Karl Marx

Karl Marx (1818 – 1883)

Socialism: ‘From each according to his ability and to each according to his need(s).’ Karl Marx from his 1875 Critique of the Gotha Program
A German born philosopher, economist and sociologist, Karl Marx was born in 1818.   His theories influenced politics to the extent that more than a third of the world was under the political power of followers of his theories until the collapse of Soviet communism in the late 1980s.  

Marx was a revolutionary socialist and Marxism is the name given to his theories about society, economics and politics.   Marx believed that a capitalist society, one where goods and services are produced for profit, does not and cannot meet the needs of the majority of people.   Because capitalism exists to produce goods and services for the profit of a few powerful people who gain the most from such an arrangement, leading to conflict between the classes, Marx believed that capitalism was unstable.   Revolutionary socialists believe that the only way to dismantle capitalism is through revolution which would lead to a switch of power from the few capitalist elite to the majority working classes.

Along with Friedrich Engels, Marx produced his most famous work ‘The Communist Manifesto’ which was first published in 1948.   Marx and Engels had met in 1844 and that meeting led to a life-long friendship and shared political beliefs.   The Communist Manifesto is still in print and was the inspiration for many twentieth century communist regimes.   It sets out a theory (Marxist Theory) of a conflict of interests between the wealthy land-owning middle classes (the bourgeoisie) and the property-less working classes (the proletariat) and leads the reader to consider the argument for a socialist society where the proletariat would seize power from the bourgeoisie.   Marxist Theory states that a capitalist society allows for the exploitation of the many workers by the wealthy few who own the means of production.   The wealthy few...