Karl Marx and marxism




inspire describe material (2)
fierce vision (2) realization
believe capitalism infancy (2)
flaw boom (2) beneficiary
profit firm (2) disease (2)
leisure embrace material goods
league generate mass production
deprive ideal (2) satisfaction
involve mass (2) at the same time
abolish dominate intellectual
pursuit manifesto equally/equality
base on spread (2) subject (3)
debate lay out (2) distribute (2)
own property Utopia/utopian
attend taxation private (2)
theory ideology benefactor
state revolution communism
exploit public (2) movement (2)
fair (2) benefit (2) impoverish
fail get wrong slaughter (2)
product criticism class system
predict disparity striking (2)
claim immense bust/burst/burst (2)
flourish ability (2) handful (2)
poverty relevant underestimate
reform capacity materialize
funeral encourage welfare state
crisis triumph lead/led/led (2)






Karl Marx is often described as one of the greatest thinkers of the nineteenth century. His writings have inspired revolutions and generated centuries of fierce debate.

Born in Prussia, now Germany, in May 1818, Marx believed that capitalism, which was in its infancy at the time, had serious flaws.

Marx claimed that in pursuit of profit, capitalists would encourage their ideology that work is good; leisure is bad, and material things will make us happy.

Embracing mass production, depriving workers of job satisfaction, at the same time exploiting the working class.

He became involved in the Communist League, a small group of intellectuals who wanted to abolish the class system and spread wealth equally.

Marx wrote the Communist Manifesto in 1847 with his benefactor, Friedrich Engels, laying out the Marxist vision of a society where wealth is distributed evenly, property is owned publically and education is free for all.

But Marx was little know and little read at the time. When he died in 1883, only eleven people attended his funeral.

After his death, his ideas flourished, based on the theory of Marxism came communism, the realization of a stateless society where all are equal.

Communism became a global movement.

But the utopian ideal of a fair and equal society failed to materialize.

Communism terrorized and impoverished its subjects and slaughtered them in the tens of millions.

Today, capitalism dominates the world.

But many of Marx’s criticisms have never been more relevant. Today the global disparity between rich and poor is striking. Marx predicted that capitalism would lead to the rich getting richer, and the poor staying poor.

He was right.

He also predicted that capitalism would lead to boom and bust economics. Marx predicted that capitalism would lead to globalization, and that a handful of firms would have huge market dominance.

However Marx underestimated the ability of capitalism to make everybody richer by make products much cheaper. Since the 1980s, the number of people in absolute poverty has fallen by about one billion.

He also got wrong the capacity of capitalism to reform itself by creating welfare states that redistributed wealth through taxation.

Although there is a lot to learn from Marx, his solution was far worse that the disease. At the same time, it can’t be said that today’s capitalism, dominated by immense inequality and financial crises, has triumphed.


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1. Karl Marx was a very influential and controversial person. True or false?

2. What were the main tenets of capitalism, according to Marx? Was it contradictory, double-faced, hypocritical or deceptive?

3. What are the goals of communism?

4. During his lifetime, Marx was a great and famous revolutionary. Is this correct or incorrect?

5. Did Marx’s ideas spread and become popular? Did communism become illustrious?

6. Have all, most, many, some, a few or none of Marx’s predictions come to bear? Were all, most, many, some, a few or none Marx’s predictions correct?

7. Which system or ideology “triumphed”, capitalism, communism or socialism? Is it perfect?


A. We studied Karl Marx, communism, capitalism, socialism at school. Yes or no?

B. Do you agree with Marx? I entirely agree, mostly agree, partially agree, mostly disagree or completely disagree with his ideology.

C. How do different people in your country feel about Marx and Marxism? Have there been fierce debates and arguments?

D. What will happen in the future?

E. What should people and governments do?

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