Consumption and the progress of social civilization
Consumption creates consumption demand, the process of consumption based on relevant social productivity and production relations, production, economic foundation and superstructure as well, which makes human society constantly move towards civilization and gain progress.
The process of scientific research and production creates consumer goods, consumption patterns, and consumption levels. In the development process of creating production, consumption has also created commodity exchange consumption. In the process of driving commodity production and exchange, consumption has also created currency, a special commodity that dominates the whole consumption process of the production of capital commodity and commodity exchange.
Consumption creates the process of production consumption and the division of industries and the further division of production processes. During the production process, class, hierarchy and superstructure, which represent the economic foundation, gross productivity of the consumption society, and gross social production relations, are created.
However, the basic contradiction of any society is the contradiction between superstructure and economic foundation as well as that between productivity and production relations. Once superstructure suits the development of the economic foundation and production relations suits the development of the productivity of a consumption society, scientific research and production, social economy, and social civilization would develop rapidly.
If superstructure does not adapt itself to the development of the economic foundation and production relations does not suit the development of productivity, the development of productivity, the development of the economic foundation, and the development of social civilization all would be hindered. And if the development of productivity is seriously hindered, social change or even a drastic class struggle is sure to be triggered. However, class struggle and class revolution result from the serious lack of adaptation of production relations to the development of productivity and the serious lack of adaptation of the superstructure to the economic foundation. Change and revolution mean liberating productivity, developing the productivity of a consumption society, developing the economic foundation, and developing social civilization and progress. Therefore, consumption is the power source of social civilization and progress.
Chinese scientists have excavated many fossils of primates’ remaining bones and relics in our motherland, which indicates that the earliest primitives within China lived here more than one million years ago. Lantian Ape Men unearthed in Shanxi Province have a history of about 800,000 years or longer, while Peking Ape Men, unearthed in Zhoukoudian, Beijing, lived 400,000 to 500,000 years ago.
It is human instinct to demand consumption materials from nature and to create consumption materials. Peking Ape Men had more developed arms and legs, so they could work intelligently and create tools by their hands and the consumption materials from nature with these tools.
In the Stone Age Peking Ape Men used stone tools including stone axes, stone saws, and stone knives and took consumables from nature with these tools. In the time of Peking Ape Men, as consumption productivity improved, and laboring began to be divided by gender and age, human wisdom also developed. Due to the demand of the living consumption and production consumption of primitive people and the demands of human development, ancient people began to forbid direct intermarriage with relatives and began to marry people outside their immediate families. This kind of exogamy was the direct cause of the formation of clans. Consanguineous marriage was an important link in the transition from primitive clans to gentile community. From then on, the gentile community system with blood bonds began to develop. In different historic periods and under different social systems, the intimacy level and function of blood relationships vary. In primitive societies, blood relationships were fundamental, and the basis of social organization, playing a decisive role in social production and individual living. The confirmation of blood relationships facilitated the steady development of human society progress, the advancement of mankind, and the development of living consumption. Each leader, leading organization, or group in clan communities was responsible for distributing hunted consumption materials and protecting group safety.
Lewis Henry Morgan (1877) divides the creation of ancient social systems into seven phases:
1. Low obscuration society. This period began from the first period of mankind and ended when knowledge of fishing and using fire were obtained. During that time, mankind lived and consumed in their primitive and limited environment and fed mainly on fruits and nuts. Language with distinct syllables began in this phrase. No example of human tribes of this kind of social state has been found to date.
2. Intermediate obscuration society. This period began with the consumption of fish for food and the acquisition of fire and ended when the bow and arrow were invented. Mankind under this state spread outward from its primitive environment to most parts of the earth. Therefore, existing tribes, which belong to the intermediate obscuration society, include Australians aborigines and most Polynesians, who were in this state when they were found.
3. Advanced obscuration society. This period began with the invention of the bow and arrow and ended with the invention of ceramics, which resulted in epoch-making progress to the consumption pattern.
4. Low barbarous society. It seems a little arbitrary to divide obscuration societies and barbarous societies with the invention of the ceramics or the prevalence of ceramics industry as the boundary. However, considered from various aspects, there is not any dividing standard more appropriate than this. The first stage of the barbarous phase began with making pottery, no matter whether ceramics were invented by them or learnt from other tribes. After all, mankind had entered a new age of the consumption of technical ceramics products.
5. Intermediate barbarous society. For the eastern hemisphere, this period began with raising animals; for the western hemisphere, this period began with irrigation farming and building houses with adobe and stones. The invention of smelting can be decided as the end point.
7. Civilized society. This period began with the use of the phonemic alphabet and the appearance of documents. Civilized society is divided into ancient civilized society and modern civilized society. Pictographs engraved on stones can be viewed as a standard equal to the phonemic alphabet. According to Morgan’s dividing standard of ancient advanced barbarous society, China entered the consumption age of ancient civilized society when Cang Jie invented characters in the time of the Yellow Emperor.
Since the power of the group is needed for creating consumables and consumption materials, the family was created. The generation of social marriage and family probably can be divided into several long phases. When human culture was in the low level of obscuration society, the system of communal marriage existed within prescribed scopes. Along with the advancement and development of ancient humans, as the range of cohabitation system gradually shrank, kinship forms developed from the low phase to high phase. Matrilineal kinship form started from blood kinships, based on collective intermarriage between brothers and sisters. The second form, the partnership family, replaced the first marriage system with a collective marriage that brothers shared wives, sisters, and husbands. Later, human society developed and advanced, and clans were formed on the basis of kinship, with matrilineal blood relationship prevailing. Since men were engaged on the outside while women were in charge of the inside in production labor, human society then developed into the consanguineous family with men dominating. Marriage has developed from polyandry and polygamy family marriage, to polygamy family, and then to the exclusive spouse system, monogamy, which is the modern civilized marriage family system.
The generation and development of ancient human society varied in the eastern and western hemispheres. Even in the same hemisphere, the social advancement levels among developed and advanced areas and clan tribes in remote islands and forests are quite different. In the 1940s, Tibet in China was still a slave society, and the minority living in the forest in northeastern China was still in the primitive clan tribe phase; hence, the development of human society has been imbalanced.
Peking Upper Cave Men in China in 400,000 B.C. should belong to the obscuration-forming phrase of Chinese primitive ancient society. In this period, they learnt to make tools with stones, to make needles with bones, and to make animal skins into clothes, creating their own living consumption materials. It may be the earliest evidence of human society. China is one of the oldest countries in human society, and it is also a country with the most complete continuous development of culture. There are more than 5,000 years that can be studied, which provides valuable proof for the progress of human society.
About 5,000 years ago in the Age of Teras there were many clans and tribes along the Yellow River basin and the Yangtze basin in China. Owing to the consumption needs for survival and reproduction, they migrated, allied, battled – disputes and fights frequently took place between tribes and clans (just like animals fighting and killing to survive and protect their own domains). Through the time of Youchaoshi (a nest made in trees for living) and the time of Suirenshi, productivity had significantly improved, and humans’ ability to create consumption had been greatly developed, and the development of humanity, population and wisdom had been significantly advanced.
At that time, there were two most powerful tribes: the tribe headed by Shen Nong, the Yan Emperor, and the tribe headed by the Huang Emperor. Meanwhile, a Jiuli tribe with a valiant captain called Chiyou appeared. Combining all the tribes, the Huang Emperor held a life-and-death fight against the tribe of Chiyou in the suburb of Zhuolu and killed Chiyou in the end, thus protecting the consumption interest and safe living of the Yan Emperor and his tribe, so he gained devout support from tribes and was recommended as the leader of the tribal alliance. The battle in Zhuolu promoted the development of the living consumption, social consumption, and production consumption of mankind at that time, leading primitive humans to develop into the alliance of a clan tribal community. The alliance leader was decided by the system of recommending and selecting a successor upon death. In the primitive social system, three major consumptions created the community system of clan alliance.
Meanwhile Huang Emperor was recommended as the leader of various Chinese clan tribes, the remote clan tribal alliance community of mankind entered a new epoch of consumption progress. Suirenshi inherited and carried forward the progress of a consumption society; for example, he invented the method of knotting ropes to record events and the method of drilling wood to make fire, and he taught people how to eat cooked food, constructed high platforms for preaching and teaching, established markets for trading at noon, and built roads for business. As a result, there was a harmonious atmosphere then with a good authority function and compliant people. Hence, Suirenshi was also called the Sui Emperor. Then Cang Jie created pictographic characters, leading mankind develop into the time of characters – the consumption period of ancient civilization.
During mankind’s long process of living consumption by fishing and hunting, they had kept lots of hunted animals for food. In this way, people gradually learnt how to raise animals and animal husbandry developed. It is said that survival skills such as netting and feeding were taught to people by a man called Fuxishi.
This kind of survival consumption and consumption patterns lasted for a long time, then a second, bigger leap in consumption driving the development of human cultural history occurred. That was the development of agriculture. According to the legend, Shennongshi not only led people to carry out land reclamation and planting but also invented a wooden tool to plough – Leisi (a wooden shovel with a handle), which facilitated laboring for people. In the primitive societies of mankind, due to the demand of humans, consumption drove the development of productivity and productions, and society constantly developed.
It is said that several very famous tribe leaders appeared successively after the Huang Emperor, who were called Yao, Shun, and Yu. The time of Yao and Shun has been considered by later generations as the heyday of the Chinese primitive clan tribal alliance community. After replacing Yao as the leader of the tribal alliance, Shun inspected water controlling sites in person, and when he found that Gun had failed to do his job, he killed Gun and assigned Yu, the son of Gun, to control the water. Finally, Yu succeeded in controlling the water. When Shun was old, he began to look for his successor as Yao had done. Because of Yu’s contribution in water control, he was recommended to be the leader of the tribal alliance.
Yu became the leader of the tribal alliance with the dynastic tile of Xia. Yu cast nine dings (vessels), which stand for nine parts of China. Later the nine dings became the symbol of state power. After the nine dings were cast, Xiayu began to exercise supreme power and sometimes he even sanctified his power on purpose, thus preventing it from being violated.
When Yu died, he passed his throne to his son Qi, who began the family governing system. It meant that the clan community system of primitive society was thoroughly destroyed, and private ownership was officially established; the embryonic form of nationhood began to develop and slave society grew. This was an epoch-making progress in the history of mankind. It was also the essential consequence of the development of productivity of a consumption society from a primitive to a more advanced stage. Former clan tribe leaders became slaveholders and accumulated social surplus wealth. At that time, there had been labor divisions between agriculture and cottage industry, between animal husbandry, agriculture, and the handicraft industry. Mankind had developed from the Stone Age, the Wood Age to the Bronze Age. The productivity of a consumption society had been greatly developed. In other words, in the later years of the primitive clan community system, due to the appearance of surplus product, the appearance of private ownership, the major factors of slave society had grown and developed into a clan tribe community. When Xia Qi inherited the throne of his father and carried out the hereditary system of father passing inheritance to son, tribal leaders immediately followed him. Slave society came into being, and a new social system came into being.
In the slave society, private ownership was legalized; agriculture and the handicraft industry were developed further with more specific divisions of labor; the productivity of the consumption society was greatly enhanced; production was greatly developed; and the living and social consumption of people improved significantly. It also paved the way for the flourishing of culture; therefore, it was historic progress.
From the later tribal community system of primitive mankind to the establishment of the slave society of the Xia Dynasty, the consumption of mankind had developed from the original direct and simple living consumption to the three major consumptions modes including living consumption, social consumption, and production consumption. For example, the governing and administrative consumption of the tribal alliance leaders and the army and weapon production consumption for protecting tribe safety both belonged to the social consumption of that time. There had been copper mining, iron smelting, tool making, and the production of various production tools. Consumables and surplus products required by people were created with tools; it also developed into the phase of bartering.
