Karl Marx (5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883) was a German writer, philosopher, economist, historian, sociologist, political theorist, journalist and revolutionary. His visions on politics, economics and society combined are called Marxism and he is seen as an influential figure in socialism.
Marx was born in Trier and studied law as well as philosophy. Due to his opinions, he became stateless and lived in exile in London. With his friend, the German thinker Friedrich Engels, he published two kinds of work. At first, there was the pamphlet The Communist Manifesto (1848) and the three-volume Das Kapital (1867–1883). His ideology was the opposite of capitalism. According to Marx, there was a conflict by the ruling classes (the bourgeoisie) and the working classes (the proletariat). He predicted that these tensions eventually would result to a new kind of system called socialism. In socialism, there were no classes and the proleletariat would collectively own the means of production (the factories and resources for creating things). To create this new kind of system, the working classes had to start a revolution to overthrow the bourgeoisie. Some socialists, such as Left-Communists and Trotskyists argue that socialist states such as the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China were not real socialist states.