Karl Marx (1818-1883) was a German philosopher, economist and revolutionary Socialist. Born into an aristocratic life, Marx put forward a philosophy of "equal" societies that became known as Marxism. Although his ideas were initially met with bemused contempt, Marxism soon merged with similar ideals to form what modern scholars identify as "communism" and "socialism".
In 1848, Marx and Friedrich Engels co-published The Communist Manifesto, setting out Marx's vision of equal societies and social change. Consequently, Marx is considered a founding father of Socialism and Communism. Marx was voted "thinker of the millenium" in a worldwide BBC poll in 1999.