a revolution was required (H 21). The market system is a basic foundation of the United States. The existence of society depends on it (H 19). Every occupation may not be glamorous, but it is important to society. Farmers are needed and if there are no farmers, we would not exist. As harsh as it sounds, society would not survive if there were not any poor people. This is due to the fact that only poor people will dutifully execute a ‘dirty’ minimum-wage job (H 40). Those little jobs are the engines behind the rich and society in general. Tradition and fairness no longer play a role in the market system, but personal gain and self-centeredness does.