Historical Materialism and the Inevitable End of Capitalism

Unlike idealist schools of history, the historical materialism of Marx and Engels sees both the origins of human life and the succession of economic and political forms that have marked the course of human history as rooted in the origins and transformations of human material production.

Unlike other animals, who are collectors of their means of subsistence, humans are producers who make and use tools to modify raw materials provided by nature.  Our ape ancestors over millions of years of both biological and social evolution were gradually humanized as they shifted from merely collecting foodstuffs and began to modify foodstuffs and other raw materials with the aid of tools.

Over the last ten thousand years, human society has evolved from classless primary communism—called hunting and gathering societies by academic anthropologists—to various forms of society divided into ruling non-working classes and direct producers who work for and are exploited by the ruling classes.

The successive ruling classes of history have ruled through a special organization called the state. According to historical materialism, the transition from classless and stateless primary communism to the various early forms of class rule through state organizations took place because of the development of new forces of production—particularly the development of animal husbandry and agriculture—that were no longer compatible with the traditional classless clan-tribal mode of social and economic organization.

In turn, the early class societies themselves were transformed as the instruments of production grew in power. Eventually, the forces of production grew to a point that they required the capitalist mode of production with its world market, free competition and wage labor. Unlike the earlier forms of class rule, capitalist society by its very nature is not local but engulfs the entire globe. It destroys any other form of human society that stands in its way.

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