According to Marx, human civilization has manifested itself in a series of organizational structures, each determined by its primary mode of production, particularly the division of labor that dominates in each of four basic stages. Those basic stages are: primitive communism, slave society, feudalism, and finally capitalism.
Marx writes that each stage or epoch created a new class or technology, such as the development of private property and large scale agriculture in the first stage, that would lead to its ultimate fall of that stage and rise of the next. Each passing stage would therefore raise the standard of living of the masses but also prove doomed to its own downfall because of internal contradictions and class conflicts generated by the circumstances of that particular stage of society, leading to the next stage. Thus the resulting final stage of any society is only possible because of all the other stages preceding it.