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The worker becomes all the poorer the more wealth he produces the more his production increases in power and range The worker becomes an ever cheaper commodity the more commodities he creates With the increasing value of the world of things proceeds in direct proportion to the devaluation of the world of men Labour produces not only commodities it produces itself and the worker as a commodity -- and does so in the proportion in which it produces commodities generally Marx Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts 1844 The philosopher social scientist historian and revolutionary Karl Marx is without a doubt the most influential socialist thinker to emerge in the 19th century Although he was largely ignored by scholars in his own lifetime his social economic and political ideas gained rapid acceptance in the socialist movement after his death in 1883 Until quite recently almost half the population of the world lived under regimes that claim to be Marxist This very success however has meant that the original ideas of Marx have often been modified and his meanings adapted to a great variety of political circumstances In addition the fact that Marx delayed publication of many of his writings meant that is been only recently that scholars had the opportunity to appreciate Marxs intellectual stature Karl Heinrich Marx was born into a comfortable middle-class home in Trier on the river Moselle in Germany on May 5 1818 He came a long line of rabbis on both sides of his family and his father a man who knew Voltaire and Lessing by heart had agreed to baptism as a Protestant so that he would not lose his job as one of the most respected lawyers in Trier At the age of seventeen Marx enrolled in the Faculty of Law at the University of Bonn At Bonn he became engaged to Jenny von Westphalen the daughter of Baron von Westphalen a prominent member of Trier society
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