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lexico
30-09-05, 13:38
(that has some historical backing if that's possible to find) ?

1. prostitution/sex/whoring
2. gambling
3. alcohol/substance
4. property management/government taxation
5. armory/war/looting/gang fights
6. law
7. religious institutions
8. charity/gift
9. farming/herding/ranching/livestock
10. fishery/hunting
11. mining
12. tool manufacturing
13. textile/apparel/fashion/cosmetics
14. commerce/trade/bartering
15. construction/civil engineering
16. tourism/lodging/catering
17. combustibles including firewood, coal, and naphtha
18. book keeping/scribing/printing/broadcast/mail/spying
19. medicine/healthcare
20. education/sciences/arts/entertainment

Wiki: Business (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business)
Wiki: Profession (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Profession)

Tsuyoiko
30-09-05, 15:25
I read a while ago that archaeologists had found a ceramics factory, I think it was in Scotland, that was 25,000 years old. They mass-produced goddess figurines. I can't remember the details though.

Mycernius
30-09-05, 17:13
A couple of them, I would say, we have been doing for millions of years, as it is part of our nature. these are points:
5.armory/war/looting/gang fights. Our closest relatives, chimps, fight, loot and wage active destruction of rivals. Our ancestors were probably very much the same.
10. fishery/hunting. Again this is something that all animals do. Whether the PC brigade like it or not, we are hunters. Being an omnivorous, humans will eat virtually anything that swims or crawls (All fresh water fish are edible to humans). So we have been hunting and fishing since we came down from the trees

12. tool manufacturing. There has been evidence found that Homo erectus was making and manufacturing tools, from flint and stone, some 2 million years ago.

Maciamo
30-09-05, 17:20
I would say trade of one sort, as before the rise of civilisations and before the invention of currency, people exchanged goods for other goods. These could be stone or wooden tools, food or animal skin for clothing. I can't think of an oldest business, except if one consider that prostitution was paid for in exchange for protection (but in that case, many mamals other than humans also do "business" then).

duff_o_josh
30-09-05, 17:54
i choose prostitution, because sex came before all these other things.

Mars Man
30-09-05, 18:06
Number ten would surely have to be the oldest--we had to survive. And then I would think that number 5 came right on the heels of that. And very soon afterwards number 1 and number 7. There was likely a forum like this one of some sorts somewhere too, right?

Actually, that 'oldest' seems hard to pindown, and from what point in coming along that long and winding road to homo saipens as we are today. :cool:

nestowa
30-09-05, 20:18
Wouldn't it be 12? Tool manufacturing? They manufactured tools as far back as >500,000 years ago right? Granted it was pebble tools, but still tools

Horizon
30-09-05, 23:52
By using logical thinking here:

9. farming/herding/ranching/livestock


After all, in order to do these things successfully, one would need to settle down in one area first and, since there's safety in numbers and the fact that we're social animals, one wouldn't be alone and, thusly, a community and civilization would begin to form and, with it, business (possibly from people seeing what others had and wanting to "trade" with them?).

And then possibly this one being close behind:

10. fishery/hunting, as well as the tool manufacturing probably being close behind as well.



Wouldn't it be 12? Tool manufacturing? They manufactured tools as far back as >500,000 years ago right? Granted it was pebble tools, but still tools

They did CREATE them. However, I doubt if they sold them, which I'm assuming is what business it all about. Back then, I'm pretty sure people lived in family groups too and, well...Would you sell things that are essential to your family's survival to your family?

nice gaijin
01-10-05, 00:58
i suppose it depends on how you define "business"...

In an oral/tribal culture, the identity of the one is the identity of the whole; the community works together for the benefit of the entire group. I daresay that the concept of business, and likewise the semi-capitalistic concept of established barter or exchange for goods and services merely for one's own benefit did not systematically occur until larger cultures with more specialized individuals.

If you are talking about the first thing that someone traded for something else, I'd say it goes back several tens of thousands of years, if not more. If you are talking about an established business for profit, I'd say it's much more recent. I couldn't tell you what the first established business was.

Maciamo
01-10-05, 02:19
i choose prostitution, because sex came before all these other things.

But did it come as a business, or just as way of reproducing or a sign of love and affection ? It cannot be a business unless you pay for it. If the man pays for it with food and protection, then we could argue that traditional marriages are also a form of prostitution.

lexico
01-10-05, 02:29
Great answers, all of you., and thanks for bringing in the historical definition of business, nice gaijin, which must have been a product of our modern way of thinking. I genuinely believe each view (or subview) deserve its own, serious study, and I predict it will highlight one major aspect of human history otherwise not so obvious. I also think a bit of confession is in order, as the question was worded quite weak in detail, with close to no context, not that it matters greatly.

I picked up a copy of Newsweek Korean edition, Sept 21-28 combined, which had a box called "Tip of the Week: We all know what the oldest profession is, but what is the oldest continuously operated business entity ?" Although the usual zeenie, smug bits were there, sa. the Swedish paper producer Stora est. 1288, Wiki: Stora Enso (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stora_Enso),

and the Japanese construction firm 株式会社 金剛組, est. 578 Kongo gumi (http://www.kongogumi.co.jp/home.htm)
(1955 with current name, Wiki: Kong Gumi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kongo_Gumi), Times Asia, February 16, 2004 (http://www.time.com/time/asia/covers/501040223/oldest.html), The Economist, Dec 16th 2004 (http://athleta.myscan.org/ear/moin.cgi/Economist_2f1224_2fThe_20world_27s_20oldest_20comp anies), and more (http://www.google.com/search?num=30&hl=en&lr=&safe=off&q=%2Bkongo+%2Bgumi&btnG=Search)),

I also wondered what the answers might be if the question asked "the oldest type of business" or "the oldest business entity that ever existed." Not wanting to limit the possibilities, I left the wording not too restrictive. I genuinely appreciate the wonderful responses you have been giving.

I also tried googling for "oldest business in the world" and got 1,040 hits: a quick breakdown for subsequent searches within gave the following result.
prostitution: 393
adult: 115
"politically correct" 72
sex 62
whoring 14
-----------
subtotal: 657/1,040 = approx. 63%

Religion 76, (religion 64, Vatican 12), trade and commerce 107 (trade 36, sales 27, commerce 21, barter 20, retailing 3), government 22, gun 8, spying 5, lodging 4, farming 4, food 4, fashion 3, cooking 2, construction 1, mining 1, fishing 1, and the rest were mostly circumlocutions for basically postitution. The figures do not reflect historical reality although they do reflect what people think whether seriously or just for amusement's sake. Let's keep digging, folks !

Maciamo
01-10-05, 02:53
If we look at prehistoric societies, the first business were exchange of food (doesn't matter if it came from fishing, hunting, gathering or herding, although farming came later) and maybe also tools and clothing. So trade and commerce was first. Prostitution came after that, as the concept of exchangeable goods and "value" had to precede it. Then came construction, which requires non-nomadic (probably farming) societies with some kind of specialisation of tasks, otherwise everyone built their own house and it does not constitute a "business". After that came religion, which requires some kind of organised and political society. But by that time, many jobs already existed to support that organised society : politicians/rulers, soldiers, farmers, artisans, builders, etc. So it becomes difficult to determine which preceded which (it may also depend on the region of the world).

Sensuikan San
01-10-05, 04:45
... Damned good question ...!

I think it might well have depended on where you lived ... ! (Even some caves had better locations than others ...!)

In resource poor areas (the world was different in prehistoric times, I dunno where they would have been) then almost obviously the provision of food and/or tools may have been of some priority. Just as today.

On the other hand, in resource rich areas ... bring on the dancing girls! ... just as today!

I don't think things have changed since antiquity ... what's important to you will have a priority. In different areas of the world, the priorities would have been different.

It is quite possible that the whole concept of an "oldest profession" is something of a "crap-shoot".

