Sunday, February 09, 2014

Piketty type arguments

and his data are being used even before his book is out in English. From  Karl Smith in FTAlphaville:
"As the quantity of capital increases, the return to capital is driven down. Eventually, the return to capital falls below the growth rate of the economy, and the value of the capital stock starts to shrink. This shrinking arises from the same dynamics that Piketty evokes to explain the growth in capital values over time. It is all about the return on capital vs. the growth rate of the economy...................
I am a fan of Piketty’s brute mechanistic approach. It is one that I have employed myself and on much the same question. It is one that led me to conjecture, and still suspect, that landlords are the once and future global plutocracy. And this happens precisely because all wealth is not created equal and some forms are more persistent and pernicious than others.
In the wake of the subprime crisis, I understand the temptation to rally against big banks and global finance. However, Lehman Brothers is dead. Sam Zell, founder and CEO of Equity Residential, is still alive. This is not an accident. The future does not belong to high flying titans. It belongs to dogged men and women who squirrel away rent checks when times are good, and buy your home when times are tight. This is the tyranny of land. Ignore it at your peril."
From an earlier post of Karl Smith Piketty and the case for land capital "...I think I’ve seen enough to identify a point of confusion that has led both defenders and critics of the book astray. Piketty uses the term capital to refer both to capital as classical economists understand it, and land. Now, neoclassical equations of the type Piketty employs rarely give reference to land, focusing solely on capital and labor. "
I guess the point is that lot of the return on this part of the capital is probably going to classes other than the those in the top and may not be contributing that much to the inequality. Moreover this part is not carefully studied and the land taxes vary from place to place. May be this is why Karl Smith's reading of inequality (comparison of r,g)  is different from Piketty's. I do not know. But with this kind of economic thinking with more refined data may be accessible to the general public.

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