Close this search box.

Table of Contents

Karl Marx


Karl Marx is not a financial term; rather, he was a German philosopher, economist, and political theorist who lived in the 19th century. Marx is well-known as the co-author of the “Communist Manifesto” and his critical analysis of capitalism. His theories, which are collectively referred to as Marxism, greatly influenced political and economic thought worldwide.


The phonetic spelling of the keyword “Karl Marx” using the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is: /kɑrl mɑrks/

Key Takeaways


  1. Conflict Theory: Marx introduced the concept of conflict theory, which posits that society is in a constant state of conflict due to the unequal distribution of resources and power. This theory emphasizes the role of social class and economic inequality in shaping social structures.
  2. Communism: Marx is well known for his political theories and the development of communism, an economic system in which all property and resources are communally owned and wealth is distributed according to need. This idea is most famously outlined in his work “The Communist Manifesto,” co-authored with Friedrich Engels.
  3. Historical Materialism: Marx’s approach to understanding history and social change, called historical materialism, is based on the belief that the evolution of societies can be traced back to changes in economic systems and the means of production. History, according to Marx, is marked by significant shifts corresponding to different economic structures, such as from feudalism to capitalism.


Karl Marx is an important figure in business and finance due to his influential ideas and critiques on capitalism, which have profoundly shaped economic thought and political systems worldwide. As a philosopher, economist, and revolutionary socialist, Marx co-authored the Communist Manifesto and authored Das Kapital, both of which detail his theories on class struggle, historical materialism, and the inherent injustices found within capitalist systems. His ideas have influenced various political ideologies, such as Marxism, socialism, and communism, and have played a significant role in the development of alternative economic systems. Despite many criticisms and the collapse of numerous politically Marxist systems, Marx’s ideas continue to impact contemporary discussions on economic inequality, labor rights, and the role of financial institutions in society.


Karl Marx, a German philosopher and economist, played a pivotal role in the development of modern economic thought through his theories of capitalism and Marxism. As an influential thinker of the 19th century, his primary aim was to identify the underlying forces that shape societal development and economic structure. Through the study of historical materialism, he sought to understand the fundamental nature of social relationships in capitalist societies. By analyzing these relationships, Marx developed a critique of the existing capitalist system and proposed a revolutionary social change as a solution to the inequalities and exploitation experienced by the working class.

The purpose of Marx’s work was to challenge the status quo and bring about a more equitable and just society. He was deeply critical of capitalism as an economic system, arguing that it inherently led to class struggle, alienation, and the exploitation of workers. Marx’s ideas focused on the relationship between labor and capital, with the belief that the value of a product should solely be determined by the labor invested in it. He proposed that the capitalist class, or the bourgeoisie, extract surplus value from the working class, or the proletariat, by not compensating them fairly for their labor. This ultimately leads to growing wealth gaps and uneven distribution of resources within society.

Marx believed that by recognizing and challenging this system of exploitation, the working class could be mobilized to establish a socialist or communist society, where wealth and resources would be more fairly distributed among all members.


Karl Marx, a prominent philosopher, economist, and political theorist, greatly influenced the world with his ideas about class struggle, capitalism, and socialism. Here are three real world examples related to Karl Marx’s ideas:

1. The Soviet Union: Karl Marx’s ideas were a major influence on the formation and ideological foundation of the Soviet Union. Under the leadership of Vladimir Lenin, the Soviet Union implemented a communist system informed by Marxist theories such as the dictatorship of the proletariat, the planned economy, and state ownership of industries. The Soviet Union’s experience served as a real-world example of the attempt to create a socialist society based on Marx’s vision.

2. Cuban Revolution: Fidel Castro and Che Guevara led the Cuban Revolution in the late 1950s to overthrow the Batista regime, establishing a socialist state strongly influenced by Marxism-Leninism. The country’s political and economic structure was transformed and state-owned enterprises replaced the previous capitalist system. Castro’s Cuba became an example of a Marxist-influenced society and has maintained a socialist system to this day.

3. Mondragon Corporation, Spain: While not directly linked to Karl Marx, the Mondragon Corporation—a large Spanish federation of worker cooperatives—exemplifies Marx’s ideas on worker ownership and democratic control. Founded in 1956, Mondragon is an example of an organization built around cooperative principles, minimizing income inequality, promoting worker control, and maintaining a focus on the well-being of all stakeholders. This model of organization echoes Marx’s ideas about worker control and a more equitable distributive economic system.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

Who is Karl Marx?

Karl Marx (1818-1883) was a German philosopher, economist, sociologist, and political theorist who is best known for his theories on socialism and communism. He co-authored “The Communist Manifesto” (1848) with Friedrich Engels and is the creator of the influential theory known as “historical materialism.”

What are the main ideas of Karl Marx?

Karl Marx’s main ideas focus on class struggle, historical materialism, the exploitation of workers under capitalism, and the eventual overthrow of the capitalist system to transition into socialism and ultimately communism.

What is historical materialism?

Historical materialism is the philosophy and method used by Marx to understand human history and society. It postulates that changes in material conditions (such as technology and economic relations) drive social, political, and intellectual developments.

What is class struggle according to Karl Marx?

Class struggle is the central concept in Marxism, which states that history can be understood as a series of conflicts between social classes with competing economic interests. In capitalist societies, the struggle is mainly between the bourgeoisie (owning class) and the proletariat (working class).

What is Marxism’s viewpoint on capitalism?

Marxism views capitalism as an exploitative system that benefits the bourgeoisie at the expense of the working class. According to Marx, under capitalism, workers are paid less than the actual value they create, while the surplus value is appropriated by the business owners as profit.

What are the main features of the socialist and communist societies proposed by Karl Marx?

In a socialist society, the means of production would be owned collectively, and wealth would be distributed more equitably among the people. In a communist society, classes and the state would cease to exist, and resources would be allocated based on the principle “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.”

Is Marxism still relevant today?

Although communist states like the Soviet Union have been unsuccessful, Marxist ideas continue to have an influence on political and economic thought. Critics argue that Marxism is outdated and fails to account for the complexities of modern societies, while supporters claim that it offers valuable insights on the nature of human societies, exploitation, and inequality.

What is the difference between Marxism, socialism, and communism?

Marxism is the philosophical and theoretical framework that proposes socialism and communism as alternatives to capitalism. Socialism is an economic and social system in which the means of production are collectively owned and wealth is more equitably distributed. Communism, as envisioned by Marx, is the ultimate stage where class distinctions and the state cease to exist, and resources are distributed based on need.

Related Finance Terms

  • Communist Manifesto
  • Das Kapital
  • Means of production
  • Surplus value
  • Class struggle

Sources for More Information

About Due

Due makes it easier to retire on your terms. We give you a realistic view on exactly where you’re at financially so when you retire you know how much money you’ll get each month. Get started today.

Due Fact-Checking Standards and Processes

To ensure we’re putting out the highest content standards, we sought out the help of certified financial experts and accredited individuals to verify our advice. We also rely on them for the most up to date information and data to make sure our in-depth research has the facts right, for today… Not yesterday. Our financial expert review board allows our readers to not only trust the information they are reading but to act on it as well. Most of our authors are CFP (Certified Financial Planners) or CRPC (Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor) certified and all have college degrees. Learn more about annuities, retirement advice and take the correct steps towards financial freedom and knowing exactly where you stand today. Learn everything about our top-notch financial expert reviews below… Learn More