Karl Marx and Marxism

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Karl Marx and Marxism

Karl Marx set the wheels of modern Communism and Socialism in motion with his writings in the late nineteenth century. In collaboration with his friend, Heinrich Engels, he produced the The Communist Manifesto, written in 1848. Many failed countries' political and socio-economic structures have been based on Marx's theories, for example the USSR, East Germany etc. Many people believe that Marxism is not applicable to today's society, as Karl Marx put forward his ideas not anticipating the type of society we have today. The welfare state system has effectively nullified Marx's arguments, and made them irrelevant.

Karl Marx, born on May 5, 1818, died on March 14, 1883, was a German economist, philosopher and revolutionist whose writings form the basis of the body of ideas known as Marxism. In his youth he was deeply affected by the philosophy of G.W.F. Hegel, and joined a rebel group called the Young Hegelians, which contributed ideas towards the movement against organized religion and the Prussian Autocracy. Later on in life, he was influenced by the writings of Ludwig Feuerbach, who wrote that God was invented by humans as a projection of their own ideals, and that in creating such a 'perfect' being, in contrast to themselves, mankind lowered themselves to lowly, evil creatures who needed guidance from the church and government. He said that, in creating God in their own image, humans had 'alienated themselves from themselves.'

Karl Marx applied this alienation theory to private property, which he said caused humans to work only for themselves, not for the good of their species. The idea is further explained in the following sentences. The people who do the work in a capitalistic society own none of the means of production, (ie. machines, raw produce etc.) that they use in their work. These are owned by the capitalists, to whom the workers must sell their 'labour power', or ability to do work, in return for a wage....
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