... but personally, I would nominate "theft"!

(....Where did my beef-bone go ......?)

ジョン

Dutch Baka
01-10-05, 11:55
how about carpenter/builder? Jezus was one, and they built things before they trade stuff i think?

Void
01-10-05, 16:35
if to think about business as about smth done for profit of any sort, then number 20 can get high scores as well.
Elder folks in a tribe who hade some experiece and knowledge "traded " it for personal well-being. They taught the rest of the family (tribe, maybe, neighbours) what and how things should be done, and recieved care and food in exchange

Maciamo
02-10-05, 04:08
how about carpenter/builder? Jezus was one, and they built things before they trade stuff i think?

Have you read other replies before posting that ? :relief: Jesus appeared about 5000 years after the dawn of civilisations, and we are talking about what could have been the first business before that (in the neolithic period for instance, when people didn't build houses as they were still mostly nomadic).

Dutch Baka
02-10-05, 10:34
Have you read other replies before posting that ? :relief: Jesus appeared about 5000 years after the dawn of civilisations, and we are talking about what could have been the first business before that (in the neolithic period for instance, when people didn't build houses as they were still mostly nomadic).


my excuse i didnt read well... :?

Zauriel
12-10-05, 21:50
The oldest business would be hunting/gathering. I recall hunting predates farming/agriculture since the earliest human beings were hunters and gatherers.

Frank D. White
12-10-05, 22:11
I pick caregiver/nurse ! I bet even the monkey(before man arrived) was kissing boo-boo's and making the hurt go away.

Frank

:blush:

miu
13-10-05, 23:16
I'd vote for marriage... :58:

Pararousia
24-10-05, 22:13
I'll go with farming/hunting for a 1000, Alex. People gotta eat.

Duo
24-10-05, 23:51
I would say politics ;).... even animal have politics within their societies

den4
02-11-05, 20:03
I would say the ones that took care of the dead, whether they be priests or shamans or whatever. Might not be considered as a business as such, but I'm sure they were given offerings or "donations" even back in whatever age such rituals or policies were made...but since it wasn't a choice, I'm just adding my two yen's worth...

not that I know anything, mind you :D

lexico
02-11-05, 20:26
I would say the ones that took care of the dead, whether they be priests or shamans or whatever. Might not be considered as a business as such, but I'm sure they were given offerings or "donations" even back in whatever age such rituals or policies were made...but since it wasn't a choice, I'm just adding my two yen's worth...

not that I know anything, mind you :DI know that by now; you said it enough times. Does that count as knowledge ? Why do I get the impression that you seem to say say knowledge is unsirable, den4-sama ? Well here's the trivia. Trivia no. 1: What is the oldest word in use of the three ?

1) undertaker
2) mortician
3) barber

Trivia 2: What was the title of the movie where the two lovers have an orgie after drinking bottles of perfume ?

1) The Undertaker's Wife
2) The Mortician's Wife
3) The Hairdresser's Wife

den4
03-11-05, 04:15
the only Morticia I know is the wife of Gomez taken from a guy named Addams....haven't seen any strange Euro movie about perfume drinking however :o

doesn't answer the question, but den4 is not in a settled mental state at this moment...if den4 ever was :?

thesarasmile
21-08-09, 01:41
I read recently that the oldest know manufacturing business was in a site in Romania ( i think). They produced fertility goddess figures that were then ritualistically destroyed. I believe the site was dated to 10000 BC! I will try to confirm the facts and update this post.

Maciamo
21-08-09, 10:22
I read recently that the oldest know manufacturing business was in a site in Romania ( i think). They produced fertility goddess figures that were then ritualistically destroyed. I believe the site was dated to 10000 BC! I will try to confirm the facts and update this post.

Stone tools and weapons have been known to be mass manufactured in Africa well over 100,000 years ago.

Cambrius (The Red)
22-08-09, 19:03
I would bet that the first commercial business was indeed established in Africa.