Page last updated at 13:00 GMT, Monday, 20 October 2008 14:00 UK

Marx popular amid credit crunch

Tombstone of Karl Marx
Karl Marx's Das Kapital was published in 1867

Karl Marx is back in fashion, says one German publisher, who attributes his new popularity to the economic crisis.

Publisher Karl-Dietz said it sold 1,500 copies of Das Kapital this year - up from the 200 it usually sells annually.

Written in 1867, sales of the tome rarely hit double digits but have been on the rise since 2005.

Marxist economic philosophy - and in particular its Russian Leninist version - fell out of favour with the collapse of the Soviet Union in the late 1980s.

"It's definitely in vogue right now," said the publisher's director Joern Schuetrumpf.

"The financial crisis brought us a huge bump."

I doubt they will read it all the way to the end, because it's really arduous
Joern Schuetrumpf

He suggested that it was younger Germans who were buying the book unhappy with the direction their elders had led the country.

"There's a younger generation of academics tackling hard questions and looking to Marx for answers," Mr Schuetrumpf said.

But he doubted their perseverance: "I doubt they will read it all the way to the end, because it's really arduous."

Other publishers also print Das Kapital, and German media have reported that bookstores nationwide have seen a 300% increase in sales of the book in recent months.

And suddenly too, some of the all-but-forgotten Marxist philosophers are having their say again, such as the historian Eric Hobsbawm.

"Globalisation, which is implicit in capitalism, not only destroys the heritage and tradition but it is incredibly unstable, it operates through a series of crises, and I think this has been recognised to be the end of this particular era," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.


Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific