Self-sufficiency vs. Interdependence
In its extreme form, the redistributive model is a model of autarchy: everything necessary is to be found inside the oikos, be it the household or the state. If nevertheless certain products have to be obtained from the outside, two means are employed by the central state to overcome the ideological difficulty that this produces. First, the foreign goods are dismissed as coarse ‘raw materials’ that have no significance until processed and utilized by the only civilized country. Secondly, acquisition of the foreign goods is cited as evidence of central control of the entire world; thus self-sufficiency is extended rather than renounced.
As for the practice of exchanging goods, this contrasts with the autarchy model so sharply as to be noticed by the parties concerned, especially when the strength of the desire for interaction and pride in self-sufficiency vary between them. To the Egyptian king, who presumably claimed to need nothing, the Babylonian king replies:
As I am told that in my brother's country there is everything and my brother is in need of nothing, so also in my country there is everything and I too am in need of nothing. But it is a good thing received from olden times, from the previous kings, to send gifts to each other. Let this habit remain established between us! 1
It may be observed that Egypt, having at its disposal not only its own resources but also the exotic products of Nubia and Syria-Palestine, really was self-sufficient. As a result, Pharaoh has little interest in exchange with the Asiatic kings, and negotiates with an evident lack of interest and even annoyance. By contrast, the Asiatic kings are dependent on Egypt for gold, as well as for ivory, ebony, incense and all of the other products of Africa. In consequence, they reveal a much greater interest in the exchange