The Communist Manifesto is in several respects a paradoxical document. A product of the Western European political struggles that culminated in the pan-European Revolutions of 1848, its greatest historical impact was nevertheless not felt until the following century, in countries far from Western Europe (Russia and China) that Marx and Engels would never have viewed as ripe for revolutionary activity. The Manifesto was written as a diagnosis of the ills of what is often called high industrial capitalism, yet in many ways the world it describes, in which "all that is solid melts into air," sounds more like a prediction of a globalized capitalist world of political flux, virtual life, and accelerated time than a description of Marx's era, in which monarchies and established churches still wielded immense power across Europe. Moreover, although the best-known attempts to put Marx's and Engels's program into practice failed and are now in almost universal disrepute, the fundamental contradictions and deadlocks of capitalist society they present so vividly are still awaiting adequate remedies. While Marx laid out the ideological groundwork, many put it into action, leading to the formation of socialist powers in the Soviet Union and China during the first half of the 20th century. Marx's writings and philosophy had an impact on the social sciences and economic theories, but one of his biographers could comfortably and accurately assert that the political history of the 20th century was "Marx's legacy." Whether fairly or not, in the West Marx has become inextricably linked with some of the totalitarian excesses of the regimes that claimed to espouse his ideology, and for that reason Marx is often associated with some of the negative connotations that come with the Soviets. Nevertheless, few would deny the very decisive impact Marxism had on the global landscape, and the ramifications continue to have a political influence today.