Karl Marx and Marxism

Essay by GonadsHigh School, 12th gradeA+, January 1996

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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...