From the foundation of the Xia Dynasty to 221 B.C. when the First Emperor of the Qin Dynasty extinguished six countries and unified China, the beginning of feudal society, the slave society in China lasted for about 1,800 years. With the development in productivity of a consumption society in slavery era, mankind went beyond the Bronze Age to the consumption phase of the Iron Age.
Jie, the last monarch of the Xia Dynasty, was a famous tyrant in Chinese history. In the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River, Shangqiu, in the Henan Province nowadays, there was a tribe called Shang with Shang Tang as the leader. Shang was powerful and was supported by many vassal states in the east who hoped Shang Tang would lead them to fight against the brutal reign of Xia Jie. Finally, the Xia Dynasty was replaced by Shang with the leadership of Tang. The Xia dynasty had ruled for about 500 years from the 21st century B.C. to the 16th century B.C.
There were, altogether, 24 monarchs in the Shang Dynasty, which was overthrown by King Wen of Zhou and his son King Wu of Zhou because of the tyranny of King Zhou of Shang. After his success and the establishment of the Zhou Dynasty, King Wu divided the country territory into hundreds of vassal states. By the Spring and Autumn Period, fewer than 100 vassal states were left, with only a dozen bigger ones such as Qi, Jin, Chu, Qin, Lu, Wei, Yan, Song, Chen, Cai, Zheng, Cao, Wu, and Yue. Every vassal state dreamed of becoming an overlord, so bigger states’ striving for supremacy was an important characteristic of the Spring and Autumn Periods. A dozen bigger states contested intensely, resulting in five overlords who appeared successively, and who had been named the Five Overlords in the Spring and Autumn Periods in historic records. They were Earl Huan of Qi, Earl Wen of Jin, Earl Xiang of Song, Earl Mu of Qi, and King Zhuang of Chu, another way of saying that these men were the first overlords. The reason why Qi had become the earliest champion is directly related to the assistance of Guan Tzu. As the prime minister of Qi, Guan Tzu (about 725–645 B.C.) was a famous politician, militarist, ideologist, and economist in the Spring and Autumn Periods.
Guan Tzu was named as Yiwu, with the alias Zhong. While he was prime minister of Qi for more than 40 years, Guan Tzu carried out a series of reforms in the economy, politics, and military. He paid much attention to economic development. To develop the economy, he first broke the restriction of the nine-square field system and took the advanced measure reviewing fields and taxing them. He suggested that the tax be levied according to the grade of the fields, which enhanced the use of poor fields and facilitated the development of production. Guan Tzu actively advocated the fishing and salt industry. He encouraged fish and salt trade by allowing fish and salt to be exported without taxation. He appointed fishing and salt officials and iron officials, developing the salt and iron industries with the strength of government. He minted and managed coins, emphasizing the development of commerce and the handicraft industry. He also set a ‘light and heavy nine prefectures’ system, collecting and distributing commodities according to the harvest and needs of the people in order to adjust prices. In this way, state wealth increased greatly, thus laying the economic foundation for the hegemony of Qi over other states.
In politics, Guan Zhong carried out the policy of ‘three categories of labor in state and five Bi in rural area’. He restructured the original administration organization, setting 21 divisions of labor in the state, in three categories – three for industry, three for commerce, and 15 for civil service. He set five bi (regions or rural areas outside the capital city), each with officials to manage them. He also designated living areas for scholars and farmers, manufacturers and businessmen, and managed citizens by the household system. People were forbidden to migrate freely, which strengthened domestic governance.
Guan Zhong further carried out military reform, following the principle of ‘doing domestic affairs with military command’. He expected peasants to combine the roles of soldier and farmer, and in so doing unified military organization and administration, so they were engaged in production in peacetime and could fight in wartime. He also invented the method of expiating crime by handing in weapons as well as copper and iron, so as to enrich state armaments. Guan Zhong also established a system to identify and select talents, prescribing those talents should be recommended from every fen, or they would be punished for the crime of ‘shielding wisdom’ or ‘shielding talents’. A scholar could be promoted as a Shang, a zhizan (assistant), after three examinations and selection processes, giving some common people a chance to rise in status.
Guan Tzu assisted Prince Huan of Qi in promoting the rapid development of living consumption, social consumption, and production consumption of Qi with the power of the state, which indicated that the feudal social system had been established in the vassal state of Qi and slave society had been abolished.
It was prescribed that any family with more than two sons should break up the family and live apart when the sons became adults. They should make a living on their own without dependence on others, or double taxation should be paid.
• He implemented the county system, whereby villages and towns were combined into counties. With unified planning, 31 counties were set in the state, each with a county magistrate and minister who were appointed and dismissed by the king of the state.
• He abolished the nine-square system, the field system of slave society, and opened crisscross crisscross boundaries between squares. He encouraged the cultivation of wild fields, acknowledging the private ownership of fields, allowing the selling and purchasing of fields, and levying taxes according to the space of the land.
The two reforms of Shangyang were great a shock to slave holders. They strengthened the newly born landlord, developed the feudal economy, enhanced military power, intensified the control over people, and stabilized the social order. Qin, once poor and backward, became the most advanced, powerful, and prosperous state among various vassal states at that time, enabling the First Emperor of Qin to unify six states later.
The First Emperor of Qin unified China, marking the success of the feudal society revolution. Ying Zheng, the king of Qin, extinguished the six vassal states and became the emperor of the first feudal country in Chinese history. He divided the country into 36 regions, each of which had counties. Three officials who were directly appointed by the central government administered every region. The central government consisted of several important official positions, including the prime minister, grand censor, military official, court official, and interior official, who assisted the emperor in ruling the country. All these officials were appointed, dismissed, and transferred by the emperor. They were paid by the national treasury and the positions could not be inherited.
The First Emperor of Qin had reunified currencies, weights and measures, ‘copper tracks’, and characters, all of which were beneficial for reinforcing national unification and the further development of society, economy, and culture. It was the greatest contribution made by the First Emperor of Qin.
After the First Emperor of Qin founded the first dynasty of the feudal social system in China, Chinese feudal dynasties lasted for nearly 2,100 years from 221 B.C. to August 1905. The Chinese bourgeois revolution led by Sun Yat-sen pulled the Qing Dynasty down, resulting in the ending of the Chinese feudal social system. It was the result of class revolution, which was caused by the obstruction of the superstructure of the Qing Dynasty to the development of the three major consumptions, the serious lack of adaptation of production relations to the development of productivity of a consumption society and the serious lack of adaptation of the superstructure to the development of the economic foundation. During 2,100 years of feudal society and dynasty replacement, the major factors of Chinese capitalist society had developed constantly. In the end, the feudal social system collapsed by means of revolution and a bourgeois democratic state was founded. Finally, the task of Chinese democratic revolution was finished under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party. China then developed into a socialist system.
Japan and Britain in western society entered capitalist society through changes in feudal society, while the United States entered the capitalist social system through the war of revolution and the Civil War against the slavery system. Other countries such as the Netherlands, France, and Germany entered capitalist social system by revolutionary war against the feudal system.
To sum up, during the long process of historic development and advancement since primitive people began to create consumables, the social system of primitive clans and tribes was created at first, and then slave society was created following the development of living consumption, social consumption, and production consumption. During the development process of three major consumptions in slave society, feudal society was created. And during the long development process of three major consumptions in feudal society, capitalist society was created. However, the development process of three major consumptions in capitalist society would surely give rise to capitalist–socialist society. The development of the three major consumptions in capitalist–socialist society is sure to create a more advanced social system (Marxists believe it should be socialism).
However, during the process of creating a social system, the three major consumptions also created countries and their superstructure. At the same time, the superstructure represents the gross economic foundation of society, the gross production relations, and the gross productivity of a consumption society, and it influences and acts on the three major consumptions.
The process of the three major consumptions’ creating the progress of civilization and the social system is a movement of the contradictory unity of opposites. The very process moves from partial quantitative change to qualitative change. Meanwhile, the process is a development of the cycle of affirmation and negation.
On one hand, the process of the three major consumptions initiating and driving the development of social civilization progress is attributed to the positive impact of superstructure, and the superstructure can exert a negative impact at the same time. On the other hand, the development process of the three major consumptions’ creating and driving the process of social civilization is filled with the contradiction of social opposites and unity. During the development and movement process of the contradiction of social opposites and unity, there are laws of partial quantitative change to qualitative change and of the cycle of affirmation and negation. Because of this, society has been driven by consumption to develop and advance for over 5,000 years (maybe nearly 10,000 years) from the primitive society of clan tribal community to slave society. It took more than 2,100 years for civilization to advance from a slave society to a feudal society, and more than 2,000 years to develop from a feudal society to a capitalist society. Therefore, the cultural advancement and development of a society is slow.
Since mankind entered the period of capitalist society and socialism, owing to the development and never-ending change of science and technology and the productivity of a consumption society; democracy in politics and market competition in the economy; the relative justice and equality of the development of social legalization; respect for humanism; and the increased ability to acknowledge and understand various rules, the three major consumptions of mankind have developed rapidly. The gross social wealth created by the productivity of consumption society in the last 300 years is much more than the summation of wealth created in the history of mankind before feudal society ended.
After mankind entered the later period of tribal society, because of the needs of consumption, industrial division began to develop, such as agricultural crop planting, livestock raising and animal husbandry, and the cottage handicraft industry. Captives of war were not killed but preserved as slaves, while tribal chieftains became slaveholders. In other words, the primary social factors of slave society had appeared and grown up in the long period of the later tribal community. Later, mankind entered the slave society period through reform or revolution, and slaveholder class and the slave class developed.
During the long development period of slave society, production consumption division was grew further. With the development of private ownership, in the process the exchange of labor surplus consumption product, the production and exchange of consumption commodity appeared and industrial divisions became further delineated. The development of farming promoted the generation of a rising landlord class and farming slaves. As livestock feeding and animal husbandry developed, slave holders and slaves in animal husbandry appeared. As the production consumption in handicraft mills and workshops developed, workshop owners and the working class developed. In other words, the social factors of feudal society were generated and grew in slave society.
In the later period of slave society, along with the development of the three major consumptions of mankind, the further division of production consumption industries and the further division of production, the landlord class developed. Members of an employee class were employed to specialize in agriculture and the workshop owner and working classes also grew in number. During the exchange of surplus products, the production of industrial commodity and commodity exchange, the production owner class, the working class, and the commerce class developed. Thus the elements of feudal society developed from a slave society and mankind entered the feudal society through social change and revolution.
During the long development process of a feudal society, especially during its later period, development of new technical productivity resulted from the development of productivity in general consumption society. Thanks to the convenience of currency, there was rapid development of special commodities. In turn, currency controlled the production of consumption commodity and the exchange of consumption commodity exchange; industrial production division was clearer and more detailed.
The invention and wide application of the steam engine caused the first industrial revolution. After intensive production, consumption in industry was created, the commodity production consumption of capital and the consumption commodity exchange of capital began a new historic stage, with new bourgeois and working classes. Capitalist society was generated through social reform and revolution, the renewed civilized and advanced historical phase.
The capital production process disclosed by Marx brought about the law of surplus value, which was a great discovery; however, it is not only applicable to capitalists’ exploiting workers. The law of surplus value exists during the development process of every developing and advancing society. A society cannot advance and develop without surplus value.
To sum up, classes emerged as the consequence of the development of the productivity of the consumption society, of the division and further division of production, the production mode, production type, and industrial division of the possessors of means of production, the appearance of property owners and proletarians. Because of the difference in the mode of acquiring social wealth of mankind between social groups, as well as the difference in social living consumption status, groups of people gradually form various classes.
Every class or social stratum formed by society possesses social wealth by different modes. The amounts of their wealth vary, leading to unfairness and severe unfairness, and eventually resulting in class contradiction. The settlement of these contradictions depends on national policies and laws for wealth distribution. Unfairness must be solved on the basis of policies and laws. When serious unfairness threatens the survival and living consumption of those without property, intense class contradiction and struggle is engendered and the national regime would be endangered. Therefore, adjusting the distribution of social wealth is not only an economic problem, but also a political issue.
