Initially the Aztecs did farming for a living. There is no doubt that the Aztecs had a very developed economic system. Their economy advanced because they built irrigation canals and terraces in the mountains for maximum crop growing.
The Aztec used barter for trading due to the lack of a concept of the monetary system. However, this later developed into a stable monetary system. Although for a long time they had no money , they used salt, cocoa beans or cloth as currency. The idea of a monetary system was very well established and they were far advanced than other civilizations in their time when it came to transactions. Later they began trading using gold coins and copper knives. From this follows our modern currency.
The Aztecs were responsible for developing a formal government with the emperor at the head of the civilization. This allowed the distribution of the civilization into twenty clans as well as other government officials such as merchants, priests and nobles who were responsible for running the society in an orderly manner. They were also responsible for collecting tribute from neighbouring provinces which clearly helped the economy of Aztec.
The merchants although ranked below the nobles in terms of social class, were an important part of the Aztec society. They were largely responsible for creating the market economy in the society by their trade activities, whereby they traveled far and wide in order to make money on traded goods. They often lived separately from the civilization and enjoyed special privileges. They formed their own guilds which are mainly precursors to today's trade organizations and unions and laid the concept of trading rules and regulations carried out through these guilds. Hence, they laid the foundations of organized trade and therefore a market economy. (Smith and Masson; 2000)
Trade Market Laws
The Aztecs ensured fair trade through laws. The markets were patrolled by officers who ensured that there was no cheating and that the buyers were getting a fair deal. The organization was crucial because the markets were very large in number.
The civilization is not just a case of the past, to be forgotten and erased from our minds. The civilization is to be taken lessons from because the Aztecs were what shape the modern Mexican culture today and many aspects of modern Mexico can be traced directly from the Aztec empire. A question remains unanswered however. We have yet to understand the extent to which trade would have been possible today had the proper market economy in the Aztec civilization been not established
Smith.M and M.Masson (2000). The Ancient Civilizations of Mesoamerica: A Reader
Fagan.B.(1996).The Oxford Companion to Archaeology. Oxford University