About 10,000 years ago, man invented agriculture. Grain provided a form of food that could be stored for long periods without spoiling, thus setting Neolithic man free from the incessant need to follow game and scrounge for edible plants. This allowed formerly nomadic man to settle in one place, and the security provided by this arrangement expanded human aspirations from day-to-day survival to an appreciation for comfort and leisure. Furthermore, with the extra time afforded by not having to follow herds of wooly mammoths across trackless landscapes, early man used his survival-developed intellect to invent and develop pottery and chipped stone tools and weapons.
This development in human evolution introduced the concept of wealth, and the idea of wealth inevitably involved the idea of individual wealth. If I claim a piece of land and I plant, tend, and harvest rice on that land, it's my rice. If I gather clay and mold and fire a cooking pot, it's my cooking pot. It does not belong to the communal tribe! Furthermore, the development of primitive manufacturing implemented something that further eroded the socialistic structure of the Paleolithic tribe - a division of labor. The person who was particularly good at throwing and firing clay pots or at chipping stone spearheads could trade their skills for grain and for other products increasingly available in a budding industrial society.
The downside of wealth was that it was accumulable. Some people, through exceptional skill, could amass more wealth then others, leading to the human inventions of envy, greed, robbery, theft, and war. These developments led to further divisions of labor into farmer (serf), wealth manufacturer (craftsman), wealth distributor (tradesman), wealth accumulator (lord), and wealth protector (knight). This situation pertained for the next 10,000 years, and the primitive institutions of socialism were essentially forgotten.
Then, roughly 250 years ago, humans invented a method of accelerated wealth production using machines to replace people. The results were astounding. Wealth was lavished on the common man. No longer could only the ruling classes afford fine clothing; the power loom and then the sewing machine provided clothes of an even higher quality than ever before and at a price that everyone could afford. Products that had never even been possible before, like plastics and automobiles and computers and millions of miles of steel rails were invented and made cheaply available to the poorest man through the magic cycle of investment, mass production, profit, and investment known as capitalism.
The industrial revolution created a new accumulator of wealth, the entrepreneur (capitalist), and in accordance with Newton's Second Law, almost immediately spawned the reactionary anti-industrialist (anti-capitalist). From the Luddites and Malthusians to Michael Moore and Al Gore, industrial society has been continually plagued by misfit malcontents who preach that the production of untold wealth is evil.
(To be continued)