Throughout history money, wealth and capital have dictated a way of life to the masses. Wealth dictated the lives that the rich lived and the lives of the poor that worked for and surrounded them. In some cultures your class could never be escaped in life, you had to wait for your next incarnation, while in other cultures the idea of wealth transcended a life and allowed for growth from one class to another. This is the reality of a capitalist society that was first discussed by Karl Marx in the 19th century.
Karl Heinrich Marx, who is often called the father of communism, was a sociologist, political economist, journalist and a revolutionary. Marx was born in 1818 in a part of Germany then called Prussia. Karl Marx has been thought to have been educated at home until the age of thirteen. Then from 1830-1835 Marx attended and graduated from a secondary school called Trier Gymnasium. Surprisingly, Marx’s weakest subject in secondary school was history. As a young university student, he spent a lot of time drinking and getting into bar fights. He still managed to study hard. Marx joined a group of students who studied the German philosopher, Georg Hegel. Hegel taught that every important idea (thesis) produced another idea that was its opposite (antithesis). The resulting conflict or struggle between them resulted in an entirely new idea (synthesis). Later in his career, Marx would build on Hegel's philosophy to explain how class struggle in history leads to a final, perfect society. Hegel had been idealist. He believed ideas shaped history. Marx, however, was a materialist. He believed economics shaped history.
Marx earned his doctor's degree in philosophy from Jena University at age 23. For a brief time, he wrote for a German newspaper, attacking Prussian censorship laws. He also wrote philosophical essays. In one of them, Marx coined one of his most memorable phrases, calling "religion the opium of the people." By this he meant that religion...