B. What distinguishes American and African political-economic systems from their counterparts in Eurasia?
Perhaps the most fundamental difference is an ecological one – the lack of horses, camels, and the wheel. These attributes certainly created political-economic dynamics in Eurasia that led to more universal systems of religion and justice by the Common Era. Whereas trade Diasporas across Eurasia and Africa had the religious bond of Judaism, Christianity, or Islam, diasporas in the Americas were more politically than religiously connected. The systems, therefore, were more hierarchic and centralized in the Americas.
Africa, on the other hand was connected to the economies of the Romans and the Arabs in the North (Ghana, Mali, and Songhay) and in the East (the Swahili coast). But in Sub-Saharan Africa, a very different ecology which included the tsetse fly limited the development of largescale agriculture and kept political and economic systems largely decentralized.
1) Incan (use of quipu, or accounting system using strings and knots) system up and down the altitude of the Andes mountains along the coast of South America. Some of the earliest evidence of urban civilization in America is found in South America. Check out the book 1491. What is at issue in the South American economy to world historians and others is the social nature of the economy and the role of government and religion.
2) In the Mayan economy (and the Aztec economy that followed it) is the role of the trader community, or pochteca, the extent of their Diaspora within the Aztec empire.
3) The African economy, centered in the West (Ghana, Mali, Songhay) and the East (Axum, Manda, Kilwa). Mansa Musa's journey to Mecca is still remembered today. The shift from Axum to Manda and Kilwa reflects the shifting trade routes after the fall of the Roman Empire. The Swahili language reflects Arabic, African, and Hindi vocabulary. The tsetse fly continued to inhibit development of large-scale empires in sub-Saharan Africa except Great Zimbabwe in the southeast along the Zambezi River.