The Poverty of Philosophy (1847)
The immediate occasion for the composition of this work was the publication of Proudhon’s The Philosophy of Poverty. Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, a self-taught intellectual from Besançon who had started life as a printer, was at this time an important figure in the radical movement and he had met Marx in Paris in the winter of 1844–5.4 Proudhon may have had some influence on Marx’s views at that point, but by the time he published System of Economic Contradictions or The Philosophy of Poverty it seems clear that he and Marx had decisively parted company on theoretical and political grounds. Nearly twenty years later Marx recalled that just before Proudhon published The Philosophy of Poverty he wrote to Marx announcing this ‘in a very detailed letter in which he said, among other things: “I await the lash of your criticism”. This soon fell upon him in my Misere de la Philosophie’, Marx continued, ‘in a fashion which ended our friendship for ever.’5
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