Basic Occupations of Man as Landmarks in Human Development


There are three important stages in the occupational development of human civilization:

(i) Primary occupation, such as food gathering, hunting, fishing and agricul­ture.

(ii) Secondary occupation, such as cotton textile, sugar industry. These trans­form primary goods into goods more directly useful to man.


(iii) Tertiary occupation, include a wide range of services provided to the community for its welfare, e.g., education, health, trade, transport, bank­ing, etc.

The basic occupations of man are landmarks in human development and one stage led to the other.

(a) Food

Food gathering hunting and fishing in the early stage primitive man collected food, hunted animals and fished with the help of simple imple­ments such as bows and arrows, spears, etc.


(b) Animal Rearing:

Man learnt to rear cattle which provided him milk, meat, hides, skin, etc. It is still practiced by primitive tribes who are nomadic. Later nomadic herding led to commercial herding – rearing animals on a large scale to export the processed animal products.

(c) Agriculture

The next stage of development in human civilization was agriculture. Man learnt to cultivate crops in the course of his wanderings. He practiced shifting agriculture, then sedentary agriculture so that he could protect his crops. Agricultural tools improved, dependence on rains reduced due to irrigation (well, canals, tanks). Agriculture progressed with the development of good seeds, fertilisers, etc. Now farming practices include sedentary agriculture, intensive and extensive farming, commer­cial farming and plantation agriculture.


The surplus of the food crop was bartered, leading to the growth of trade within the country and later to international trade. Each step signifies progress of man.

With permanent settlement, demand for timber increased for construc­tional purposes, wood, pulp, newsprint, rayon, etc. Now lumbering, carried out on modern lines.

(d) Mining

Mining is an important activity where minerals are extracted from the ground. Metals were used for tools and implements. With advancement in technology the minerals came to be used for tools, implements, and ma­chinery for industries after the Industrial Revolution.

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