"History, according to Karl Marx, is economics is action - the contest among individuals, groups, classes and states for food, fuel, materials and economic power.

Political forms, religious institutions, cultural creations are all rooted in economic realities.

So the Industrial Revolution brought with it democracy, feminism, birth control, socialism, the decline of religion, the loosening of morals, the liberation of literature from dependence upon aristocratic patronage, the replacement of romanticism by realism in fiction - and the economic interpretation of history.

The outstanding personalities in these movements were effects, not causes;

Agamemnon, Achilles and Hector would never have been heard of had not the Greek sought commercial control of the Dardanelles;

Economic ambition, not the face of Helen "fairer than the evening air clad in the beauty of thousand stars" launched a thousand ships on Ilium;

Those subtle Greeks know how to cover naked economic truth with the fig leaf of a phrase."


The Lessons of History - Will Durant