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Karl Marx’s hometown is selling fake banknotes to celebrate the communist thinker

Reuters/ Wolfgang Rattay
Marx rubber ducks don’t quite capture the spirit of communism.
By Olivia Goldhill
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Some 200 years after Karl Marx’s birth, capitalism has decidedly won the ideological battle against communism. The proof? To honor Marx’s May 5 birthday, his hometown of Trier, Germany, is mass-producing disposable Marxist memorabilia.

Products include a Karl Marx zero-euro banknote, which costs €3. There are also magnets of Karl Marx making the peace sign, Karl Marx mugs (“to philosophise during tea time”), Marx cookie cutters for €5.95, and a Marx-esque rubber duck sporting a beard, quill, and copy of Das Kapital. In total, Trier Tourism is selling 30 items of memorabilia.

Trier has also chosen to honor the thinker by accepting a bronze sculpture of Marx from the Chinese government and installing traffic lights that depict Marx rather than the usual anonymous figurine.

Since his birth in 1818, Marx’s ideas have inspired communist regimes across the world, most of which collapsed after those lofty ideals devolved into totalitarianism and poor living conditions. Marx is certainly still remembered and revered for his philosophical ideas, but the thinker known for his critique of the capitalist system would surely find cold comfort in his name being used to sell rubber duckies and fake bank notes for profit.

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