Ever since the emergence of mankind is the process of mankind’s desire and demand for consumables, and creating consumables requires group strength and the strength of certain social organizations. Clans, the group that formed in the beginning on the basis of blood, were divided and developed into tribes. Family developed later based on blood relationships. Due to the development of livestock husbandry, agriculture, and the development of the cottage handicraft industry, the labor division within the family further developed. Men began to shoulder heavy physical tasks and social responsibility, so men held the dominant positions in the family, and the patriarchal blood kin was generated. That was how the earliest social kin, the matrilineal family, was replaced by the patriarchal blood family, which has lasted until now.
Engels (1972) once discussed the development of the family system as follows:
The development of family in primitive history lay in the process of constantly narrowing the range. In the beginning, sexual mutual marriage was popular within the whole tribe, then exclusion began from close relatives to remote relatives, and in the end, any group marriage form with only affinity relation became impossible in practice, leaving only a loosely connected couple whose marriage would cease when disconnected. This point has been proved by the practice of every nation in this development stage.
We have had a clearer understanding of the development of mankind from the influence of living consumption and production consumption on the generation and development of the family as well as the development and advancement of sexual marriage.
In The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State, Engels penetratingly discussed the origin and development of sexual life and family in clans and tribes, the origin and development of clans or tribes, the generation and development of private ownership, the generation of surplus products and commodity exchange, and the generation of country in the time of the western clan tribe. In his discussion, Engels stated that the generations of Greek and Roman states grew from the development and advancement of slave society, and countries of slave societies were created via social changes. This was identical to the generation of family and the generation and development of private ownership in the social system of the clan or tribe community in primitive China. However, this was not true for Germany. Germans had a large population and little consumption resource in the area they occupied. The rapidly increasing population could not meet the requirement of their three major consumptions. Most of them had once served as mercenaries and were good at fighting. Their clans were constantly expanding their regional consumption resources by destroying consumption wealth and consumption resources of other regions during long-term wars. They robbed the Romans of two-thirds of all the Roman fields and dominated when the Roman state was decaying. Thus the country of the Germans was born.
Comparing China and the western world, we have seen that during the long period of the development from the living consumption of ape men, production consumption to social consumption, blood-related family, clan or tribe developed. Private ownership developed with the generation and production of surplus products. A large number of captives of war became slaves, making the chieftains of clans or tribes slave holders. The production and consumption patterns in slave society also came into being. The generation and more rapid development of private ownership inevitably resulted in commodity exchange and production consumption. In the beginning, bartering was carried out between individuals and between groups, exchanging surplus and desired consumption commodities. During the consumption exchange process of bartering, a special form of commodity, currency, was created. From then on, all the ordinary commodities have been exchanged by using currency as an exchangeable equivalent. Mankind entered a new stage of civilization at that time.
During this development process, production consumption and communal social consumption in the clan were created. Owing to the unbalanced development between clans or tribes, some clans or tribes became strong; with an increase in their consumption needs, they began to start wars of aggression to destroy the consumption wealth and consumption resource of weak clans or tribes so as to expand their own territory and satisfy their own consumption demand. Therefore, aggression and anti-aggression wars between clans or tribes occurred continually. Because of the wars, some clans or tribes either were extinguished or became new members, slaves, of another clan or tribe. As the three major consumptions drove the development and advancement of primitive society, clans and tribes were created with slave holders as an exploiting class. Slaves, as an exploited class, were also created, and countries based on a slave society developed at the same time.
In the countries of slave societies, kings were selected from slave holders within a family inheritance system, while the non-hereditary system or recommendation-election system in the stage of the tribal commune had been abolished. Reviewing several thousand years’ history of slave society and feudal society, the fundamental and basic contradiction between the opposing class and the opposed class had never changed, because economic foundation is the private ownership of the means of production. The nature of society could not be fundamentally changed before the economic foundation of the means of production developed into social capital and public capital. All these were completed by the development and progress of the three major consumptions in human society and the constant change and revolution of society.
The nature of state power has developed and advanced into the democratic election system from the hereditary monarchy system in slave society and feudal society. Countries with developed capital and economic foundations such as the United States, German, Japan, Britain, and France had democratic election systems featuring a separation of executive, legislative, and judicial powers. The leadership in a socialist country represents the interests of people, the advanced national productivity of a consumption society, production relations of a consumer society, and the advanced culture of the people. It does not have any private interest apart from these (no economic foundation of means of production). It has been so far the most advanced social stage in the historical development of mankind.
In conclusion, the history of mankind is the history of the development and progress of the three major consumptions of mankind. In order to survive, mankind needs living consumption materials and must constantly create production consumption material. During the process of asking for living consumption material and creating production consumption materials, production consumption of new living consumption and of social consumption has been created. The three major consumptions have promoted and enhanced the progress of living consumables. The new consumables and consumption patterns constantly created in scientific research, production, and consumption are the development and progress of human consumption, which has created human society. When a country represents the interests of people, protects and promotes the constant and rapid development of its economic foundation, liberates productivity of the consumption society constantly, promotes its development, and makes production relations suit the development of the productivity of the consumption society, the three major consumptions develop rapidly in the country’s economy, driving the national economy, politics, culture, and civilization progress to develop rapidly. The country flourishes and people live in peace. There is prosperity and powerfulness.
Since the generation of private ownership when mankind implemented a slave society, there has been unfairness in people’s consumption and inequality in living. The three major consumptions drove private ownership society to develop from the slave society to the feudal society and then to capitalist society. Though mankind had developed from barbarous times to civilized times, private ownership has not changed. Even though socialism was established in socialist countries, including China, the social private ownership system has not been thoroughly destroyed. Therefore, a consumption contradiction between people still exists. Currently, we are still in the primary stage of socialist society; the commodity production of capital and the commodity exchange of capital must be allowed to exist. The whole of society is involuntarily related to capital commodity production and the productivity of a consumption society. At this stage, society has to carry out the principle of distribution according to work and production factors, and the principle of macro control on repeated redistribution of social wealth. However, due to the differences between consumers and between individual consumers and consumption groups, contradictions and conflicts are sure to emerge.
Extreme inequality and unfairness between people has always existed, and this is reflected in the living consumption of people in society as a difference in purchasing power. This difference depends on the level of social wealth acquired by people during the process of social labor. People gain social wealth in different modes and possess different amounts of social wealth, resulting in different consumption levels – often serious unfairness and inequality. This is the reason for the unfairness of social class.
In the development process of the three major consumptions, a few slaveholders, landlords, and state superstructures that represented their interests possessed the social wealth created. The superstructure of a country represents gross social economy, gross social consumption, social productivity, and gross social production relations. It should redistribute state-possessed social wealth among laboring people, so as to protect the elevation of the living consumption level of all laboring people and to stimulate the enthusiasm of laboring people to create the three major consumptions. If the superstructure of the country does this properly, laborers will be enthusiastic about their work, and there will be rapid development in the civilized progress of the three major consumptions in society. If not, there will be serious social consumption inequality. The people are the foundation of the superstructure of the country. The regime cannot be stable if the foundation is damaged and shaken.
The way for a state superstructure to adjust the contradiction between consumers is to build a harmonious society. It is the responsibility of the country to manage the gross social wealth with its power, to control and adjust the collection of social wealth and the relative wealth of people through taxation, administration, and various economic means, to solve the living consumption security of vulnerable groups through the second and third redistribution of gross social wealth, and to support poor people to shake off poverty and become rich through the means of policy and poverty alleviation. It is a huge task, which cannot be solved by theoretical concepts but by social practice. It is a matter of moving from practice to theory with the theory directing the practice. It is an important process of social advancement and development requiring constant practice.
As a socialist country with Chinese characteristics, the way for China to adjust the contradiction between consumers is to build a harmonious society. Since the implementation of the policy of reform and opening up in 1978, China has followed one focus and two basic points and followed the theory, line, and principle of allowing some people to become rich first and then driving the whole nation to become rich. China has followed the socialist market economy with Chinese characteristics. With the reaction of state power, the three major consumptions have been pushed to develop rapidly. The development of the three major consumptions drives the rapid development of the entire social economy and the process of social civilization. However, imbalances of development have also occurred, which is natural and inevitable. It is totally different from the egalitarian distribution policy in a planned economy. The country of a communist party that represents the interests of the people has realized these problems and has been solving them reasonably and scientifically step by step:
2. A minimum income is guaranteed for laborers. According to the provisions of laws and regulation, the country has enhanced laborers’ status during the process of production consumption and the labor process in management and service industries according to the laws and regulations. A system has been established for a regular minimum wage standard, which is developing.
3. There is compulsory education. Among 1.3 billion Chinese people, a free education system has been implemented in primary schools and junior schools. As for vocational secondary schools, high schools, colleges, and universities, the basic expense for educational consumption and the allowances for poverty stricken students are implemented and guaranteed by the central government.
6. For regions of lower living consumption, the country has allocated special funds from national finance to provide help for the alleviation and elimination of poverty. The country has also formulated relevant policies, such as free training in labor skills, scientific support, and poverty elimination.
The country adjusts the contradiction between social consumers and consumption through various tax policies and administrative means. Meanwhile, the country carries out civilization and cultural education in society, advocates mutual respect and love to solve contradictions, and creates social harmony.
Germany is a capitalist country with a developed economy, which implements a system of high taxation and high welfare. Every individual or enterprise in Germany with income pays tax. Germany taxes many items and there are high tax rates with comprehensive coverage. Meanwhile, many policies have been formulated specific to the objective of domestic economic and social development to adjust interest relations. Payroll tax is the main source of taxation in Germany.
• People can supervise and encourage government public servants. All the expenses of the civil servants and the governments – social consumption – are met by taxpayers. It is thus natural for taxpayers to supervise the behavior and consumption of governments and civil servants.
• High taxation causes the high cost of production consumption cost and relatively slow development of technology, resulting in the reduction of the competitive capacity of production consumption. The exporting of industrial products is affected, which is unfavorable for Germany, which has been relying on exporting industrial products export for a long time.
• The social welfare system provided by the German government for citizens has played an important role in narrowing the wealth gap and guaranteeing civil rights, but it has reduced the reemployment enthusiasm of the unemployed to a certain extent, sometimes they even pick and choose jobs.
The tax revenue administration system in the United States can be specifically divided into federal tax, state tax, and local tax. The three levels of taxes are levied according to the laws agreed by the state assembly; counties and cities can levy taxes according to the legislation of the assembly under the precondition of satisfying the state constitution. Since taxation is related to everyone’s interest, laws related to taxation are usually strict. The legislation can only be passed with the agreement of a majority; sometimes the decision is made by a general vote of citizens.
Federal tax and social security tax make up the main body of American taxation. In the United States few items are taxed but there are complex levels of taxation. Besides, as for sales tax in circulation, tax payment is added to the sales payment at a given rate, which is a clear characteristic of consumer direct contribution. Therefore, individuals pay tax directly in the United States and tax in the United States is mainly paid directly by individuals. No wonder that American citizens are proud of their contribution as taxpayers to the states. The inheritance tax rate in the United States is 55%, and tax has to be paid before inheritance.
There are several aspects in American taxation that reduce the differences in wealth between consumers. One important method is that the tax rate goes up as income increases, so as to reduce the burden on low-income earners and to control the too rapid increase of the income of high-income earners. The most basic principle is that people with more income pay more tax and that people with low income get a rebate on the tax they pay. Individual income tax rates vary depending on other family members, especially the number of children.
In Japan central tax and local tax are divided clearly, and the legislative levying right is concentrated in the center. Based on the organizational structure of the Japanese government, the taxation system is accordingly divided into central taxes and local taxes, wherein local taxes are divided into county taxes and village taxes. The taxation by the central government mainly comprises income tax in direct taxes, corporation tax and consumption tax in direct tax, and these three taxes add up to about 70% of the central tax.
