Cultural: As with the Nephites, this economic information must be carefully read. The first problem with the passage is the mention of money, which did not exist. The people of Akish desired wealth, and wealth was provided, just not on the form of money. That term is best seen as an artifact of Joseph’s translation.
In the Mesoamerican world, the riches of the world come both in trade and in the adoption of the worldly trappings of riches. The people desired these things, and Akish and his sons provided them. They provided them by doing “all manner of iniquity,” which usually means that they have turned from God and toward the pagan religions and cultures.
In this they exactly parallel the developmental pressures later seen among the Nephites. Their existence in the Mesoamerican cultural landscape led to the desire to emulate the other locations around them, and to accumulate and display wealth in similar ways.