I propose to make a few hazardous guesses on the idea of ‘money’ in the context of the Neolithic in the Kalimpong sub-division of the Darjeeling Hills of North Bengal. The Neolithic is certainly not the Age in which one can conceive of coinage as circulation money between market and people, or even people to people. The Ancient Athenians dictum of “money makes man” would by no means hold ground in the Neolithic stage of culture anywhere in human civilisations. The Neolithic money economy, if we can use the term, is based largely on barter system, thereby exchange for goods and commodities make up the economy of the culture in question. It has long been argued that Neolithic is self-sufficient village economy. But, more importantly, it has also been seen as a time of “escape from the impasse of savagery” to bring out “an economic and scientific revolution that made the participants active partners with nature instead of parasites on nature” (Gordon Childe 1942: 48. What Happened in History. Penguin Books). Nevertheless, Marshall Sahlins’(1963 Poor man, rich man, big-man, chief: Political types in Melanesia and Polynesia. Comparative Studies in Society and History. 5(No. 3): 285-303) claim of “Big Man” status to leaders in egalitarian society, the Neolithic did remain a decentralized and non-stratified socio-political structure.
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