Monday, November 20, 2017

Karl Marx and Marxism - summary

    Karl Marx, who lived from 1818 to 1883, was an historian, a sociologist, a philosopher, a radical, and also an economist though his thought is now more prominent in sociology than it is in economics. It was this uniting of theory and political action that separated Marx from the other economists of his generation.  Marx spent his early life in Germany, but was expelled from that country in 1848 after a series of uprisings. He spent the rest of his life in England where he often collaborated with another German émigré named Friedrich Engels in their critique of capitalism.  It is reasonable to argue that no economist had as much influence on the subsequent history of the world than Marx -- for good or bad!  The communist countries of the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, and China were “Marxist”.  The social market economies of Western Europe were strongly influenced by his ideas.  His influence was also important in the policies of the countries that today are called the emerging nations. He might be considered “the father of socialism” although, as we will see, the word “socialism” means different things to different people.  In fact, Marx wrote very little about socialism --- the most famous work on the subject being The Communist Manifesto, published in 1847.  Nearly all of Marx’s writings were about capitalism – the most famous work was called The Capital (Das Kapital), published beginning in 1867. Another important earlier work by Marx that should be noted is "The German Ideology" publish in 1846.

Here is a list of summaries about some of Karl Marx's most important and influential ideas which serve as the basis for Marx's theory and of later Marxism: