The deep roots of inequality
Source: MIT News by Peter Dizikes, MIT News Office
MIT economics student’s study of Peru shows how practices from hundreds of years ago can influence prosperity today. ‘Pathbreaking,’ says a Harvard economist.
Mita (Quechua: mit'a) was mandatory public service in the society of the Inca Empire. It was effectively a form of tribute to the Inca government, in the form of labor, i.e. a corvée. In the Inca Empire, public service was required in community-driven projects such as the building of their extensive road network; military service was also mandatory, and all citizens who could perform labor were required to do so for a set number a days out of a year (the basic meaning of the word mit'a is a regular turn or a season). Incas who were lazy were hung, stoned, or pushed off of a cliff. Due to the Inca Empire's wealth, a family would often only require sixty-five days to farm; the rest of the year was devoted entirely to the mita.
Satellite Map of southern Peru
Explore the interactive map of southern Peru through detailed Google satellite imagery. Click the yellow place mark to view details. To Pan: click and drag the map. Take advantage of the zoom bars.