The first farmers in fertile regions taught themselves farming and storage methods that created harvests beyond the needs of the day. Very quickly soldiers, supported by priests, took power in each region, and their own numbers grew, gathering these new abundant harvests largely into their own hands, by means of taxes and direct seizures. Labour divided into groups described by Confucius and the Hindu caste system, the warriors, priests, artisans and farmers. With this division of labour the subjugation of farmers by warriors and priests was institutionalised, a subjugation that has never ended. This was the first inequality.
In this division of civilised labour, if it had not happened earlier, men established a general domination over women. It may have happened during the earlier ages of bare subsistence, but there is no way to tell; what we can see with our own eyes, is that in farming cultures women labour both at home and in the fields. In truth the farming life requires work from all. But from early on, women did as men required. And in each family, the control of legal power resembled the situation at large: the king and his heir dominated the rest. These were the second and third inequalities, of men over women and children.
The next small age saw the beginning of trade between the first civilisations, and the silk roads connecting China, Bactia, India, Persia, the Middle West, Rome and Africa moved surplus harvests around the Old World. Agriculture responded to new chances to trade and there was a great rise in production… The artisans also made new tools, and with them more powerful farming implements, and ships. Trading groups and peoples began to undermine the monopoly on power of the first military-priest empires, and money began to replace land as the source of ultimate power… By the time of the classical period, the changes brought by trade had unsettled the old ways and spread and deepened the first three inequalities, raising many questions about human nature.
Meanwhile trade in food and in luxury goods continued all across the Old World, in animals, timber and metals, cloth etc. and, more and more as the centuries passed, in slaves. The slaves came chiefly from Africa; and they became important because there was more labour to be done, while, at the same time the mechanical improvements allowing for more powerful tools had not yet been made, so all this new work had to be accomplished by animal and human effort alone. So, added to the subjugation of farmers, women, and the family, was this forth inequality, of race or group, leading to the subjugation of the most powerless peoples to slavery. And the unequal accumulation of wealth by the elites continued….