Economist Piketty, inequality discussed in new book

This video from the USA says about itself:

The Costs of Inequality: Joseph Stiglitz at TEDxColumbiaSIPA

11 March 2013

Joseph Stiglitz is University Professor at Columbia University, the winner of the 2001 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics, and a lead author of the 1995 IPCC report, which shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. He is also the co-chair of Columbia’s Committee on Global Thought. He was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Clinton and chief economist and senior vice president of the World Bank from 1997-2000. Stiglitz received the John Bates Clark Medal, awarded to the American economist under 40 who has made the most significant contribution in the field. He is the author most recently of The Price of Inequality.

By Steven Andrew in Britain:

Piketty as a useful starting point

Monday 19th October 2015

The Disinherited Majority: Capital Questions – Piketty and Beyond
by Charles Derber
(Paradigm Publishers, £16.45)

CHARLES DERBER’S commentary is a response to Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century which has generated a level of debate that no-one would have expected when it was published last year.

A largely statistical analysis of income and inequality in the US and western Europe over the past couple of centuries isn’t something that normally courts attention but Piketty had come to a number of significant conclusions as a result of his study, all of which took on a timely relevance as a result of the ongoing world economic crisis.

Piketty contends that if left unchecked capitalism has a tendency towards greater inequality rather than convergence — so much so, that the 1 per cent really do dictate what type of society that the other 99 per cent will live in.

Why should this be seen as a problem? Because, Piketty argues, it is an assault on democracy and marks the emergence of patrimonial, caste-style capitalism in which inheritance rather than any sense of meritocracy plays the formative role.

A particularly appalling example of this is the fact that the 400 richest US citizens, with combined assets of over $2 trillion, now have as much wealth as all 41 million African-Americans in the US.

Piketty mocks the idea that income is in any way linked to productivity. The super-rich help themselves to more and more simply because they can. He is also insistent that the best economics is that which understands history and society, hence the need to revive the school of political economy.

And he challenges the idea that nothing can be done about this situation. Although he writes off socialism from the start, Piketty is keen to promote the idea of a “social state” where public ownership sits happily with private enterprise and in which limits to personal fortunes are set by a global wealth tax.

Critics like David Harvey have argued that the value of Picketty’s book lies largely in its presentation of data and that in terms of theory it’s actually more than a little weak. Others have seen Piketty’s solutions as a rehash of Keynesian-style social democracy.

Yet admirers, while taking all this on board, still see Piketty as having created a timely, detailed and exhaustively researched starting point. They tend to regard his project as ongoing and one which might well be radicalised by oppositional currents of the future.

This is an engaging commentary and the short and well-penned chapters, ending by raising a number of questions, are well suited to study groups. And insights from theorists such as Pierre Bourdieu and from the novels of Jane Austen and Honore de Balzac liven up the commentaries, while notes on race, gender, war and the environment take up areas of analysis that Piketty has barely touched.

Well worth buying, even if you are not particularly interested in the words of the prophet himself.

‘Inequality is not just bad economics – it’s bad for the planet too’ | Craig Bennett: here.

21 thoughts on “Economist Piketty, inequality discussed in new book

  1. Pingback: Economist Piketty and inequality discussed in new book | Dear Kitty. Some blog | sdbast

  2. Here in Australia possible the dumbest culture in the world as a example our new guru the Prime minister of Australia having made a big money in his insider trading at Goldman Sax banking defrauding millions of people their money to be further rewarded being paid out by taxpayers the new contemporary slaves of the 1% super rich, and having insider information on IT stocks and depositing his ill gained wealth in the Cayman Islands, the suckers the general public have a perception that if some one can make a personal fortune will have the ability to create good fortune for this country this failure to understand is it is his further ambition to make money and acquire fame for himself, not only the public being duped but Turnbull is promoted by most if not all TV presenters as being our savior rather than a opportunist feathering his families financial egg nest.


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