Let's examine this thesis of yours with a few questions. When Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Carthaginians, etc. were sailing around the Mediterranean with cargoes of wine, olive oil, hides, leather, bronze and iron tools and weapons, what were they up to? Did someone from Tyre load up a ship with cedar and purple dye, sail across the Mediterranean and drop it off on the quay at Masilia? No money changed hands? He just did it out of the goodness of his heart--"Here ya go, enjoy!"?
Or was it that when Roman imperial authority collapsed in the west, everyone forgot about trade and shipping? The people in the eastern part of the empire, which survived, just forgot all about trade? No one remembered what commerce was all about? No one attempted to make a profit?
How did free men and women live if there were no labor market? Did they run down to the local manor house or castle and beg for their daily bread? Do you think about what you've written before you hit the submit button? Do you maybe need to buy a vowell?