The tax in counties mainly comprises the main tax items of county tax and utility tax, and these two taxes occupy 65% of the total revenue. The main tax items in village government are villager tax and fixed assets tax, and these two add up to 80% of the taxation revenue of the village. At present, within the total amount of Japanese fiscal revenue, the revenue actually controlled by central government has fallen from 60% in the past to about 30%, while the total revenue actually controlled by local government has increased from 30% to 60%. With the expansion of Japanese local government, taxation domination and usage incline towards local government.
We have listed the above situations in Germany, the United States, and Japan, which are capitalist countries with developed economies in the current world. The superstructure of the three countries make use of state power and tax laws to levy and redistribute social wealth, to develop national economy and social civilization, to adjust the serious unfairness, irrationality, social non-harmony and instability between citizens and between consumers caused by income, so as to reduce serious inequality in wealth among consumers. Tax laws have played a very important role in adjusting social wealth distribution. Fundamental change has taken place in the social situation in capitalist democratic politics and pure private ownership in society when capitalist society developed just 300 years ago:
1. Capitalist society is advancing and developing constantly. The difference between it and the slave and feudal society in the past several thousand years is that political democracy with a tenure system has replaced the former absolute monarchy in politics. The democratic regime is widely supervised by all the citizens to a certain extent, and supervision can influence the regime, which makes the state regime better represent diverse interests of various classes and strata of citizens. Moreover, national laws can be modified and perfected constantly during the process of social development and progress. All these could not have happened in the early period of capitalist society.
2. The countries have been hurt by economic crisis in the process of the development of capitalism and have been able to realize that the three major consumptions are natural rules to drive economic development (unconscious realization). They adjust to it and master it with state power, so as to bring the positive effect of natural economic rules into play and overcome its negative effect at the same time. Laws, economic levers, and administrative means are used as macro adjustment or macro planning, to supplement the development of market financial and economic rules.
3. The social difference between the rich and the poor is adjusted by the policy and means of social wealth redistribution, reducing the difference in wealth among consumers and classes, so as to guarantee social stability.
7. Private enterprises transfer to commodity production and exchange consumption of social capital. For example, Siemens in Germany has transferred from private shares to social capital, and the family share of Siemens hardly existed. This symbolized the entrance into social capitalization in that country.
All the policies and measures taken by the countries to increase the living consumption levels of citizens with the lowest income are helpful to the harmony and stability of society. Even though the policies of various developed capitalist countries are different, they have a common ground: to protect the minimum living consumption level of citizens with the lowest income, so as to stabilize social order. The above-mentioned three countries have the same goal on this point.
All these changes are advancements made during the process of the development of capitalist society and are essential in the generation and development of socialist social factors in capitalist society.
The consumption development process creates new technology constantly; while new technology is constantly transformed into productivity, the production process, production relations and productivity combine and create production, product, consumption pattern, and consumption level. The levels of the three major consumptions are reflected as civilization progress in that time, as shown in Figure 10.1.
Figure 10.1 shows the process of technology creating social civilization progress from the historical development process of human consumption creating technology. The technology of each age represents the degree of civilization progress of that time.
Since the invention of the steam engine in the 18th century, a consumption material productivity, there has been tremendous development and wide use of production consumption such as in sailing, mining, transportation, smelting, tool manufacturing, spinning and weaving, and so on. The productivity of consumption society has developed dramatically, giving rise to the industrial revolution and the age of the steam engine.
Since the 19th century, electrical power has been widely used and has forcefully promoted the generation and development of a series of new industries such as electrodynamics, electrometallurgy, electro-machining, and telecommunication. The age of electrification came with the development of technological social productivity such as the invention of the internal combustion engine and diesel engine, and science and technology like organic-synthesis chemical technology.
Since the 1940s, the modern scientific revolution of atomic energy technology, electronic computer technology, and space technology has developed rapidly. The productivity of the consumption society has developed its greatest historical stage. There has been unprecedented progress as computers, and international and web-based information are used for intellectual purposes.
The wave of technological revolution is promoting the course of human development with unprecedented impact. Technological competition between countries is at the core of economic and military competition and even national strength, proving the assertion that ‘science and technology are the primary productive forces’.
Productivity is the capacity of human beings to reform and conquer nature and acquire productive materials from production consumption to scientific research (the awareness and creation process of consciousness, perception, wisdom, and inspiration) consumption:
As will be readily seen, science and technology are the most important elements of productivity. The level of productivity depends on the content and degree of application science and technology. In all ages, the application of each scientific achievement has developed social productivity, wherein the application of high and new technology achievement has developed productivity with great progress. Furthermore, it has changed the old production mode and living mode and created new production modes and living modes, created new civilization and new culture, promoted political, economic, military, and social activities in society to move towards a new pattern – a higher and higher form.
The development of the entire society and even every social field is scientific revolution caused by new knowledge and science and technology created by consumption consciousness, wisdom, scientific technology, and consumption itself. The assertion ‘science and technology are the primary productive forces’ is wise. Productivity cannot make progress without new inventions in technology. Though the human is the most active factor in productivity, the production condition will be restricted and development speed will be limited without science and technology.
1. Scientific achievements must satisfy consumption demands. Moreover, the larger the consumption demand is, the larger the ability of transforming to productivity is and the larger the transforming value will be. But the lower the consumption demand of consumers, the lower the ability of transforming to productivity is and the smaller the transforming value will be.
2. Mature new technology and high and new technology (new technology and high and new technology that can be put into scale production) are available. Achievement in the laboratory without a successful pilot test cannot be transformed into productivity. It is an important link in the transformation of achievement in the laboratory to be successful in the pilot test.
3. In the development of new technical achievement, the conditions for development and production should be satisfied, including the funds (minimum fund), equipment, and tools required in the technology development and all the supplementary conditions. If a minimum fund as well as corresponding equipment and tools and supplementary conditions are not available, even the best scientific achievements cannot be transformed into productivity.
4. People with talent are needed to develop and produce technology. Talent is the most active, revolutionary, vital, and crucial factor in the transformation from science and technology to productivity.
6. Advanced organizational process of production management is also necessary for science and technology to be transformed to productivity and to produce the proper effect. We can easily find out in the formula of productivity that the organizational process of production management has multiple relations with productivity. If the whole organizational process of production management is scientific, the power of the transformation from science and technology to productivity will increase several times over; otherwise productivity energy will be reduced exponentially.
To sum up, since the beginning, mankind has out of instinct used consumables and constantly created new needs for consumption and desires, perceptions, and wisdoms. During its long history mankind has been engaged in living consumption, creating new consumption of production tools – new productivity of consumption society. This has created living consumables and social consumables in the process of social civilization. The survival and development of mankind is not possible without consumption, to say nothing of the process of human civilization. The three industrial revolutions show that consumption is the source of the process of power of social civilization.
Section 6 Consumption creates scientific research and science and technology and drives the progress of social civilization
War is consumption. It is a form of social consumption. Futurologist Toffler (1970) suggested that wars in the future, either in planning or imagination, will consume the tax we are paying today. War is undoubtedly a pure consumption action, which consumes human, material, and financial resources. Its final ‘product’ is not a material product whose value has been realized but national security (including national wealth and power for some countries). Military expenditure (including army expenditure and war expenditure) is deducted from state finance and directly enters the military consumption process (living, equipment, and maintenance), most of which is used in the consumption of special products for the military and does not enter the reproduction process as productive investment. Marx (1867) said that in a direct economic sense, a country’s producing war industrial products was like investing part of their capital in water. It can be seen that war is not only a kind of direct consumption, but also consumption with a huge cost.
Since a class society and alliances among nations developed in human society, there have been two kinds of war. One is the war of domestic class struggle – the revolutionary war between the classes who govern, exploit, and suppress laborers represented by the corrupt superstructure and the classes who are oppressed and exploited to fight against the governing class for the living consumption demand of survival. The other is the war between nations and between the just and the unjust – aggressive war. Its purpose is to plunder and use the consumption resources and consumption wealth of other countries. The purpose of the just war is to protect the consumption resources and consumption wealth of the aggressor country.
No matter what kind of war it is, it consumes social wealth; therefore, war is consumption. On the one hand, war consumes social wealth and destroys social stability, causing huge damage and loss to human life and property, so this is the evil side. On the other hand, war ends corrupt and reactionary governing regimes and founds a new regime. The new regime is a superstructure, which can represent the social economic base, gross productivity of the consumption society, and the gross production relations in society. It can liberate the productivity of consumption society and promote the development of the three major consumptions.
Early in the period of primitive, clan, or tribal society, war often occurred between clan tribes, with the purpose of destroying natural resources required to survive and the consumption wealth of others, and protecting the tribe’s own resources and wealth. War played an important role in the history of the Chinese nation.
The Xia Dynasty was the first slave-society dynasty in China. Jie was the last of the Xia kings. Jie lost the people’s living consumption. Shang Tang won the people’s heart for living consumption. Army of Shang Tang made such an inexorable march of progress that they beat Jie of Xia in Mingtiao (Fengqiu, Hennan nowadays). The governing of Xia Dynasty was finished. Xia Dynasty lasted for about 500 years from the 21st century B.C. to the 16th century B.C.
The Shang Dynasty was destroyed by the tyranny of King Zhou, who exercised his despotic power after becoming the king, causing the regime’s decline. In addition, the subordinate ministers had other plans. King Wen of Zhou stood up to fight against and won people’s support for a society of living consumption, and succeeded in defeating the army of King Zhou, with the help of his son, King Wu of Zhou. Thus, overthrew Shang Dynasty and founded Zhou Dynasty. The civilization progress of the three major consumptions in society was promoted during a certain historical stage.
In the later period of the Zhou Dynasty there were difficult wars between lords. Several powers searched for supremacy in the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period. After the First Emperor of Qin unified China, the slave system ended in China, and the country began to enter its first feudal dynasty. During this period, there was serious war consumption and war promoted the progress of civilization. There came Sun Wu and The Art of War, Confucius’ traveling around the states, Lao Tzu and Tao Te Ching, Guan Zhong, Shang Yang, the Mohist doctrine established by Mo-tse, and so on. All these cultural and political advances have influenced Chinese culture development to the present day.
It was a historic contribution of the First Emperor to unify China. However, the second emperor of the Qin Dynasty was fatuous and power was grasped by Zhao Gao, who killed loyal ministers. The politics was so decadent and rife with corruption that there were severe shortages of consumables. Chen Sheng rose to fight against the Qin Dynasty in Daze Town in July and was beaten and killed in December. The revolt lasted for only half a year, but it aroused all the country to fight against the Qin Dynasty. Many warlords rose, making the decadent Qin Dynasty gradually extinct. Later peasants revolted, because of their inadequate living standards. Xiang Yu, King of Chu, and Liu Bang, King of Han, who were both leaders of peasant revolts, fought for supremacy. Liu Bang won and killed Xiang Yu in the end, then founded the Han Dynasty.
Emperor Wu of Han was an outstanding monarch in Chinese history; he accepted the great Confucian Dong Zhongshu’s suggestion of rejecting various schools while honoring Confucianism only, and took culture as the spiritual strength to govern the people. Based on governing through ideology, centralized government came into being.
In order to protect the security of the northern border, to prevent the destruction of the consumption wealth of the Hun lords, and to promote economic development in the frontier areas, Emperor Wu of Han took many significant measures, turning a defensive strategy into large scale anti-aggression wars against Hun. While defeating Hun, Emperor Wu of Han enriched frontier defense through vast immigration. In 138 B.C., he sent Zhang Qian, a famous explorer, to fulfill a diplomatic mission to the Western Regions and ally with Dayuezhi (an ancient tribe) to defend against and attack Hun. Emperor Wu of Han also expanded territory in the south and the west, making the Yue people and a few clans in the southwest mix together better. Emperor Wu of Han migrated the three conquered tribes of Yue to the Yangtze River basin, the Huai River Basin, and the South Sea, making them live together with Han people. They were well gradually assimilated. The situation of general unification which had begun with the First Emperor of Qin was completed. During the process of exploiting the southwest region, Han people popularized and transmitted iron production tools and advanced Han culture to those areas, promoting local economic and cultural development and improving the development of their three major consumptions.
