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Essay: Karl Marx: The Life and Legacy of the Revolutionary Thinker

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Karl Marx was born in Trier, Prussia, which was known as Germany today, on May 5, 1818. He was the third child and was the oldest son of Heinrich Marx. From 1830 to 1835, Karl was educated at the Fried rich Wilhelm Gymnasium, formerly a Jesu it school. At the age of 17, Marx enrolled in the Faculty of Law at the University of Bonn, and then his father sent him to the University of Berlin. He studied philosophy at Universities in Bonn and Berlin, and by the time he turned 23, he had earned his doctorate degree.

 He was involved in radicalism at a young age through the young Hegelians, this group is a group of students who criticized the political and religious establishments of the day. In 1836, he then became engaged to Jenny von Westphalen, and they were then married in 1843. By the end of 1843, he arrived in Paris. During his first few months in Paris, Karl became a communist and set down his views in a series of writings, known as the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts.

 In those manuscripts, he outlined a humanist conception of communism. On February 24. 1848, he had a 23-page pamphlet that was published in London. In 1849, Marx moved to London, where he continued to study, write, and draw. During the first half of the 1850s, the Marx family lived in poverty in a three room flat in the SoHo quarter in London. By 1857, he had produced a gigantic 800-page manuscript on capital, landed property, wage labor, the state, foreign trade, and the world market. Multiple years later in 1883, Karl Marx died in London.  

Karl Marx in Between

While he was in Brussels, he devoted himself to do an intensive study of history and elaborated what came to be known as the materialist conception of history. Marx was one of the best and greatest in fighters of all time, and a lot of his writing was topical and ad hominem. He was also known as what was called the founder of discourse. He developed a new manuscript of which the basic thesis was that “nature of individuals depends on the material conditions determining their production.” Then he was convinced that “a new revolution is possible only in consequence of a new crisis” and then devoted himself to another study of political economy in order to determine the causes and conditions of this crisis. Not only was he an economist, but he was in many things, which included: economics, sociology, political science, history, and philosophy. Part of the economics, he wrote 10,000 pages on economics of the pure and simple. Marx produce works that retained their intellectual firepower over time, so today, his works still have a ton of meaning and are useful to us today in many different areas, and not just in economics. According to Marx, capitalism contained the seeds of its own destruction. As wealth became more concentrated, (in the hands of a few capitalists), he thought the ranks of an increasingly dissatisfied proletariat would swell leading to a bloody revolution and a classless society.

He wrote extensively on the economic causes of this process in capitalism, and he was the most influential socialist thinker to emerge in the 19th century. Karl Marx was largely ignored by scholars, his social, economic, and political ideas gained rapid acceptance in the socialist movement after his death. After his death, he became largely known, and his works has major impacts on everybody. Other than writing political commentary for the New York Tribune, he had no other source of income.

He was inspired by classical political economists, such as Adam Smith and David Ricardo, while his own branch of economics- Marxian economics- had largely fallen out of favor among modern mainstream thought. He had developed an important theory known as historical materialism. Nearly everything he wrote was viewed through the lens of the common laborer.

Karl Marx’s Impacts on The World Today After His Death.

The new modes of production, communication, and distribution had also created enormous wealth. There are two types of people in the world today: the people who owned the property, and the people who sold their labor to them. Karl wrote the Communist Manifesto, which summarizes Marx and Engels’ theories about the nature of society and politics, and it is an attempt to explain the goals of Marxism, and later on, it explains socialism. Another one of his famous writings was Das Kapital (full title: Capital: A Critique of Political Economy), which was a critique of capitalism. It is by far the most academic works he has. It lays forth Marx’s theories on commodities, labor markets, the division of labor, and the basic understanding of the rate of return to the owners of capital.

He believed all countries should become capitalist and develop that productive capacity, and then workers would naturally revolt into communism. Marx is addressed a wide range of political, as well as social issues, and is known for, among many other things, his analysis of history. While there has been a substantial revival of interest in his theories since the end of the cold war, mainly those which deal with the volatility and shape of capitalism, the question remains as to whether a man who died 125 years ago, still has relevance today.

Marxist ideas in their pure form have very few direct adherents in contemporary times; indeed, very few western thinkers embraced Marxism after 1898. Though he was the capitalist systems harshest critic, Marx understood that it was far more productive than previous or alternative economic systems. Like many other classical economists, Karl Marx believed in the labor theory of value to explain relative differences in market prices. He also understood the labor theory better than his predecessors and contemporaries and presented a devastating challenge to laissez-faire economists in Das Kapital.

Once communism collapsed in the Soviet Union and its satellites, however, Marx’s influence plummeted dramatically. Marx’s reputation was severely damaged by the atrocities committed by regimes that called themselves “Marxists.” Communism collapsed largely because, as practiced in the Soviet bloc and China under Mao, it failed to provide people with a standard of living. Those failures did not reflect flaws in Marx’s depiction of communism because he never depicted it. Marx did not arrive at this conviction through detailed studies of human nature under different economic systems. Marx transformed his “idealist” account into a “materialist” one, in which the driving force history is the satisfaction of our material needs, and liberation is achieved by class struggle.

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