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Pawlik, M. Karl Marx über Verbrechen und Strafe. Jahrbuch für Recht und Ethik / Annual Review of Law and Ethics, 28(1), 151-170.
Pawlik, Michael "Karl Marx über Verbrechen und Strafe" Jahrbuch für Recht und Ethik / Annual Review of Law and Ethics 28.1, 2020, 151-170.
Pawlik, Michael (2020): Karl Marx über Verbrechen und Strafe, in: Jahrbuch für Recht und Ethik / Annual Review of Law and Ethics, vol. 28, iss. 1, 151-170, [online]


Karl Marx über Verbrechen und Strafe

Pawlik, Michael

Jahrbuch für Recht und Ethik / Annual Review of Law and Ethics, Vol. 28 (2020), Iss. 1 : pp. 151–170

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Author Details

Pawlik, Michael, Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. mult., LL.M., Institut für Strafrecht und Strafprozessrecht – Abt. 1, Rechtswissenschaftliche Fakultät, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, Wilhelmstraße 26, D-79098 Freiburg i. Br.


In his first examination of questions of criminal law, a series of articles on the wood theft law of the Prussian Rhine province (1842), the young Karl Marx unmistakably followed in the footsteps of Hegel. In the following years, however, Marx increasingly broke away from Hegel. While Hegel trusted the state as the custodian of the general public interest to tame the potentially destructive forces of bourgeois market society, Marx considered such a belief illusory: The modern state is not the master of bourgeois society but its servant, and its exaltation by Hegel is nothing but ideology. According to Marx, the doubling of modern societies into a real world of economic conflicts of interest and the ethereal region of an unreal state generality means that such societies cannot be content with one theory of punishment, but need two theories: a doctrine of prevention based on robust protection of interests and a theory of retaliation that is at the height of idealistic semantics of reason and freedom. Marx rejected both types of theory as ideological. Instead of punishing the individual wrongdoer, he argued, it is necessary to eliminate the origins of the crime. This goal could only be realized under communism. In a communist community, the punishment would be nothing other than the judgment of the wrongdoer about himself. In the person who executed this punishment he would therefore find “the natural redeemer from the punishment that he imposed on himself”. In political practice, however, this claim inevitably turns into total control by the association over its members. Not only the Enlightenment is subject to a disastrous dialectic, but also Marx’ idea of radical emancipation.

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
Michael Pawlik: Karl Marx über Verbrechen und Strafe 151
I. Das Debüt eines Junghegelianers 151
II. Bürgerliche Gesellschaft und Staat 153
1. Marxens Sicht der bürgerlichen Gesellschaft 153
2. Die Rolle des Staates und der Primat der bürgerlichen Gesellschaft 154
III. Strafrechtstheoretische Konsequenzen 156
1. Die Dualität der Straftheorien 156
2. Strafe als Instrument des Interessenschutzes 157
3. Strafe als abstrakte Vergeltung 159
4. Die leeren Hände der Straftheorie 151
IV. Strafen in einer Assoziation freier Individuen 151
1. Die Gesellschaft der Zukunft: Assoziation statt Herrschaftsverband 151
2. Strafe als Erlösung 151
Summary 152