Socialism is a recent, infant development in the whole, long history of the human species, yet its seeds and embryos have grown within each previous social formation worldwide.
Its essence in collective labour, sharing, solidarity, mutual support and human empathy has been evident in every human society. What has been unnatural and inhuman has been the theft of the collective production of people and the private ownership of land. This has occurred in relatively recent, class divided history since the first City states in Mesopotamia 5,000 years ago. It was this division into various forms of haves and have nots over the centuries that gave rise to new ideas of socialism which aspire to and predict a future without class division, the oppression of women, or ethnic groups.
Yet the full realisation of these socialist, human qualities comes about only when the material conditions for securing equality and a better life for all have been sufficiently developed. Socialism requires plenty, not penury. It requires a high level of education and awareness to sustain active democracy and an educated, conscious working class.
In 2018 humanity’s general capacity to control the natural, social and physical environments is advanced enough to eradicate starvation, poverty, unemployment, many more diseases and to repair the very climate damage its own activities of industrialisation have caused and prevent more damage in the future.
Each country has the wherewithal to provide free housing, education, healthcare, leisure and work for everyone, and to control prices on essentials in food, energy, housing and transport, medicines and so on.
What prevents the fulfilment of this aspiration is the private ownership of the productive forces. These should be at society’s collective disposal through democratic government.