Table of Contents

Handbook on the History of Economic Analysis Volume I

Handbook on the History of Economic Analysis Volume I

Great Economists Since Petty and Boisguilbert

Edited by Gilbert Faccarello and Heinz D. Kurz

Volume I contains original biographical profiles of many of the most important and influential economists from the seventeenth century to the present day. These inform the reader about their lives, works and impact on the further development of the discipline. The emphasis is on their lasting contributions to our understanding of the complex system known as the economy. The entries also shed light on the means and ways in which the functioning of this system can be improved and its dysfunction reduced. Each Handbook can be read individually and acts as a self-contained volume in its own right. It can be purchased separately or as part of a three-volume set.

Chapter 34: Karl Heinrich Marx (1818–1883)

Gilbert Faccarello and Christian Gehrke

Subjects: economics and finance, history of economic thought


Life and Writings The formative years Karl Marx was born on 5 May 1818 the eldest son of Heinrich and Henriette Marx in the provincial town of Trier in the Rhineland, where his father practised as a lawyer. On his father’s side Karl was descended from a Jewish family with a long-standing tradition of rabbis. But his father Herschel (or, since 1814, Heinrich) Mordechai had converted to Protestantism in 1816 in order to escape the Prussian restrictions against the Jews, and he also had Karl and his six brothers and sisters baptized as Protestants. Heinrich Marx was a cultured man, who had great admiration for Leibniz, Lessing, and Kant, and raised his children as liberal and law-abiding Protestants. His wife Henriette, née Pressburg, was the daughter of a Jewish merchant from Nijmegen in the Netherlands. The person who exerted the most important intellectual influence on the young Karl, apart from his father, was Johann Ludwig von Westphalen, a high-ranking civil servant, who treated the talented young neighbour’s boy and schoolmate  of his  son Edgar as an equal partner in discussions on literary and philosophical themes. While his father acquainted him with the German and French enlightenment philosophers,  Karl  would learn about Homer, Shakespeare and the Romantics from his future father-in-law. Presumably, it was also Baron von Westphalen who introduced him to the ideas of Henri de Saint-Simon, in which he took a keen interest  himself. Until his twelfth year, Karl was educated privately by his father and the local...

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