Think about a simple agrarian economy, with only very basic technology. Individuals grow crops and trade them, bartering for other things they need.
t’s a bit early for lists of the best things of 2018, but my favourite book was “Our Towns” by Jim and Deb Fellows, based on their 100,000 mile trip round smaller US cities and the city led renewal and community action that is thriving. I recommend it. It’s hard to see from this side of the pond, but the party divisions which are paralysing Washington are much less of an issue locally. Whilst national politics are totally dysfunctional, cities and towns are just getting on with what they need to do.