‘Who’, asked a BBC poll, ‘is the greatest thinker of the millennium?’ Karl Marx topped the list.2 Another survey, this time of the USA’s Library of Congress — the world’s largest library — found that, with nearly 4000 works, Karl Marx was the sixth most written about individual ever (Jesus Christ came first and Lenin third).3 For all his celebrity, Karl Marx remains an enigma; in the words of Engels’s eulogy, the ‘best hated’ man of his times, and one difficult to overlook: for some a genius, for others a monster. His legacy is an elusive riddle, either an Orwellian nightmare or a world rid of exploitation and oppression; his ideas are either bankrupt or immanently relevant.
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