Born in Trier, Prussia, in 1818, Karl Marx was the son of a lawyer who had converted from Judaism to Christianity. Marx studied law but became interested in philosophy, in which he gained a PhD from Jena University. In 1842, Marx moved to Cologne and started work as a journalist, but his socialist views soon led to censorship, and he fled to Paris with his wife, Jenny. It was in Paris that he met the German-born industrialist Friedrich Engels, with whom he wrote the Communist Manifesto in 1848. He moved back to Germany briefly the following year, but when the revolutions were quashed, he left for London, where he spent the rest of his life. There, he devoted his time to writing, notably Capital, and died in poverty in 1883, aged 65, despite continual financial assistance from Engels. 

Key works: 1848 Manifesto of the Communist Party (with Friedrich Engels), 1858 Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, 1867, 1885, 1894 Capital: A Critique of Political Economy

Link to History of Economic Thought Website