Erik Kirschbaum


It is not surprising that the present economic crisis in the capitalist world was foreseen by Marx more than 150 years ago during his analysis of capital. Naturally his classic book Das Kapital  is being studied with renewed interest.


Two decades after the Berlin Wall fell, communism’s founding father Karl Marx is back in vogue in eastern Germany, thanks to the global financial crisis. His 1867 critical analysis of capitalism, Das Kapital, has risen from the publishing graveyard to become an improbable best-seller for the

academic publisher, Karl-Dietz-Verlag.


“Everyone thought there would never again be any demand for Das Kapital, the Managing Director, Joern Schue-trumpf said. He has sold 1,500 copies so far this year, triple the number sold in all of 2007 and a 100-fold increase since 1990. “Even bankers and managers are now reading Das Kapital to try to understand what they’ve been doing to us,” he added.


A recent survey found 52 per cent of eastern Germans believe the free market economy is “unsuitable” and 43 per cent said they wanted socialism rather than capitalism. Unemployment in the former communist east is 14 per cent, double western levels, and wages are significantly lower. Millions of jobs were lost after reunification.



“The contradictions inherent in the movement of capitalist society impress themselves upon the practical bourgeois most strikingly in the changes of the periodic cycle, through which modern industry runs, and whose crowning point is the universal crisis. That crisis is once again

approaching, although as yet but in its preliminary stage; and by the universality of its theatre and the intensity of its action  will drum dialectics even into the heads of the mushroom-upstarts of the new, holy Prusso-German empire.”  Karl Marx (London, January 24, 1873)


Berlin (Friday, 17 October 2008)

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