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Mesolithic (Epipaleolithic) - was a period in the development of human technology between the Palaeolithic and Neolithic periods.
Neolithic - a period of primitive technological and social development, beginning about 10,200 BC in parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world.
Chalcolithic (or "Eneolithic", "Copper Age") - this period was still largely Neolithic in character, where early copper metallurgy appeared alongside the use of stone tools.
Bronze Age - is not part of prehistory for all regions and civilizations who had adopted or developed a writing system.
Iron Age - is not part of prehistory for all civilizations who had introduced written records during the Bronze Age.
Protohistory - Period between prehistory and history, during which a culture or civilization has not yet developed writing but other cultures have already noted its existence in their own writings; the absolute time scale of "protohistory" varies widely depending on the region, from the late 4th millennium BCE in the Ancient Near East to the present in the case of uncontacted peoples.
Ancient History - Aggregate of past events from the beginning of recorded human history and extending as far as the Early Middle Ages or the Postclassical Era. The span of recorded history is roughly less than five thousand years, beginning with the earliest linguistic records in the third millennium BC in Mesopotamia and Egypt.
Classical Antiquity - Broad term for a long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, collectively known as the Greco-Roman world. It is the period in which Greek and Roman society flourished and wielded great influence throughout Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.
Contemporary History - History within living memory. It shifts forward with the generations, and today is the span of historic events from approximately 1945 that are immediately relevant to the present time. For example, the Post-Modern movement (Soviet Union and United States, 1973-present)
Nation-state: nations are formed from the remnants of the fallen empires. Sometimes, they rebuild themselves into empires once more; this was the case with England's transition from a province to an empire.
Capitalism may be considered The Fourth Stage in the sequence. Marx pays special attention to this stage in human development. The bulk of his work is devoted to analysing the mechanisms of capitalism, which in western society classically arose "red in tooth and claw" from feudal society in a revolutionary movement. In capitalism, the profit motive rules and people, freed from serfdom, work for the capitalists for wages. The capitalist class are free to spread their laissez faire practices around the world. In the capitalist-controlled parliament, laws are made to protect wealth.
Capitalism appears after the bourgeois revolution when the capitalists (or their merchant predecessors) overthrow the feudal system, and it is categorized by the following:
Market Economy: In capitalism, the entire economy is guided by market forces. Supporters of laissez-faire economics argue that there should be little or no intervention from the government under capitalism. Marxists, however, such as Lenin in his Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, argue that the capitalist government is a powerful instrument for the furtherance of capitalism and the capitalist nation-state, particularly in the conquest of markets abroad.
Private Property: The means of production are no longer in the hands of the monarchy and its nobles, but rather they are controlled by the capitalists. The capitalists control the means of production through commercial enterprises (such as corporations) which aim to maximise profit.
Parliamentary Democracy: The capitalists tend to govern through an elected centralised parliament or congress, rather than under an autocracy. Capitalist (bourgeois) democracy, although it may be extended to the whole population, does not necessarily lead to universal suffrage. Historically it has excluded (by force, segregation, legislation or other means) sections of the population such as women, slaves, ex-slaves, people of colour or those on low income. The government acts on behalf of, and is controlled by, the capitalists through various methods.
Wages: In capitalism, workers are rewarded according to their contract with their employer. Power elites propagate the illusion that market forces mean wages converge to an equilibrium at which workers are paid for precisely the value of their services. In reality workers are paid less than the value of their productivity -- the difference forming profit for the employer. In this sense all paid employment is exploitation and the worker is "alienated" from their work. Insofar as the profit-motive drives the market, it is impossible for workers to be paid for the full value of their labour, as all employers will act in the same manner.
Imperialism: Wealthy countries seek to dominate poorer countries in order to gain access to raw materials and to provide captive markets for finished products. This is done directly through war, the threat of war, or the export of capital. The capitalist's control over the state can play an essential part in the development of capitalism, to the extent the state directs warfare and other foreign intervention.
Financial Institutions:Banks and capital markets such as stock exchanges direct unused capital to where it is needed. They reduce barriers to entry in all markets, especially to the poor; it is in this way that banks dramatically improve class mobility.
Monopolistic Tendencies: The natural, unrestrained market forces will create monopolies from the most successful commercial entities.
But according to Marx, capitalism, like slave society and feudalism, also has critical failings -- inner contradictions which will lead to its downfall. The working class, to which the capitalist class gave birth in order to produce commodities and profits, is the "grave digger" of capitalism. The worker is not paid the full value of what he or she produces. The rest is surplus value -- the capitalist's profit, which Marx calls the "unpaid labour of the working class." The capitalists are forced by competition to attempt to drive down the wages of the working class to increase their profits, and this creates conflict between the classes, and gives rise to the development of class consciousness in the working class. The working class, through trade union and other struggles, becomes conscious of itself as an exploited class. In the view of classical Marxism, the struggles of the working class against the attacks of the capitalist class will eventually lead the working class to establish its own collective control over production
After the working class gains class consciousness and mounts a revolution against the capitalists, socialism, which may be considered The Fifth Stage, will be attained, if the workers are successful. Marxist Socialism may be characterised as follows:
Common Property: the means of production are taken from the hands of a few capitalists and put in the hands of the workers. This translates into the democratic communes controlling the means of production.
Council Democracy: Marx, basing himself on a thorough study of Paris Commune, believed that the workers would govern themselves through system of communes. He called this the dictatorship of the proletariat, which, overthrowing the dictatorship (governance) of capital, would democratically plan production and the resources of the planet.
Marx explained that, since socialism, the first stage of communism, would be "in every respect, economically, morally, and intellectually, still stamped with the birthmarks of the old society from whose womb it emerges", each worker would naturally expect to be awarded according to the amount of labor he contributes, despite the fact that each worker's ability and family circumstances would differ, so that the results would still be unequal at this stage, although fully supported by social provision.
The second and third timelines are each subsections of their preceding timeline as indicated by asterisks. The Cenozoic is sometimes divided into the Quaternary and Tertiary periods, although the latter is no longer used officially.
^Gewirth, Alan (1998). The Community of Rights (2 ed.). University of Chicago Press. p. 168. ISBN9780226288819. Retrieved . Marxists sometimes distinguish between 'personal property' and 'private property,' the former consisting in consumer goods directly used by the owner, while the latter is private ownership of the major means of production.