Karl Marx (1818-1883), A Perspective

by Dr. Parviz Dehghani​

Karl Marx (1818-1883), A Perspective

Who was he? He was German economist, philosopher, and socialist. He was born in Treves and lives the latter part of his life in England. He is buried at Highgate cemetery in London. Apparently his bust is on his tombstone. I regret I didn’t have a chance to visit this cemetery when I was visiting my sister years ago. It is, however, ironic that he was buried in a capitalist country.

The writings of Marx and Engels had an impact on the political events in Russia, China, Far East Asia and Eastern Europe. His influence on many intellectuals in both Europe and America, north and south were a reality until the 1960s. Although his portrait on the cover of ‘Time magazine’ saying ‘Marx is dead’ appeared years ago, the whole world seems to have kept a great respect for the mind of this man whose roots was in Judaism. In the suspicion of hermeneutics his name and Freud’s are mentioned. It is fascinating that all these three remarkable figures, namely Einstein, Freud, and Marx were Jewish. Of course, there were other personalities whose influences on our society are very much noticed in the past. This is something to think about. Or perhaps this has nothing to do with their ethnic backgrounds and a lot to do with the fact that they were Germans including Austria in the old Prussia. All three spoke German. Who knows? May be it is all a coincidence pure and simple.

His influential writings are ‘The Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital’. Apparently he gave such an analysis of capitalism that some of those who had admired him became capitalist themselves later on in their lives. You might say that his influence had an adverse effect on them. Well. Let us not forget that this is about economics and money. Ideology is wonderful but money matters at the end. However, years ago when our ‘wall street’ collapsed, writers in England came up and said Marx is still alive. He wrote a piece on what money is all about, which is the best in the history of economic thoughts.

Marx’s philosophy, however, was influenced by his predecessor Hegel from whom he learned the idea of ‘dialectic’. But nevertheless, he refutes Hegel’s idealism. He couldn’t accept Hegel’s philosophy that truth unfolds towards the Absolute. Someone once said Darwin perhaps followed Hegel in his idea of evolution. Karl Marx radically rejected Hegel’s philosophy and presented his own thought by what he called ‘dialectic materialism’, which is merely an atheistic in nature. Yes, it is possible not to accept the God of Judaism and still be a Jew, because the two are not mutually exclusive.