Cover Osteuropa 5/2007

In Osteuropa 5/2007

Marks Not Marx
Eastern Europe, the Supermarket and the British Health System

Andrej Rogačevskij

Deutsche Fassung


Necessity is the mother of invention. Michael Marks showed hot to make affluence out of poverty. Due to the mounting pressure on Jews, he emigrated from the Tsarist empire to Great Britain in the 1880s. There he became a street trader. Because he could hardly speak English and could not haggle, Marks sold his goods at a single price. The idea of the supermarket was born. But not only is the idea of a consumer paradise for everybody linked to the chain Marks & Spencer. It also stood godfather to the British health system. The company has employee Flora Salomon – another Jewish emigrant from the Tsarist empire – to thank for this aspect of its reputation.

(Osteuropa 5/2007, pp. 215–228)