War consumption culture in the Three Kingdoms period still has great impact on Chinese history. In the period of the East Han Dynasty, there was corruption and internal, intrigue in officialdom. While being corrupt themselves, officials also tried to fight against each other for power and did not care for the people at all. In 174 A. D., the 20-year-old Cao Cao was appointed as the north official of Luoyang to be responsible for public security in the capital. He formulated regulations, which could not be violated by anybody. The uncle of Qian Shuo, a eunuch who was favored by Emperor Ling of Han, went out at midnight, which violated the command of curfew. He was sent under guard to Cao Cao, who immediately told the guards to beat him to death with sticks according to the command. Order in the capital was greatly improved from then on.
In the later period of the East Han Dynasty, a struggle took place among Cao Cao, Sun Quan, and Liu Bei, resulting in the tripartite confrontation of three kingdoms in the end. It was a period in Chinese history when war culture had huge influence.
Emperor Yang of Sui was very corrupt. Living consumption of the people could not be guaranteed and peasants were struggling hard to survive. Peasant revolts occurred all over the country as peasants asked for living consumption to survive. They would die if they did not rebel. Li Yuan and his sons determined to change sides and fight against the Sui Dynasty. They did their best to destroy the Sui Dynasty thoroughly and then founded the Tang Dynasty.
When Emperor Gao of Tang came to the throne, he designated Li Jiancheng as the crown prince, Li Shimin as King Qin, and Li Yuanji as King Qi. Knowing that he was inferior to Li Shimin in talent, Jiancheng, the crown prince, was so jealous that he conspired with his younger brother Yuanji, King Qi, to kill Li Shimin. Li Shimin started a mutiny in Xuanwumen, seizing the position of crown prince and later inherited the throne. Li Shimin had talent in literature and military affairs. He was good at listening to suggestions from others and using talents properly. He ruled the country wisely, loved his people well, and punished the criminal relatives equally as other criminals who gained the heart of people longing for living consumption. Thus, he created great achievement in his Zhenguan period, the age of the Tang Dynasty.
Genghis Khan, Emperor Tai of Yuan, was named Temujin. After 1201, he conquered several tribes including Tataer, Naiman, Mieercang, and other small tribes for three years in succession; then he beat Zhamuhe and unified the whole Mongolia. In 1206, all the slaveholder lords held a general meeting on the banks of the Enen River. They unanimously supported the 44-year-old Temujin, as the khan of the whole of Mongolia, honored as ‘Genghis Khan’. It also symbolized the official establishment of the first unified regime in the history of Mongolia.
After the establishment of the unified Mongolian empire, Genghis Khan began the plan of marching southward and unifying the whole country. In 1218, he sent his army to attack West Liao and then West Xia, defeating the troops of West Xia. In 1211, the Mongolian army attacked Jin and occupied Zhongdu. In 1219, Genghis Khan led his army to invade Hualazimo (the Central Asian part of the Soviet Union, Afghanistan and Iran, nowadays), which had 400,000 soliders, and the wars of invasion and expansion began. The Mongolian troops did not stop until they reached what is Georgia, the Caucasus, and Russia today.
Genghis Khan changed the situation of the long-term struggle and battle among the Mongolian tribes, strengthened economic construction, and played a progressive role in the development of Mongolian society.
In the later years of Ming Dynasty, politics was getting more and more corrupt and the frontier defense was getting looser and looser. Jianzhou Jurchen, a branch of the Jurchens in northeast China, took the opportunity and expanded their force. Under the leadership of Aisin Gioro Nurhaci, they gradually became strong. In 1616, believing that the time was ripe, Nurhaci came to the throne and honored himself as the khan with the support of the Eight Banners lords. The state title was decided as Great Jin, which was called the Later Jin.
Huangtaiji, the son of Nurhaci, inherited the sovereignity and unified China. The Qing Dynasty came to its heyday during the age of Kangxi, the grandson of Huangtaiji. When Kangxi took over the reign, he eradicated Oboi and began to decide state affairs. He pacified the ‘Revolt of the Three Feudatories’ and quieted the divisive behavior of Zheng Jing, the son of Zheng Cheng-gong. Then Taiwan and the Pescadores returned to the domination of the Qing Dynasty. Kangxi headed the crusades against Geerdan three times from 1680 to 1697, the captain of Junggar in Sinkiang who always invaded inward. The chaos caused by war was gradually calmed and aggression among northern minorities was prevented. From then on, the Qing Dynasty commanded the whole country and passed to the frontier. Kangxi completed the great undertaking of the unification of the motherland, which had been a great dream of all the people since the Ming Dynasty.
Emperor Qianlong was shrewd in literature and military affairs. He paid much attention to the development and expansion of agriculture and advocated land reclamation, guaranteeing that the consumption demand of the population for grain would be increased year by year. For this, he formulated various policies and measures to develop agriculture and develop the economy. Qianlong emphasized the integrity and unity of the country. He started several wars in frontier regions and suppressed the tribal revolt of Junggar, Hui, and Big and Small Jinchuan. In order to better safeguard the territory, he ordered that the name of Western Regions should be changed to Sinkiang (new territory in meaning), and assigned generals and counselors to Yili to administer the military and governmental affairs in the north and south Tian Mountains; thus the frontier defense in the northwest was permanently solidified.
After the prosperity and growth during the reign of Kangxi and Qianlong, the economic development and overall national strength of China had lagged behind the world because of their prejudice against science and technology. The consumption resource and wealth of China have long been destroyed and divided by conquering imperialist countries.
China was first invaded by the imperialist countries such as the Russian Empire early in the reign of Kangxi. The war for the border area began when the Russians attempted to invade the vast Chinese territory. According to the Treaty of Nerchinsk, signed in 1689, the border between China and the Russia Empire was defined as the Eerzuona River and the Geerbiqi River, and eastward along the Stanovoy Range to the sea. China had the territory east of the rivers and south of the range while Russia had the land west of the rivers and the north of the range. Russia promised to destroy the Albazin fortress and withdraw troops from Chinese territory. There were no border issues for 150 years after that, and the frontier was peaceful.
In the later years of the Qing Dynasty, various imperialist powers began to invade and divide China abetted by the corruption of the Qing Dynasty and the misery of the people. The first Opium War broke out, followed by the indemnity. After the first Opium War ended, western powers signed the Sino–French Treaty of Huangpu, the Sino–British Treaty of Tianjin, the Sino-Russian Treaty of Tianjin, the Boxer Protocol, and the Treaty of Shimonoseki with China. After more than 100 years, the consumption resources of China had been divided up by the world powers, and vast Chinese consumption wealth had been plundered.
During their whole history, feudal dynasties oppressed and exploited the vast laborer class and made it difficult for them to survive. The repeated revolts of the laboring masses, such as the peasant uprising led by Li Zicheng and the huge peasant uprisings of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, demonstrated how the laborer class rebelled for the purpose of guaranteeing its own survival and living consumption.
The rise of the Chinese bourgeois democratic revolution finally changed the above-mentioned violent system of dynastic replacement. Under the leadership of Sun Yat-sen, the temporary government of the Republic of China was founded in Nanjing on New Year’s Day 1912. Sun Yat-sen augustly took the oath of office with the people’s approval. Feudal imperialism, which had lasted for more than 2,000 years, had collapsed at last. The ancient land of China became a bourgeois republic. It was a great milestone in history.
In 1927, Chiang Kai-shek betrayed Sun Yat-sen’s three guiding principles of allying with Russia, allying with the Communist Party, and supporting workers and peasants and began to slaughter communists and progressive workers and peasants. Owing to their survival consumption demand, the Chinese Communist Party led workers and peasant masses to carry out nationwide revolts such as Armed Uprising in Nanchang, the Autumn Harvest Uprising and the Guangzhou Uprising, and they began the longterm life-and-death war against people-suppressing reactionaries with Chiang Kai-shek as the leader. During this process of struggle, the War of Resistance against Japan was added then. On October 1, 1949, the proletariat, vast laboring masses and patriots, who had been led by the Chinese Communist Party, gained the victory of the Liberation War and founded the People’s Republic of China.
In 1873, the Meiji government issued the Recruiting Order, thoroughly breaking the feudal samurai’s privilege to control military affairs and beginning to implement a general compulsory military service system. At the end of the 19th century, as Japan expanded more quickly, the status of the army increased and its political influence gradually exceeded that of the cabinet, and a militarism system was established in Japan.
In 1874, Japan invaded Taiwan and compelled the Qing Dynasty to sign the Treaty of Beijing, an unequal treaty. In 1879, Japan officially absorbed Ryukyu. In 1876, the Japanese government compelled the Korean government to sign the Japanese–Korean Treaty of Reconciliation – the Treaty of Ganghwa – letting Japanese power enter Korea and preparing the way for their invasion of Korea and China later. After the Sino–Japanese War in 1895, the defeated Qing Dynasty was compelled to sign the Treaty of Shimonoseki with Japan, with an indemnity of 30 million tael of silver. Through the Treaty of Shimonoseki, Japan occupied Taiwan, the Pescadores, and Korea for a long time, deepening their exploitation there, and taking them as a springboard to further invade China. World War I broke out in August 1914. On August 23, Japan declared war against Germany. Fishing in troubled waters, they not only sent troops to seize German power in Shandong, China, but also occupied the Marwill Islands, the Mariana Islands, and the Caroline Islands in the South Pacific under Germany’s leadership. From the 9.18 Incident in 1931 to 1932, Japan operated as a puppet government of ‘Manchukuo’, putting northeast China under Japanese colonial rule.
In 1937, Japan’s Hirohito government started an aggressive war against China, beginning with the July 7 Incident and the September 13 Incident. Thereafter, with the increase of Japanese power and fascist’s power over the army, Japan set up a fascist alliance with Germany and Italy, and in the end started World War II.
Just as Mao Zedong predicted, Japanese aggression inspired the spirit of the Chinese people to fight. China conducted a difficult anti-aggression war for eight years, breaking the Japanese dream of invading China and dominating East Asia. Many invaded Asian countries were anti-Japan, and there was an anti-fascist movement throughout the world. After the Pearl Harbor Incident, the United States joined the world anti-fascist camp. With the effect of these factors, the process of the death of Japanese imperialism was quickened.
During the 100-year history of the Russia Empire from the early 19th century to the early 20th century, invasion never stopped, fuelled by war. Russia endlessly destroyed consumption resources and consumption wealth through war consumption, while wealth was consumed in endless wars.
In April 1828, the Russian Czar Nicolas I started the war against Turkey with 150,000 armed soldiers. In 1830, the Russian Czar sent an army of 5,000 soldiers to suppress the Polish national revolt against Russia. In 1853, in order to obtain greater power along the Black Sea, Russia sent troops into Turkey. The isolated Russia was defeated in the end and compelled to sign a treaty in March 1854. In 1877~1878, the Russian–Turkish War broke out again. Meanwhile, the Russian Empire was intensifying its aggression against its neighboring country in the east – China. Within several decades, Russia seized about 1.5 million square kilometers in the northeast and the west of China and obtained many privileges, which damaged the interests of China. At the end of the 19th century, the national territory of Russia was finally determined. After 350 years of violent annexation and colonized expansion, the territory of Russia had sharply increased from 2.8 million square kilometers to 22.8 million kilometers, making it a huge empire across Asia and Europe. However, Russia’s essential weakness was disclosed by the loss of the Japanese-Russian War in 1904.
