200 Years After His Birth, Marx Continues to Influence Modern Social Change

On May 5, 1818, in the southern German town of Trier, in the picturesque wine-growing region of the Mosel Valley, Karl Marx was born. At the time Trier was one-tenth the size it is today, with a population of around 12,000. Such provincial constraints were no match for Marx's boundless intellectual enthusiasm. Rare were the radical thinkers of the major European capitals of his day that he either failed to meet or would fail to break with on theoretical grounds.In 1837 Marx reneged on the legal career that his father had mapped out for him and immersed himself instead in the speculative philosophy of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel at the University of Berlin. One might say that it was all downhill from there. As we reach the bicentennial of Marx's birth, what lessons might we draw from his dangerous and delirious philosophical legacy? What precisely is Marx's lasting contribution? Today the legacy would appear to be alive and well. Since the turn of the millennium countless books have appeared, from scholarly works to popular biographies, broadly endorsing Marx's reading of capitalism and its enduring relevance to our neoliberal age.   Continue reading...

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