The first cities started as entrepreneurial places where manufacturers and traders could show off innovative wares every day without having to wait for the occasional fair or festival.
And customers enjoyed the ability to show off their savoir-faire while engaging in a constant cycle of upgrading and discarding clothing, ornaments and home décor.
Their ability to pay was directly tied to the expansion of employment in cities, where big populations and economies of scale came with a need for middle managers in the palaces, factories and temples that kept the city humming.
In the ancient Mesopotamian city of Nippur, for example, written documents reveal a temple inventory of 350,000 sheep and goats. Keeping track of them would have rivaled any modern corporation’s organizational chart!