The New International Encyclopædia/Marx, Karl

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MARX, Karl (1818-83). A famous socialist, usually regarded as the founder of the modern school of socialism, born of Jewish parents at Treves, Germany, May 5, 1818, and educated at the universities of Bonn and Berlin. In 1842 he became editor of the Rheinische Zeitung für Politik, Handel und Gewerbe, a Liberal organ. Shortly before the suppression of the paper, in 1843, Marx withdrew from the editorial force and removed to Paris, where he assisted in editing the Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher. Marx went to Brussels in 1845, where he was associated with Engels and organized the German Workingmen's Association, which later was connected with the Communistenbund, for which he wrote, with Engels, the famous communistic manifesto, which has been regarded as the classic exposition of the communistic movement. The manifesto charges bourgeois society with having destroyed the feudal ties which bound man to his natural superiors and with having left no other nexus between man and man than ‘cash payment.’ It has brought about a condition in which the productive forces do not further the development of bourgeois property, but through commercial crises actually endanger its very existence. Under these conditions the wages of workmen tend to the bare minimum necessary for existence and propagation. As the disagreeableness of the work increases the pay decreases. The aim of the communists is the formation of the proletariat into a class; the conquest of political power and the overthrow of the present bourgeois supremacy. Communism forbids no man to appropriate the products of his labor, but it does deprive him of the power to control the labor of others by virtue of such appropriation. To secure these ends the following measures are advocated as generally applicable in civilized lands: (1) Abolition of property in land and the application of all rents to public purposes; (2) a progressive income tax; (3) abolition of all rights of inheritance; (4) confiscation of all property of emigrants and rebels; (5) centralization of credit in the hands of the State by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly; (6) nationalization of means of communication and transportation; (7) extension of productive enterprises by the State, the reclamation of waste land and general improvement of the soil; (8) compulsory labor with establishment of industrial armies especially for agriciilture; (9) combination of agriculture with manufacturing, the elimination of distinction between town and country by more even distribution of the population; (10) free education in public schools and abolition of child labor in factories. In 1847 Marx wrote a reply to Proudhon's Philosophie de la misère under the title Misère de la philosophie.

In 1848 Marx returned to Cologne and started the Neue Rheinische Zeitung, but because of his revolutionary activity he was ordered to leave Germany in May, 1849. He went to Paris, but later in the year was forced to leave that city and moved to London, which was henceforth his home. He became a newspaper correspondent, writing for the New York Tribune, Putnam's Monthly, and other papers, a number of his articles subsequently being published in pamphlet form. Among these are “Der 18te Brumaire des Louis Bonaparte” (1852); “The Life of Palmerston” (1850); “Palmerston and Poland” (1853). The results of his studies of English conditions and economic works are first seen in his Kritik der politischen Oekonomie, which appeared in 1869 and contained the essence of the principles elaborated in his subsequent work, Das Kapital.

In 1864 Marx at last found the opportunity of realizing a plan he had long contemplated: that of organizing the laborers of the civilized world into a great association. On September 28 there was a great meeting in Saint Martin's Hall, to which Marx outlined his scheme of an ‘International Workingmen's Association.’ During these years Marx was also greatly interested in the developments in Germany, and assisted Liebknecht and his associates in establishing the Social Democratic Labor Party in 1869. In 1867 appeared the first volume of Das Kapital (English translation, 4th edition, from the 3d German edition, London, 1891). The second volume was completed by Engels and published in 1885. The style is rather heavy, and the analysis is at times so detailed that it is hard to follow. The fundamental ideas are, however, simple when once the terminology is mastered. Marx seeks to discover the economic law that governs society. Modern social development is made possible only by capital; it has reached its highest point and must necessarily be followed by another system. Modern capitalism exploits the laborer by getting possession of the ‘surplus value’ of his services, i.e. the amount produced by him over and above the amount of his wages, which are regulated by the ‘iron law’ and tend therefore to a minimum. The basis of the exchange value of a community is the amount of Labor expended on it. In the long run this means the average amount of labor expended under average conditions. But modern labor requires capital. Marx traces the historic development of capital and shows the tendency for the instruments of labor to concentrate in fewer and fewer hands. Thus arises the capitalistic class. Meantime develops also a class who have only their labor to sell, the proletariat. The first is the consuming, the second the producing class. The growth of capitalism reduces the number of capitalists and increases the poverty and misery of the working classes, but also serves to bring them to self-consciousness. The proletariat will finally organize and the means of production will be seized and managed for the good of all. Marx outlined no ideal future condition. He tried to show what he believed to be the course of historical development and sought to bring about the next step, the organization of all laborers for their common good. Marx died in London, March 14, 1883. For a convenient digest of Das Kapital, consult Aveling, The Student's Marx (London, 1892). See Communism; Socialism; Internationale or International Working-men's Association.