The understanding of child sacrifice requires the broader understanding of the history, context of and rationale for the concept of sacrifice in all its forms including human sacrifice. Historically, sacrifices were made to atone for sins or wrong-doing and to ask for blessings. The forgiveness was for or blessings included but were not limited to material wealth (particularly land, domestic animals and other tangible possessions), children, health, and prosperity. In spite of the variations in understanding sacrifice, common to all is the underlying guiding principle of the value for value. It means the higher the value of the blessings to be sought or wrongs to be atoned, the higher the value of the sacrificial item. Overtime, this principle has been expressed in varied forms including human sacrifice, in general, and child sacrifice, in particular. These practices are closely associated with dominant cultural value systems that people hold in relation to what is important in life and how to get it. Despite economic progress of economies characterised by sophisticated wealth computations, predictions and protection through insurance, sacrifices remain part of the social fabric for solicitation, utilisation, maintenance and protection of wealth. This chapter, therefore, broadly analyses and explains the role of economic structures and institutions on society and the influence of society on the nature of economic structures and institutions. Though there is no established scientific basis for a correlation between human sacrifice and wealth acquisition, the sacrificial items are goods of high economic value and they bring economic returns to those involved in their exchange. It is important to explain how economic wealth creates and is further re-created by sacrifices, particularly, human sacrifice. Human sacrifice is strongly dominated by child sacrifices which are believed to be without blemish and of higher atoning value. Any attempt to destroy the practice of human and child sacrifice for wealth acquisition must first destroy the dominant cultural mentalities or values systems on which they are based.
International Letters of Social and Humanistic Sciences (Volume 41)
P. R. Atekyereza et al., "The Economic Aspects of Human and Child Sacrifice", International Letters of Social and Humanistic Sciences, Vol. 41, pp. 53-65, 2014