More than 140 years after Das Kapital (Capital) was first published by the Karl Marx, the father of modern communism, his namesake, Roman Catholic Archbishop Reinhard Marx, has written a book with the same title.
"Capitalism without an ethic and a legal framework is inhumane," said Archbishop Marx, who is no relation to his 19th century predecessor, in an interview with Der Spiegel magazine in advance of his book's publication on 5 November. This was, he said, "My conclusion from the finance and banking crisis."
Marx noted, "I already believed years ago that wild speculation is a sin."
Archbishop Marx's book carries the subtitle, A plea for the people, while Karl Marx's book published in 1867 analysed the process of production of capital.
Reinhard Marx is now archbishop of Munich and Freising. Until January, he was bishop of Trier, the birthplace in 1818 of Karl Marx.
The archbishop is a strong proponent of Catholic social ethics which he sees as being critical both of Communism and of capitalism that is devoted overwhelmingly to profit margins.
Reinhard Marx has been an outspoken critic of the culture of greed in modern capitalism and has repeatedly pleaded with managers to subscribe to the social components of a social market economy. In 2006 he criticised what he said were the "audacious" salary hikes of top managers.
In his interview with Der Spiegel he was asked if his book had a warning for Marxism, the archbishop answered, "It is also a debate with the Left, with the Renaissance of Marxist politics." He said, "We need a structured market economy, not a revolution."
At a media conference in Munich, Archbishop Marx said that neither "primitive capitalism nor a return to Marxism" would help create global justice. "The central question of the 21st century will be how to solve global problems like social injustice and poverty, "said Marx.
Reinhard Marx, Das Kapital. Ein Plädoyer für den Menschen, 304 pages, Pattloch Verlag, Munich, ISBN 978-3629021557, 1
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