"History, according to Karl Marx, is economics in 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 Greeks sought commercial control of the Dardanelles; economic ambition, not the face of Helen 'fairer that the evening air clad in the beauty of a thousand stars,' launched a thousand ships on Ilium; those subtle Greeks knew how to cover naked economic truth with the fig leaf of a phrase."
-Will and Ariel Durant, The Lessons of History