Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Another review of Piketty

I have almost completed reading Piketty's Capital. But there are various things I have to reread and also try to follow his calculations, perhaps using Piketty-Zucman. But his presentation is clear and readable. In this review The Age of the obvious:Piketty's Capital:
"This is an important book: it marshals a lot of data, and puts it together in a coherent model.
But the model is not as new as it might seem. Piketty spends a lot of time distancing himself from Marx, and well he should, because this argument, even with a different model of what Capital is than Marx used, isn’t that much different from Marx’s view on the concentration of Capital, nor is his view of post – WWII history particularly different from a fairly orthodox reading of it: the financial collapse, depression, and two World Wars destroyed the wealth and thus power of the rich, and made it possible to put in place policies which were hostile to their interests and which made it so that more of national income was distributed to ordinary people......
There is no fundamental analysis of the mode of production or the mode of violence, either, and without those you cannot determine how much power various groups have to take a share of the national income.  How many people are needed for production?  How many people are needed for violence?
Piketty’s book is important primarily because it proves the obvious, and this is the age of the obvious.  You must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, what any educated individual already should know because there is a lot of money in obfuscating the obvious. It pays very well to be a conservative ideologue spouting off about economic freedom, because very rich people want the government to make them rich, bail them out, and not tax them."

No comments: