Born in 1818, Karl Marx was a great philosopher, historian, economist, and journalist. This German Jew died in 1883. There are three sources that are believed to have a significant influence on Marxist ideas. These are the German idealistic philosophy, the political economy of the English and Scottish, and the French socialism. Both Emmanuel Kant and G.W.F Hegel had a greater influence on Marx's work. The dialect method by Hegel which Karl Marx adopted was a development of the reasoning by anatomies methodology that was used by Kant (Hofstadter, 1980 pg 112). The German Philosopher cum anthropologist, Ludwig Feuerbach also had an influence on Marx's work. Ludwig was of the proposal that the political and social needs of people should be interpreted as their foundation as well as their material needs. Marx noted the emphasis that Ludwig had on people and human needs as a movement towards understanding society in a material way (Marx, and Friedrich Engel 2002 pg 94).
Essential Writings of Karl Marx
At the end of 1843 when Karl Marx arrived in Paris, he edited the momentary Deutsch-Franzosische Jahrbutcher that was aimed at bridging the gap between French socialism and German radical Hegelians. In Paris, Karl became a communist and wrote down his ideas and views in a set of writing named Economic and Philosophy Manuscript in 1844. Marx explained the concept of communism basing his opinion on the Ludwig Feuerbach concepts and the difference between the alienated complexion of labor under communism and capitalist societies where people established their nature in collective production. When Marx was expelled from Paris, Marx he went to Brussels, where he wrote a manuscript known as The German Ideology whose basic was that material conditions determining people's production are what shaped their nature. He traced the history of different methods of production and forecasted the fall of industrial capitalism and its substitution with communism (Berlin, 2013 pg 39).
As Marx was composing the German ideology, he also wrote a diatribe called the Poverty of Philosophy which was against P.J. Proudhon's radical socialism between 1809- 1865. During the League conference in London in 1847, Marx and Engels were assigned the task of composing the succinct declaring their position which they named The Communist Manifesto (Marx, 2000 pg 49). When a revolution started in Germany in early 1848, Marx went back to Paris, and this is where he launched the Neve Rheinische Zeitung, a paper that supported a Democratic line against Prussian autocracy. When this document was suppressed Marx went to London in May 1849 (Hofstadter, 1980 pg 93)
How Relevant Are the Ideas of Karl Marx Today?
Through his ideas, Marx made people think about the society that they lived. His beliefs were meant to be a source of hope for a better life for the working class. Workers were supposed to be motivated by Marx's ideas since he was busy fighting their cause. Workers would work harder to suppress the famous capitalist society and introduce communism (Berlin, 2013 pg 50)
The ideas and concepts of Karl Marx on the nature of relationships between capitalist employers and their workers have proved to be true in the present day. The rich continue to look for employment from those with poverty (Marx, and Friedrich Engel 2002 pg 84). The communist class still continues to enjoy a distinctive control over the government and adequate power over labor supply due to their power over private investments (Marx, 2000 pg 32). The capitalist ensures that workers sell their labor on terms that increase the wealth of employers. Marx's idea on the nature of capitalists to exploit their employees which inhibit industrial development is applicable today regarding energy and climatic problems.
The great ideas of Karl Marx have contributed much to shaping today's history. His ideas provide a necessary ground for classification between two major types of philosophy of history. Hegel ideas that Marx used in his work where he explained history in its totality using his philosophical system provide an underlying ground to enhance a more understanding of various historical processes. Karl Marx ideas provide a vast accumulation of historical facts which are useful in the study of history today (Albrow, 1990 pg 44)
Albrow, Martin. Introduction. Macmillan Education UK, 1990.Berlin, Isaiah. Karl Marx. Princeton University Press, 2013.
Hofstadter, Douglas R. "Godel escher bach." New Society (1980).
Marx, Karl, and David McLellan. Karl Marx: selected writings. OUP UK, 2000.Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels. The communist manifesto. Penguin, 2002.
Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels. The communist manifesto. Penguin, 2002.
Marx, Karl, Loyd David Easton, and Kurt H. Guddat. Writings of the young Marx on philosophy and society. Hackett Publishing, 1997.
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