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The Elgar Companion to Law and Economics, Second Edition

Edited by Jürgen G. Backhaus

This thoroughly updated and revised edition of a popular and authoritative reference work introduces the reader to the major concepts and leading contributors in the field of law and economics. The Companion features accessible, informative and provocative entries on all the significant issues, and breaks new ground by bringing together widely dispersed yet theoretically congruent ideas.
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Chapter 48: Karl Marx (1818–83) and Friedrich Engels (1820–95)

Heath Pearson


Heath Pearson Introduction Karl Marx was born in Trier, a Rhenish town then belonging to Prussia. At the age of seventeen he entered the Faculty of Law at the University of Bonn; the year following, he transferred to the Law Faculty at the University of Berlin and, while he continued his training in jurisprudence there, he also pursued his interests in philosophy and history. In the end those collateral interests prevailed, and his doctoral degree was granted in philosophy. Thwarted in his career ambitions in the academy, the young Marx wrote for and edited several opposition newspapers. In 1842 he met Friedrich Engels, the scion of an industrial family, who was to be his lifelong collaborator and supporter. The two would spend most of the rest of their lives abroad, in England, France and Belgium, under conditions of explicit or self-imposed exile from their native Germany. Marx, always the towering figure of the pair (even after his death), read and wrote prodigiously, occasionally as a newspaper correspondent but more commonly as a freelance critic. In addition, he and Engels both tried their hand at political organization and communist agitation. Marx and Engels were not the first scholars to attempt an economic analysis of law; nor, arguably, were they the best. Neither one held an advanced degree in economics or in law and, as self-avowed revolutionaries, they were studiously ignored by most professionals in both fields. But their exclusion from nearly all retrospective treatments of the law and economics movement is...

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