Karl Marx

1818 - 1883

photo credits: Wikimedia Commons

Karl Marx (German: [maʁks]; 5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883) was a German-born philosopher, economist, historian, sociologist, political theorist, journalist, critic of political economy, and revolutionary socialist. His best-known works are the 1848 pamphlet The Communist Manifesto and the three-volume Das Kapital (1867–1894); the latter employs his theory of historical materialism in an analysis of capitalism, representing his greatest intellectual achievement. His theories and ideas, and their subsequent development, are collectively known as Marxism, and have exerted enormous influence on intellectual, economic, and political history. Born in Trier in the Kingdom of Prussia, German Confederation, Marx studied law and philosophy at the universities of Bonn, Berlin, and Jena, receiving a doctorate from the latter in 1841. While in Berlin, Marx was influenced by the Young Hegelians, disciples of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. Marx's radical political views prevented him from gaining an academic post, and he briefly turned to journalism. In 1843, he married Jenny von Westphalen. Marx fiercely critiqued Hegel in works such as The German Ideology (written 1846), though his influence is evident in works such as the Grundrisse (written 1857–1858). In Paris in 1844, Marx wrote his Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844 and met Friedrich Engels, who became his lifelong friend and collaborator. Marx next moved to Brussels, where he was active in revolutionary groups which merged to create the Communist League. In 1848, Marx and Engels wrote The Communist Manifesto, which expresses Marx's key ideas and ends with a call for revolution: "Working men of all countries unite!". Marx was expelled from Belgium and moved to Germany, but was again expelled and in 1849 moved to London, where he lived for the rest of his life. In England, he wrote The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (1852) and his major economic work, Das Kapital. In 1864, he helped found the International Workingmen's Association (First International), and he sought to fight the influence of anarchists led by Mikhail Bakunin. Poor health hindered Marx's work in his later years, though he notably wrote the Critique of the Gotha Programme (1875) on the German labour movement. Marx died a stateless person in 1883, and he was buried in Highgate Cemetery. Marx's critical theories about society, economics, and politics hold that human societies develop through class conflict. In the capitalist mode of production, this manifests itself in the conflict between the ruling classes (known as the bourgeoisie) that control the means of production and the working classes (known as the proletariat) that enable these means by selling their labour-power in return for wages. Employing a critical approach known as historical materialism, Marx predicted that capitalism produced internal tensions like previous socioeconomic systems and that these tensions would lead to its self-destruction and replacement by a new system known as the socialist mode of production. For Marx, class antagonisms under capitalism—owing in part to its instability and crisis-prone nature—would eventuate the working class's development of class consciousness, leading to their conquest of political power and eventually the establishment of a classless, communist society constituted by a free association of producers. Marx actively pressed for its implementation, arguing that the working class should carry out organised proletarian revolutionary action to topple capitalism and bring about socio-economic emancipation.Marx has been described as one of the most influential figures in human history, and his work has been both lauded and criticised. His work in economics laid the basis for some modern theories about labour and its relation to capital. Many intellectuals, labour unions, artists, countries and political parties worldwide have been influenced by Marx's work, often modifying or adapting his ideas. He is typically cited as one of the principal architects of modern social science. Source: Wikipedia (en)

Works about Karl Marx 45

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