During the 126 years from 1607 to 1733, Britain built 13 colonies along the Atlantic from New Hampshire in the north to Georgia in the south, which later became the 13 original states of the United States. From 1752 to 1755, the population in the colonies sharply increased to 1.06 million.
In October 1765, the delegates from nine colonies held a meeting in New York and passed a law whereby British colonial peoples and local British people would enjoy the same natural rights and freedom, asking the North Americans to resist British trade. Between September 5th and October 26, 1774, the delegates from 12 colonies (no delegate was sent from Georgia) met in Philadelphia to hold the First Continental Congress. General unity was realized. On October 14, the Declaration of Rights was passed, stating that colonies would cease economic relations with Britain, and instead would support the movement to resist trade with Britain. On May 10, 1775, the Second Continental Congress was held in Philadelphia. It was suggested in the Congress that each colony should establish a new government to replace the colonial office. A military decision was passed by the Congress on June 15, 1775, which was to organize and equip an official army (the Continental Army). On July 6 1775, the Declaration on the Reason and Necessity of Force was passed through, alleging that those in the army would ‘prefer to die as a free man, rather than live as a slave’.
The American War of Independence had three phases: the war in defensive stage from April 1775 to October 1777; from October 1777 to March 1781, the phase of strategic stalemate started with the symbol of the victory at Saratoga when the main battlefield moved to the southern region; and the strategic counterattack stage from April 1781 to September 1783. On September 3, 1783, Britain and America signed the Treaty of Paris. Britain officially acknowledged the independence of the United States.
The United States expanded its territory westward by way of war, destroying consumption resources. The American frontier rapidly moved west between 1800 and 1860. In the later 18th century and early 19th century, pioneers from western New York State came to the west through Kentucky and Tennessee and to Georgia in the south. Twenty years later, the frontier had moved to Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois and later to Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota in the north, to Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi in the south. Later, the United States expanded its territory in two directions. In the southwest, it added Texas in 1845, and gained California, Nevada, New Mexico, and most of Arizona after a war against Mexico during 1847 and 1848 while half of the Mexican territory was destroyed. In the northwest, the United States threatened with diplomatic force and occupied Oregon in 1846. In the end, the two expansion lines met in California, completing its occupation in the west.
Spain is in the Iberian Peninsula, the southwest of Europe. The national religion is Catholicism. During the fights against Arabian rule, Spanish Christians formed several small countries, then gradually unified and formed several bigger Catholic countries.
Spain fought against the rule of Arabian kings to liberate Iberia from 1076 to 1492. Spanish troops entered Granada, where the last kingdom of Arabs in Spain resided, and ended the Muslim rule in Western Europe, completing the five-century-long movement of regaining its lost land.
After years of war, Spain gained a great victory and vast territory consumption resources and wealth. However, the huge consumption for wars depleted its state treasury. Queen Isabella even sold her jewels to cover the expense. In 1492, Columbus led three ships Saint-Maria, Pinta, and Nina, and 120 sailors to sail west. They discovered Cuba, Haiti, some other islands and tobacco, and occupied the northern seacoast of Haiti and established the first colony ‘La Navidad’. Columbus made three more voyages. He died in Bali in 1506.
Spain conquered the West Indies through war. The islands discovered by Columbus in his first voyage were called the West Indies, to distinguish them from the real India. Half a year after Columbus returned to Spain, he started his second voyage, which was a real colonial journey. Columbus’ crew had a fight with local people on arriving in Haiti. The battle was a decisive one in the history of Spanish colonization in America, and a typical event with universal implication in the American Indian genocide history. In 1496, Bartolome Columbus, the younger brother of Columbus, founded Santo Domingo City in Haiti, which was the first permanent Spanish colony in America. In 1502, Obando, a big lord, established the seat of government officially in Haiti. Based in Haiti, the Spanish extended their colonization in all directions. They occupied Puerto Rico in 1508, taking San Juan as the main colonial settlement. They entered Jamaica in 1509. They began the blood conquest in Cuba in 1511 so cruelly that the Spanish Bartolome Falasikasas who went with them was infuriated and thought they should desist. He began a holy war to save the local natives. He was the famous ‘Disciple of Indians’. The establishment of San Diego in 1514 marked the completion of the Cuban conquest.
Spain conquered Mexico by war consumption. After establishing themselves in the West Indies, the Spanish began their expansion on American continent. In 1518, Kanlaskesis, Governor of Cuba, decided to send Cortez to conquer Mexico. At the end of 1520, Cortez surrounded the Aztecs with more than 800 Spanish soldiers, 2500 Indian soldiers and 60,000 Indian allied troops who had arrived successively at Cortez’s order. The city was occupied on August 13, 1521. At the cost of 240,000 people’s death from battle, starvation, and disease in the city, Cortez win the victory over the consumption resources of the invaded territory. After burning the city, the Spanish forced the Aztecs to change the city’s name to Mexico City.
The Spanish invaded Peru to conquer the Incan Empire. Spanish troops were courageous and good at fighting. The invading troops consisted of only 180 persons and 27 horses. From January 1521 to 1532 they killed the Emperor Atahualpa and founded a colonial government. By 1535, they had occupied all the territory of the Incan Empire and destroyed huge consumption wealth.
Spain conquered the Philippines, realizing the dream of being a global empire in Europe, America, and Asia. After conquering America and Africa by war, the Spanish dreamed of conquering the Philippines and China, founding an Asian colony, realizing a global empire. In April 1571, Legaspi led 230 men on a voyage to Manila in 23 fast ships. In May, he declared that they had occupied Manila, beginning Spanish colonial rule. Afterwards the Spanish gradually occupied other places of Luzon. Philip II realized his dream of occupying Asia and a ‘sun-never-set empire’.
Spanish colonists thought that directly destroying Indian wealth was a simple but temporary method. The Spanish planted sugar canes and produced sugar in the colonies, and then they sold the sugar in Europe, creating an industry with high profits. In 1493, the Spanish took livestock to America for the first time, beginning stockbreeding in America. Spain also cultivated mining resources in their colonies.
The history of Spanish colonial development was one of aggression and bloody national war and an evil history of destroying foreign consumption resources, destroying foreign consumption wealth and conquering foreign nations. The perishing of many Spanish colonies was the consequence of a progressive revolutionary history of resisting destroying consumption resources and fighting for survival by the colonial people.
The reasons for Britain becoming the ‘empire the sun never set on’ can be summed up in two ways. First, the Glorious Revolution broken out on July 30, 1688, in England. The revolution set the foundation for the British constitutional monarchy system, and provided advantages for developing capitalism rapidly in Britain. Second, British industry developed rapidly. Especially after Watt invented the steam engine in 1787, the Industrial Revolution started and developed, rapidly making Britain an industrialized and powerful nation. Because of the industrialized production consumption of capital commodity and commodity exchange, Britain became a militarized and powerful nation, and the productivity of its consumption society multiplied. As a result, Britain resisted the invasion of French army led by Napoleon, facilitated the forming of the Anti-France Alliance five times, and finally defeated Napoleon.
From the 17th century to the end of the war between Britain and France in 1763, Britain had already established a huge first empire centered on its North America colonies. The establishment of the First Empire symbolized that Great Britain had become the most powerful colonial empire in the world and provided a broad exterior market for Britain to become a ‘world workshop’ later.
The first colonial war contending for British hegemony was the Augsburg Alliance War from 1689 to 1697, which was also called ‘the King William’. During the period from 1702 to 1711, Britain and France fought over the Spanish succession again. Britain became the biggest winner in this war. Britain expanded its empire, strengthened its sea power, and developed its foreign trade to gain greatest benefits. From 1759, the British army defeated the French Mediterranean Sea Fleet and Atlantic Fleet successively and basically eliminated the French marine military force. When the war ended in 1763, Britain signed the Treaty of Paris of 1763 with France. This treaty laid the foundation of the British Empire; Britain set up the global hegemony over its colonies and commerce; and Britain unceasingly turned India, the West Indies, South Africa, and Australia into its colonies. The British colonial empire provided the consumer market and the material resources market for the merchandise created in Britain industrialized productive consumption. In the 18th century, the commercial trading circle, which radiated from Britain to all its colonies, had been formed.
Before industrialization, Britain had already developed an external market. Both the exchange of consumer goods and the demand for foreign consumer goods stimulated production and promoted the birth of the Industrial Revolution, which was a breakthrough of the traditional production mode.
• The technological revolution made industrial production move into a large-scale industrial production pattern. Thus it changed the economic market and promoted the development of industry over agriculture, making the national economic structure transform from agriculture to industry.
• The development of the economy and productivity of the consumption society symbolized that the capitalist social factors had bred, grown up and matured in the feudal society. Then the bourgeois revolution and transformation could succeed and be consolidated and developed unceasingly.
After the Glorious Revolution in Britain there was a constitutional monarchy and a bourgeois democratic revolution. It guaranteed and promoted the development of a liberal capitalist economy in Britain.
Britain completed the Industrial Revolution in the 1840 s, allowing Britain to assume the position of world industry overlord. In 1850, British products constituted half the output of the world’s metal consumption product, cotton fabrics, and iron, and two-thirds of the coal output. Other British industries like the shipbuilding industry and railroad construction held first status in the world. In 1960, Britain produced 40–50% of the world’s industrial consumables and 55–60% of the European industrial consumables. In 1850, British foreign trade accounted for 20% of the total world trade and increased to 40% ten years later. The pound became an international currency. The rapid development of the British industrialized economy strengthened its comprehensive national power enormously, and the national defense consumption became more powerful and the warships, cannons, fast guns, and lightweight weapons developed rapidly. These all increased war’s aggressive force and further expanded the cost of aggression and the destruction of consumption wealth in the colony.
British colonial war consumption created the empire the sun never set on. Britain became the first industrialized country as a result of the Industrial Revolution. The history of Britain as the ruler of its colonial empire lasted for 350 years and Britain reached its developmental peak the 19th century; in 1800, the British empire included 1.5 million square miles of territory and 20 million people; in 1900, the British empire owned 11 million square miles of territory and ruled 390 million people, which accounted for one-quarter of the globe and one-quarter of the global population at that time. However, Britain’s native territory consisted only of 240,000 square miles. Nearly half of British territory consumption resources were obtained after 1874. The scale and commercial value of the newly obtained territory resources would go far beyond those of France and other big powers. The formidable British navy was the most important factor for Britain to carry on successful colonial expansion. The vast empire offered Britain favorable strategic advantages.
The British invasion and rule of the colonial territories and the national wars against the British colonial rule began to have a serious effect on national policy. The Anglo-Boer war was a watershed in British imperial history. Before this war the empire grew unceasingly, but afterwards, the empire was in decline. The British government proposed to establish a common customs regime in 1903 to guarantee that the empire would last forever. Each colony took a negative attitude. These two big tentative plans of imperial federation and imperial customs system were realized in the end, which indicated that the empire was quietly declining. The Colonial Conferences were held in 1902 and 1907 and changed their name to the Empire Conferences later. The Empire Conferences provided huge manpower and physical resources for Britain in World War I and made great contributions to Britain’s success. But at the same time, the Empire Conferences offered every colonial government an equal status with the British home government day after day and provided a bigger power for the centrifugal trend of the colonies. When World War I ended, especially after the anti-colonial ruling revolution of martial consumption and struggle for independence in India succeeded, the Great British began to collapse globally.
The period from the end of 10th century to the middle of the 15th century could be regarded the French Middle Ages. Before 1302, France had been under the feudal monarchy system, in which the king’s authority gained the acknowledgment of feudal dukes, and the king was the sovereign of the highest authority.
After Philip IV ascended to the French throne in 1285, he combined national territory. The Anglo–French dispute over territory from the early 14th century to the middle 15th century became the reason for French unification process at that time, in particular. As the final victor of the Hundred Years War, French King Charles VII regained the British royal territory consumption resources in France. But part of Calais was still occupied by the English; some aristocrats still maintained relative independence in the country, and the reunification was still not completed. During the rule of Louis XI (from 1461 to 1483), some feudal aristocrats headed by the Duke of Burgundy (bold Charles) formed the Public Welfare Alliance. In 1477, Charles died in battle at the Nancy campaign, and Louis XI seized the opportunity to take back the kingdom of Burgundy and Pierre Cardi. Therefore another big barrier to French unification was eliminated. Around that period, Louis XI took back the aristocratic territories of the Duke of Ajanta, the Duke of Armonk, and the Duke of Provence, one after another. He created his own kingdom with brand-new spirit and became the starting point of French prominence and power.
France moved toward consumption for an aggressive expansion to plunder resources from consumption for the justice war. For geographical resources, France had been in the middle of war with powerful countries for a long time. France was also in a war in which it invaded other countries to extend territory and take their consumption resources and wealth for a very long time.
From 1337 to 1453, the Hundred Year War between Britain and France lasted about 116 years, on and off. During the war, France was split into several parts, which separated into separate kingdoms; henceforth, three Frances came about.
In the later period of the Hundred Years War, the French people’s national consciousness continued to develop and patriotic defense of the emperor became the theme at that time under inspiration of St Joan of Arc. Therefore, the extension of royal power was provided with a stronger social basis. It was in this situation that French King Charles VII (1422–1461) gained the victory that his ancestors had long dreamed of. The most important victory was the acquisition of taxing power and a spared standing army. During the rule of Louis XI (1461–1483), no effort was to strengthen royal power. By the end of the 15th century, the French economy had recovered from the war’s destruction. After the 16th century, a capitalist handicraft industry developed very rapidly. Together with the prosperity of industry and commerce, French agriculture accelerated the process of disintegrating the feudal lord system and the building feudal landlord system. And the Price Revolution started in the end of the 15th century directly caused the rise of ‘noblesse de robe’ and the decline of the ‘sword aristocrat’.
Until the time of Louis XIII (1610–1643), the centralism of the feudal monarchy and the state’s power was strengthened. And the earliest newspaper in French history, Quest France, was launched in 1630, which was used as the vehicle for his centralized politics. Another important action was the establishment of the French Research Institute, which was an official cultural organization attempting to standardize activities in the cultural domain throughout France. In March 1661 Louis XIV succeeded to the crown and further strengthened royal power. He began to change just French wars to foreign aggression, plundered the martial consumption of consumption resources and wealth in other countries, and fought over European hegemony. During the 54 years when Louis XIV reigned, France was unexpectedly in a state of war for 31 years. Until July 1686, the Holy Roman Empire, Spain, Holland, and Sweden formed the Augsburg Alliance against France. In 1688, Britain joined the alliance, and the alliance started the war against France. After this war had gone on for ten years, Louis XIV stopped the war to sue for peace. They signed the Ryswick Treaty in 1697, and France withdrew from all the territories it had occupied after Nimewigan Treaty. Louis XIV moved toward empiric decline and the aggressive expansion war of consumption resources ended.
The rise of the European Enlightenment preceded the revolution. People probably started to know nature scientifically during the 16th century. In 1564, Copernicus published On the Revolutions of Heavenly Spheres in which he proposed there was a the heliocentric universe. Galileo (15641642) and J. Kepler (1571–1630) proved and developed this theory further, not only realizing the astronomy revolution but also arousing a revolution in the view of nature, scientific epistemology, and methodology. Thus the general and fuzzy understanding of nature developed into thorough and careful research. Bacon (1561–1624) in Britain was the first man to research the scientific method systematically and he treated it as the principle of investigating knowledge. He named his work about scientific methodology New Instrumentalism to show he was the founder of scientific methodology. Descartes (1596–1650), the founder of analytic geometry, elaborated the mechanical materialism in ‘the physics’ in his book Principle Philosophiae and regarded nature as a unified material world. The essence of nature had malleability. God’s first push made material particles in chaotic state form a swirling motion and organized them through exclusion and attraction.
April 28, 1684, was the greatest day in human history because on this day Newton proposed his Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica to the Royal Society of London. Kant (1724–1804) was both a philosopher and a natural scientist. In the field of philosophy, he was the founder of German classical philosophy while in the field of natural sciences he was famous for proposing the hypothesis of the nebula originated in the solar system. Hegel (1770–1831) said that the essential factor of truth was the concept, and the real form of truth was a scientific system. Based only on concept, the life of science could become an organic system. Only by being taken as a science or a system could knowledge be realized and expressed. French philosopher and mathematician Baska invented the first mechanical drive computer in 1787. Watt invented the steam engine in 1787. Adam Smith (1723–1790), in An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, revealed the relations between the bourgeoisie and the working class, the contradiction of the relations of exploitation, commodity production, and exchange of currency and capital, and the facts that consumption commodity exchange created the merchant class and wealth.
In Europe at this time culture was very progressive and the development of newspapers, the publication industry, and printing promoted the cultural propaganda and educational movement. The so-called Enlightenment was a public opinion campaign before it was a revolution. This movement encouraged oppressed and exploited slaves in extreme misery to struggle for their benefits and consumption survival, and agitated that true revolutionary action must be the conducted on the basis of a good plan, organization, and leaders to realize their goal.
The armed uprising in Paris on July 14, 1789, was a great revolution of the bourgeoisie fighting against the feudal dynasty of Louis XVI. Capitalist social factors were already mature in the French industrial developmental process and in the French feudal social matrix.
The great French martial consumption of revolution in 1789 had significance for human progression. It is clear when studying the historical background and reasons for the French Revolution that such a revolution could erupt in France only at the historical stage of that time. And at the same time, martial consumption made martial talents such as Napoleon heroes. But it was martial consumption that destroyed itself finally.
The French Revolution in 1789, after the success of the bourgeois revolution, stilled Jacques Song’s right-wing dictatorship and established the Thermidorian Party to supervise the government; and it led the revolution to a national war of patriotism. In October 1797, France and Austria signed the Canburgh Fumieul Treaty, which stipulated that Austria should acknowledge France’s seizing of Belgium, the Rhine’s west bank, and the Republic established in northern Italy. This was an acknowledgment that France occupied the ‘natural border’ that it had dreamed of for several centuries, which consisted of the Rhine River, the Pyrenees, and the Alps. After the defeat of the anti-French alliance, France began to rise as a hegemonic state.
After Brumaire’s coup d’état in 1799, Napoleon had no choice but to defeat the foreign enemy to maintain his powerful national status. After the victory in the Marengo Campaign over Austria in 1800, Napoleon used confliction inside the Anti-French Alliance to isolate Britain, which was forced to accept negotiations. In 1802, England and France signed the Armin Treaty, which marked the end of the Anti-France Alliance and the establishment of French superior status in Europe.
Napoleon proclaimed himself emperor and unofficial martial consumption of hegemony and counter-hegemony competed with each other. Since the French Revolution, Napoleon had embarked the supreme ruling position in France with a slogan of national revolution, and obtained the French people’s reverence and respect, becoming a national hero. But he announced himself Emperor of France in May 1805 to equate his position with that of a feudal emperor. It led to the opposition of powerful countries in Europe because he attempted to dominate Europe like the Roman Empire had done.
The countries of the Anti-French Alliance battled with France on sea and on land separately. The British Navy gained a total victory in the Trafalgar Naval Battle in October 1805. The Spanish army, French army, and French navy, superior to the British navy in numbers, were annihilated completely. Napoleon’s attempt to land on the British Isles was completely defeated. But in the land campaign, the French army won a total victory. Next Napoleon defeated the fourth Anti-France Alliance. With a need for allies to cope with Britain jointly, Napoleon was extremely magnanimous to Russia after defeating it. In July 1807, both countries signed the Treaty of Tilsit, and carved up some of the land of Russia’s former ally, Prussia. Under Napoleon’s economic blockade, Britain also fell into isolation in politics. During 1807 and 1808, British trade was facing many difficulties and exports dropped dramatically. Especially in 1808, custom tax value and declared value were dropping a little more drastically than before; the loss of the European market was also a heavy loss to Britain’s economy. However, blockade and anti-blockade was a double-edged sword. It caused huge financial problems to Napoleon and became the reason why Napoleon was defeated.
Napoleon’s empire was made to pay for his actions because of the cost of his aggressive wars. After the anti-France revolution erupted in Spanish capitals in May 1808, the revolt spread rapidly to every region of Spain. Meanwhile, the Portuguese fought against French invasion. In August 1808, Britain sent the young Wellesley (later Lord Wellington) to command troops and land in Portugal. The Peninsular War started. With the support of the Portuguese army, the British army ambushed the French army from Portugal. Being defeated repeatedly, Napoleon exhausted the consumption wealth of his empire, which began to decline.
The Napoleonic Empire then defeated the fifth anti-France alliance. After defeating Austria and signing the Vienna Peace Treaty, Napoleon’s Empire continued to grow. From 1810 to 1811, France had successively annexed the Netherlands, Warri in Switzerland, and various states in Germany to the north of Lippe and Traver River. Meanwhile, Napoleon had also increased the intensity of the blockade against Britain. Blockade and annexation combined became the two big props of the Napoleonic Empire. Napoleon’s expansion and the economic blockade seriously harmed and further threatened the assets of Britain and Russia. Dissatisfaction toward Napoleon caused the rebellious behavior of the Russia czars. In June 1812, Napoleon commanded large-scale armies of 700,000 soldiers to invade Russia. In December of that year, when the French army finally withdrew from Russia, of Napoleon’s 700,000 soldiers only 50,000 or so were left. Napoleon’s invasion of Russia failed, and accelerated the collapse of the Napoleonic Empire.
At this time, Britain – Napoleon’s main enemy – organized the sixth anti-France alliance. In October 1813, the two parties fought in Leipzig. Napoleon’s army was badly defeated and the Napoleonic Empire disintegrated rapidly. On April 6, 1814, Napoleon was compelled to abdicate. The Napoleonic Empire was thoroughly destroyed. On May 30, 1814, France signed the First Paris Peace Treaty with the anti-France alliance. The Napoleonic Empire was dead.
On May 30, 1814, France signed the First Paris Peace Treaty with the Anti-France Alliance and announced the demise of the Napoleonic Empire. Louis XVIII succeeded to the throne of France. In June 1814, Louis XVIII signed the new constitution called the 1814 Charter. In its 74 articles, it displayed concessions to the achievements of the Revolution and reflected orthodox ideology and the tendency to restore the legitimacy of the ancient regime. After the death of Louis XVIII, his younger brother Charles X succeed to the throne; the Bourbon dynasty further intensified to restore ‘the throne and the sacrificial altar’ as ‘theocracy politics’ in the social construction, and launched a vengeful counterattack. Parisians became angry and launched a revolt on July 27, 1830. On July 29, the Louvre and Tuileries Palace were seized by the rebels, so the rule of Bourbon dynasty ended.
In February 1848, a mammoth people’s revolution to overthrow the old feudal dynasty finally erupted. The following general election had the new political power come into being. As a result, Louis Bonaparte was elected as the Republic’s president; he had no direct relation to the February Revolution. Louis Bonaparte took on the restoration of the empire his uncle, Napoleon Bonaparte, had started; he eliminated all barriers and made a coup in December, 1851. In 1852 he put on the crown of Napoleon III, started the second empire following the same old disastrous road of warfare. The foreign policies of Napoleon III were to implement an amicable consultation policy with Britain and a practical policy with Germany. In 1870, it was ended by the surrender of the army and its commander Napoleon III in the Franco–Prussian war, which initiated the revolution of the Paris commune. This revolution had significant worldwide historic importance. Afterward in 1871 Germany defeated France and annexed France’s Alsace region and part of Lorraine, which realized the unification of Germany.
