Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Ian Welsh review of Piketty

The Age of the Obvious: Thomas Piketty's Capital Excerpt : "History is not inevitable: decisions are made by people that change its outcome.
As for Piketty’s prescription: a wealth tax is fine as far as it goes, but the question isn’t whether the rich should be taxed, the question is how to create a world where they can be taxed.
That question, and questions like how we could increase the technological rate of improvement, increase the power of the commons, allow national policy by dismantling so-called “free trade”, and so on, are not dealt with.
But Piketty’s book is still important, because it proves the obvious beyond a reasonable doubt.  In this it is similiar to the mountain of evidence of climate change.  We can now say that climate change is happening and anyone who denies it is a fool.  Likewise we can now say that allowing returns on unearned wealth to be higher than labor income, in a capitalist economy, leads to high inequality and doesn’t improve the economy.  We should have known that already; we did know it already; now it has been proved to the point where we can say anyone who denies it is a fool."

No comments: