Since ancient times, reliance on trade has shaped the culture and organizational structure of Middle Eastern societies. A. Persian and Arabian merchants traveled great distances to sell their finished goods at the marketplaces of ancient Sumeria. B. Revenue from trade was unevenly distributed, causing Middle Eastern societies to be characterized by growing distinctions in wealth and power. C. Qualities that were valued in the mercantile economy included individualism, hard work, loyalty, and the willingness to take risks. D. As production increased, centralized control over production also increased, leading in turn to more-centralized control over fellowship and worship. E. Crafts were produced by skilled artisans working in close, egalitarian relationships with their masters and other fellow guild members. F. The stability of Middle Eastern governments was threatened by their lack of control over international trade patterns and over their own peripheral territories.