On September 2, 1870, Napoleon III was defeated and surrendered in the Franco–Prussian war. Parisians began the revolution on September 4, and overthrew the second empire, but the fruits of victory fell into the hands of right wing bourgeoisie republicans and the monarchic Orleans party members who established the national defense government. On February 17, 1871, L.A. Thiers took the post as the head of French government. On February 28, the French–German peace treaty was signed. France ceded Alsace and big piece of the territory of Lorraine to Germany, and paid 5,000 million francs in reparations. The Thiers government humiliated the nation and forfeited its sovereignty, which aroused enormous indignation in the people. The Paris populace requested to establish a commune to supervise the government. On March 15, representatives from 251 camps in the national self-defense corps selected a Central Committee. In the early morning of March 18, the Thiers government sent the army out to attack Montmartre and the Ceaumen high land, attempted to capture the 417 cannons from national self-defense corps, and arrested the Central Committee members, thus triggering an armed uprising. In the evening, the national self-defense corps controlled the entire government and the bridge over the Seine in Paris. Thiers, the government members and their army, police, and government officials fled from Versailles in a panic. On March 26, Paris carried on the election, and on March 28 the Paris commune was established officially.
There were various reasons for the failure of the commune. At that time, France was not mature enough to let a socialist system substitute for a capitalist system. The class power balance between international and domestic affairs was disadvantageous to the proletariat. At the time of being defeated in the Franco–Prussian war, the French bourgeoisie was extremely weak, thus the revolt achieved success. Once Germany and France signed the peace treaty, the Bismarck government would support the Thiers government to suppress the commune; the power balance would radically change. The commune’s revolution did not obtain powerful coordination from the revolutionary movement of others, nor support from farmers; it fought a lonely battle, which would inevitably invite defeat became of the great disparity in strength. Because of the historical limitations of the French proletariat, certain serious errors were made. For instance, it did not grasp the opportunity promptly when the enemy was unprepared to march into Versailles; it did not confiscate the French Bank, which had assets of three billion French francs, and gave the bank the opportunity to provide funds to the Versailles government, and so on. In this critical period of warfare, the insiders of the commune committee had a serious difference of opinion about the gravity of the situation and the emergency measures it should adopt. The majority and minority parties emerged regarding the establishment of the nation saving committee, its authority and composition, and in the middle of May it was once on the verge of splitting. This indicated that without a mature proletariat party to lead the revolution, without a explicit guiding principle, it was impossible to unite the revolutionary ranks, or to adopt the correct tactics to sustain the revolution.
• The proletariat and working people should not abandon themselves to despair or accept brutal oppression and exploitation willingly; they should revolt and seize power when the opportunity is mature.
The German people suffered a lot during the war. Germanic peoples had endured for a long time the bitterness and suffering as the results of invasion and anti-invasion war, domestic struggles among religious forces, and the struggle between the religious and crown forces.
Prussia developed from a small, wild, and impoverished eastern area. Prussia’s King Arne Friedrich William I (1713–1740) built a powerful military over a long period of time. He carried out tyranny, broke down the Junker dictatorship, and weakened the aristocratic class of the direct intervention in government affairs. He had great success in internal affairs. When he died in 1740, he handed over the reins to his second son ‘the soldier king’. Subsequently, King Friedrich developed martial consumption supported by the concept of a ‘supremacy of national interests’. Military expenditure is the greatest consumption of the country.
During the seven year European war from 1756 to 1763, the country and army of King Friedrich went through severe tests, resisted the united offensive of Austria, Russia and France, and preserved the resources of affluent Silesia. After 1763, King Friedrich started the reconstruction of the country. He undertook a series of reform measures to recover and increase national strength. However, all these served to build the military. In 1780, Prussia became a military camp during peacetime.
The 1820 s was the beginning of modern industry in Germany. The handicraft industry underwent extensive development and transitioned to machine manufacturing. During the 1850 s and 1860 s, Germany had transitioned from an agricultural country to an industrial country and was involved wholly in world trade. Germany’s economy remained prosperous except for short-term depressions. German industrial strength already had been close to that of France. In the 1870 s, machine manufacturing in Germany had surpassed England and ranked first in Europe. The development of industry made the whole economic structure and class forces of German society increase rapidly, especially in Prussia. Most Germans began to become capitalists, and Prussia had turned from a feudal monarchy into the bourgeoisie monarchy, which was necessary to unify Germany. After the 1850 s and 1860 s, Germany’s industrial revolution and economic development had been a coercive power promoting unification.
In September 1862, Bismarck took the post of prime minister. He made the ‘iron blood speech’ on September 30, 1862, and claimed that the contemporary major problem then could not be dealt with through speech and resolution, but through iron and blood. Prussia was moving in the direction he indicated. Germany launched three dynastic wars and began to achieve national unification.
In autumn 1862, when Bismarck discovered that recurring problems in Schleswig-Holstein had intensified once again, and it was closely linked with the German national movement and the endeavor of liberalism, he intervened in the national movement immediately. After thorough planning, Austria and Prussia attacked Schleswig by alliance in July 1864 and defeated Denmark army quickly. Bismarck launched war against Austria in the second unification war and reshuffled the Austria Empire into a binary monarchy – Austria-Hungary in February 1867.
During the days after July 13, 1868, Bismarck provoked the wrath of Napoleon III by a modified telegraph published in a newspaper. On July 19, France declared war on Prussia. Germany soon smashed the French army and achieved unification, safeguarding resources and national wealth, and Germany economic development increased rapidly. The destruction of Napoleon III triggered the revolution of Brumaire 18th in Paris.
The reigning period of Kaiser Wilhelm II (1890–1918) was called the Wilhelm period. In 1914, the two hostile European empire groups were getting ready to fight and slaughter. Germany started the war. The Attentat von Sarajevo occurred on June 28, 1914, and became the fuse for World War I. The conflict had turned into a war spreading into the whole of Europe and all over the world within a month because of the German government’s behavior of adding fuel to fire. The Berlin uprising began on the morning of November 9, 1918. Emperor Wilhelm II fled to Holland. Hohenzollern in German history ended like this.
On November 8, 1918, German delegates were forced to sign the ceasefire agreement to end World War I. The Germany Empire was destroyed in the World War I it triggered. World policy for Wilhelm II failed. Not only was the country in disaster, but also the king himself abdicated and was exiled. His sorrowful result shows that pursuing power politics blindly eventually leads to failure.
Germany ceded land consumption resource and consumption of war reparations after the failure of World War I. The result provoked the resistance of German citizens who thought that the signer of the Versailles Peace Treaty was a national traitor and should be boycotted. By means of national resentment against the terms of the Versailles Peace Treaty, Hitler came to power and developed the Nazi system, which was called ‘national republic body’ theory. He claimed that war was ‘the fight of lineage to lineage and race to race’ and the purpose was to accomplish the mission of defending the ethnic group and race and establishing the country of a ‘national republic state system’, a national elite-led country. The principle of leadership by ‘a national elite’ was put forward. The leader is the representative of the interest and will of the nation and has absolute ruling power over the populace. Hitler declared that he was the only person who could consciously realize the three factors called ‘ethnic value’, ‘individual value’, and ‘self-protection potency’ in order to strengthen national forces and resist ‘national defense’, ‘democracy’, and ‘pacifism’, which weakened nationalism. And he was the only one who should possess absolute leadership.
Hitler’s national ideology was that Germanic peoples were the most superior in the world and should lead the world. Hitler’s inflammatory speech was not only full of superficial and vulgar sadness for the German romantic tradition, but also took advantage of the sentimentality of the middle class in Weimar Germany and aroused Germans’ national feeling. Hitler won the favor, connivance, and support of the upper class including right wing conservatives, army military headquarters, civil officials, and some landlords and industrialists, and became the prime minister of Germany as a result of a political coalition. Thereafter, Germany went into dark age of ‘the Third Reich’.
Nazi Germany’s aggressive nature was immediately displayed after Hitler came into power. He uncompromisingly withdrew from the World Disarmament Conference and the League of Nations in order to shake off the shackles of the Versailles Treaty, and he publicized and legalized the work of rearmament. He subsequently continued to carry out military adventurism to sound out the response of the international community. On the early morning of September 1, 1939, German troops crossed the border of Poland and launched a blitzkrieg strategy for war without a declaration of war. On September 3, 1939, Britain and France declared war on Germany, signifying the official start of World War II. People from various countries fought against Hitler. By March 24, 1945, the Red Army pushing forward from the East and American and British allied forces from the Normandy landings in the west liberated Europe. On May 7, 1945, Germany surrendered. On August 15, 1945, Japan surrendered.
Seen from the consumption developmental process of primitive human beings, we have solicited and created consumption materials ever since human life began. In the process of consumption, humans created family, clan, tribal society, and county prototypes of primitive community social systems. Mankind’s living consumption level has risen gradually because of the invention and creative development of productivity. In the development process of human living consumption, social consumption, and research and production consumption, part of human living consumption remained. A typical example was war captives. If they were not killed, they would be left as slaves. Thereby the slavery system came into being. Slaves created surplus consumption products, and the development process of three major consumptions also led to a slave society.
Furthermore, fine division of labor came into being in the process of production consumption because of the development of the productivity of a consumption society and the handicraft industry, especially the division of labor between agriculture and industry. Class, class oppression and exploitation, anti-oppression and anti-exploitation, and war expenditure developed. After the steam engine was invented, centralized proletariat ranks (working class) and class emerged after an intensive machine production developed. Humans created social elements of the feudal society in the consumption process because of the development of the productivity of the consumption society in the slave society. As the elements of feudal society gradually became mature in the development process of the slave society and new social system, the feudal society was established through reform and revolution. This process is a continual affirmation process of the development and progression of feudal society elements. It is also a continual negation process of the outdated slave society, and the process of gradual and partial quantitative changes toward the ultimate qualitative change. The birth of the feudal society was an affirmation while the demise of the slave society was a negation.
As the rule developed quantitatively, capitalist social elements were constantly brought about because of the development of productivity of a consumption society in feudal society. As the factors of capitalist society developed and became mature, gradually in the process of feudal society’s progress and development, as well as through social change or bourgeois revolutionary war consumption, feudal society was eliminated; a capitalist social system and socialist revolution were created, and a socialist system was established. The emergence and development of society were created by the three major consumptions, and family and nation were also created by consumption.
Civilization and the progress of human society are represented in the consumption for new technology and technology progress, which creates consumption for new and advanced tools and creates the progress of social civilization, which marks the scientific and technological level of productivity of a consumption society.
War consumption is the root of all evils even though it has a positive side. It was war consumption that created countries. The new countries’ superstructures act on the three major consumptions and thus the social economic foundation is more solid and the productivity of a consumption society is liberated, which makes social production relations better adapt to the development of productivity of consumption society so that new countries promote the civilization of society.
Mankind has entered the 21st century and created productivity of a consumption society with new technology and constantly pushes human civilization into new stages in the course of the development of the three major consumptions. Three major consumptions of mankind affect capital commodity production and free commodity exchange, which will benefit all countries. In recent times, global commodities of capital production and exchange have permeated into various countries and regions, although conflicts of interest and power exist in these countries and regions. However, as many countries’ economic interests are melded together, a military power launching a worldwide war would do harm to the interests of consumption countries if it neglected other countries’ consumption interests in such a world pattern. Besides, other countries would inevitably unite for their benefit and defeat the aggressive war consumption for plundering consumption resources and consumption wealth. The instigator of war is bound to fail finally. This pattern will stop or delay the occurrence of world war. There was an interval of only 20 years between World War I and World War II. Although World War II ended more than 60 years ago, there has been no world war since then, as people recognize that what affects one country affects others, as all countries intermingle through economic globalization and mutual interests.
The people in the world should fight against all unjust wars, build harmonious worldwide communities, and develop the productivity of a consumption society, thus pushing forward human beings to develop from one civilized and progressive stage to a higher level. World peace and human harmony are the eternal themes of constant demands and aspirations of humans.