History of Karl Marx

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Karl Marx was one of the great thinkers of modern times. Bornin Prussia, he led an itinerant existence and had various interests; in his youth he wrote lyric poetry, later he became a newspaper man, andeventually a theorist advocating social reform. Fromhis student days Marx was interested in philosophy (his doctoral dissertation concerned itself with aspects of Greek philosophical systems) and, after reading extensively in anthropology and economics, he arrived at a formulation of his own"philosophical anthropology" — the science of human beingsin society. Despite what has been proclaimed and enacted in his name (later in life he would protest that he was not a "Marxist" as the term had come to be understood), Marxwas concerned ultimately with human freedom, reviving the ancient concept of communism,wherein human beings could fulfill their cooperative roles within society without fear of exploitation. He saw the historical stage of capitalism as the "insidious" antagonist of such freedom; insidious because unlike serfdom (capitalism's predecessor in the evolution of social relations) capitalism was (is?) able to perpetuate the illusion of freedom even though its raison d'etre relies on those who have nothing to sell but their labor and those, who through the power of capital and property, exploit such labor for profit. It is important to point out that Marx did not view capitalism as an aberration in society's evolution toward true freedom, but as a necessary historical stage in that evolution. Evolution is a key term in Marxist theory and like Darwinism and Utopianism it partakes in the legacy of scientific and social thought ofthe nineteenth century. Some critics observe that, given thenature of the human species, Marx's thought is essentially Utopian. He believed, for example, that human beings (as opposed to other species)should not be burdened by one monotonous form of work,which (as automobile assembly-line workers will tellyou) produces not a pride or...
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