Posts Tagged ‘Karl Marx’

Why You’ve Never Heard of Kalman Marx

Posted in On This Day on May 5th, 2009 by Eugene Finerman – 2 Comments

Napoleon Bonaparte was history’s most aggressive liberal.  (Bill Maher is a distant second.)  The French Revolution and its chief champion swept away the laws that exalted one religion or persecuted another.  From France to Poland this spirit of Emancipation–supported by French bayonets–tore down the ghetto walls of a 1000 years.

Of course, when Napoleon fell, the old prejudices and laws returned. The emancipation of the French Revolution and then the restoration of the Old Order had a profound effect on one family in Trier, Germany. When the French army conquered the Rhineland, it abolished the laws that had restricted where Jews could live and how they could earn a living. A rabbi’s son named Herschel Marx now had the freedom to become a lawyer. Unfortunately, after Napoleon’s defeat, Prussia took control of Trier. Prussian law in the early 19th century did not permit Jews to be lawyers. Herschel Marx had a choice: he could abandon his career and return to the ghetto or he could convert. Since he was a lawyer, there is no reason to think that he had principles. He became a Lutheran named Heinrich. The newly christened Heinrich Marx was starting a family and, although his wife Rachel refrained from converting, their children were duly baptized.  But for that, Trier Germany might have had a very dyspeptic rabbi named Kalman Marx.  Instead, history ended up with a self-proclaimed prophet called Karl.

A Fool and His Money

Posted in General, On This Day on February 21st, 2007 by Eugene Finerman – Be the first to comment

February 21

Marx and EngelsThey were an incongruous pair.  One was handsome, debonair and affable.  The other was homely, abrasive and overbearing; some regarded him as a genius but most thought him obnoxious.  I could be describing Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis.  However, I was thinking of Freddie Engels and Charlie Marx.

On this day in 1848, the boys published “The Communist Manifesto“.  The pamphlet was not the immediate hit that they had hoped.  It did not incite proletariat uprisings and Verdi did not option the script for an opera.  Marx and Engels had to keep their day jobs.  Engels’ was owning factories and Marx’s was borrowing money from Engels.

Yes, Engels suffered from an embarrassment of riches, and Marx knew how to make the guilt pay off. The textile heir became communism’s first victim and possibly its only willing one. Engel’s fortune subsidized Marx’s ventures into the stock market.

No matter what he told Frau Marx, Karl wasn’t spending all his time at the British Museum. The founder of communism liked to hang around the London Stock Exchange. He was not trying to emancipate the clerks; nor was he simply the disinterested observer of bourgeois financial machinations. In reality, Marx loved to play the market. Unfortunately, he had a dismal investment record; it was bad enough to justify the invention of communism. Yet, Marx never lost a penny in his fiscal fiascoes. Engels did.

In the Marxist system of finance, Engels incurred all expenses and losses, while Marx got any profits. This arrangement, a prototype of today’s mutual funds, can be expressed as, “From leeched, according to his debility; to leech, according to his greed.”