From my book:
Allow me to bring into the discussion the vulgar Soviet hierarchy of social orders. First, there was the (1) Stone Age communal order in which there were no economic distinctions.
Next came the (2) slave-owning society, where the worker was a slave.
Then (3) feudalism, at which point the worker was a serf, a definite improvement.
(4) Capitalism arose next, transforming the worker into a free mercenary. He worked hard for the man, but he played hard, as well.
The current stage, (5) socialism, has elevated the worker into master of productive activities.
The pinnacle of wonder, (6) communism, will abolish work as such; instead of enduring disutility of labor, people will play in pure bliss.
I like hierarchies; there are a few in this book, as well. They give you the big picture. They help ensure that the details cohere.
But great care must be taken when charting the outlines of the universe as whole: pitfalls await at every turn. In this case, the socialist theorizers decided to abolish the real world. There is no higher stage after capitalism, except for each individual as he enters glory in the afterlife. (I, 16)
I want to expand on that a little, regarding war and exploitation. The communal era featured total war. The conquering tribe annihilated its prey. They killed everyone and took everything.
The slave-owning society arose when the victors got the bright idea that they would benefit by sparing some people in the community they pillaged and making them their slaves. People can be useful this way.
Widespread slave-owning was later on replaced by serfdom in the feudal era. It turned out more profitable for the exploiters not to enslave people and thereby reduce their output to that similar to of dumb beasts of burden but to allow them to keep some fruits of their labor and tax the rest. Wealth creation was to that extent given a huge boost.
Capitalism is a much more modern invention. It “reduced the prestige of conquerors and expropriators and demonstrated the social benefits derived from business activity.” (HA, 8) Under laissez-faire, a worker is a free man, obligated to do nothing he contractually did not agree to. Under capitalism, institutional exploitation does not exist.
We see that taxation according to this scheme is a feudal remnant. It may be permissible on the local level for a few well-defined functions of the government. But in a truly free market, taxation would be a tiny percentage of what it is today. There would certainly not be such thing as a tax-supported federal government and even state governments. Taxes would be so trivial as to be almost unnoticed by an average worker.
Our society then is half-capitalist, half-feudal. But capitalism is the most perfect expression on the social level of the individual human nature. It cannot be beat. It is the end of history. There are many people in this world who live in the past, whose mentality belongs to ages come and gone, from feudalism all the way down. We must heal and uplift our own and their natures to usher in a fully capitalist society, rid of the influences of the inferior eras.
Capitalism’s only transcendence is such true love between people and God that all are united into a single vine-and-branches. Even then, as I point out,
Notice how profoundly charity differs from altruism: altruism is defined as “unselfish regard for or devotion to the welfare of others.”
But charity is ultimately perfectly selfish; it is just that it seeks the profit (whether in virtue or narrow happiness) of a united will, ideally, of the entire vine and branches.
Jn 15 and 1 Cor 13:3 illustrate. Love requires no sacrifices from the lover beyond those of ordinary choice. (II, 1)
And that ain’t happening anytime soon, and if it did, it would not abolish capitalism but fulfill it.