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T. Piketty - "Capital in the 21st century"


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Rickety Piketty: The road to non-market socialism:



Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century was the diving off point for the opening session of the recent Historical Materialism Australasia 2014 conference in Sydney. Valuably, Piketty exposes increasing economic inequality, highlights the burgeoning filthy rich and argues that deep inequalities are the natural state of any capitalism unfettered by state redistributive and welfare programs. But the panel I led raised a number of concerns about Piketty’s approach. Here I draw from my talk about the vexed issued of inequality for the Left in general and the particular stance of non-market socialists.


The gesture to Marx’s Capital in Piketty’s title is annoying given Piketty engages cursorily with Marx. In a New Republic (5 May 2014) interview he even misrepresents him, saying: ‘In the books of Marx there’s no data.’ Not surprisingly Piketty only offers a narrow statistical analysis of developing inequalities in income and wealth especially recently and mainly in advanced capitalism.


Inequality represents a double-edged sword for the Marxist left. Inequality in owning assets and income levels are living breathing proof of capitalism’s deepest failings. But addressing inequality often slides into reformism. Union demands generally support capitalism unless linked overtly to a revolutionary agenda ending capitalism. Unionisation has fallen since the 1980s. Radical unionism has been decimated.


The Left, in terms of anarcho-communist currents, is no longer a force in political debates or visible in mainstream media, university coursework and student discourse. We live in a thoroughly commercial culture with solidarity and mutual support reduced to charity and volunteering, pleading with governments and industry, victim mentalities and political blame games — rather than strikes and revolutionary demands. We have lost any sense of our real power. The will of the left is in tatters.


Meanwhile, climate change is only the tip of the iceberg of broad environmental crises, including peak oil and peak soil. Continuing with capitalism is species suicide. Yet addressing environmental sustainability often raises reformist, market-oriented solutions too — taking us into a quagmire of perceiving and ‘re-imagining’ the world in terms of exchange values.


Debates on economic inequality are bound by monetary language and practices. Money perpetually creates inequality in a world producing and distributing on the basis of exchange values. Inequality and equality discourses and activism sit in a capitalist black box.


So, ‘How can the radical Left more adequately address the twin issues of socio-political and environmental inequality and injustice in ways that allow capitalism to collapse and develop a society based on social and environmental values, i.e. use values?’ And, given the planetary environmental collapse and the crisis of capitalism, ‘How can we act appropriately and with the necessary speed?’




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Mentolska kritika koja kritikuje knjigu koja, po prirodi stvari, jeste popularna primenjujuci kriterijum kritike na naucni clanak.

A da se potrudio, mogao je da izlista Piketijeve objavljene radove gde, gle cuda, ima i teorije.

I ubise se ljudi (i pristalice i kriticari) pricajuci o Piketijevom doprinosu empiriji u smislu novih i drugazicijih baza podataka koje je formirao, ali je to za Begovica "nesto malo empirije".



I malo je cudno da Begovic prica o politickom proglasu, kada je sam na celu think-tank-a a naucni doprinos mu je malkice slabiji nego Piketijev.



Drzi se ti Nebojse Katica, a Piketija ostavi Branku Milanovicu.

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U vezi sa mehanizmima koji indukuju nejednakost - korporativizam.




Free exchange The bigger, the less fair The growing size of firms may help to explain rising inequality

Mar 14th 2015 | From the print edition

SINCE its publication last year, Thomas Piketty’s “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” has ignited a furious debate about inequality in the rich world. He focuses on the increasingly unequal distribution of wealth, and pays less attention to the growing disparity in wages over the past three decades. Yet that disparity is ballooning, too: in America, for instance, the best-paid 1% of workers earned 191% more in real (ie, inflation-adjusted) terms in 2011 than they did in 1980, whereas the wages of the middle fifth fell by 5%. Similar trends can be observed all over the world, despite widely varying policies on tax, the minimum wage and corporate pay.

The standard explanation says that technology plays a big role: modern economies require more skilled workers, raising the pay premium they can demand. A new paper* by Holger Mueller, Elena Simintzi and Paige Ouimet adds a new and intriguing wrinkle to this: the rising size of the average firm. Economists have long recognised that economies of scale allow workers at bigger firms to be more productive than those at smaller ones. That, in turn, allows the bigger firms to pay higher wages. This should not, in theory, cause a rise in inequality. If the chief executive and cleaner at a larger firm are both paid 10% more than their counterparts at a small firm, the ratio between their wages—and thus the overall level of inequality—should remain the same.

But the paper shows that the benefits of scale are not shared equally among all workers. Using data on wages at British firms, they divide workers into nine groups according to how skilled they are. Over time, they find that the proportional difference in wages between the groups grows as firms get bigger. This trend is driven entirely by a rising gap between wages at the top compared with the middle and bottom of the distribution. As the authors note, this is very similar to the trend in income inequality in America and Britain as a whole since the 1990s, when pay for low and median earners began to stagnate (see chart).

The authors suggest two possible explanations. First, larger firms should find it easier to automate tasks than smaller ones, and may therefore find it easier to resist demands for pay rises from relatively unskilled workers who could be replaced by machines. In addition, entry-level workers in the middle of the income distribution may be willing to accept lower pay from big firms since in the long run the chances of winning a promotion are greater than at small firms.

Top hogs

The benefits of size are thus enjoyed only by the most senior workers at a firm, who can extract a bigger premium for their skills and experience. A cleaner at a single shop does the same sort of work as those at a large chain. But managing a multinational firm such as Walmart requires a different—and much rarer—set of skills than that required to run a corner store. Over time this pushes up the salaries of the top brass at Walmart compared with corner-shop managers.

The authors find that the relationship between the growth in the size of companies and the level of inequality holds across the rich world. They looked at data from 1981 to 2010 on wages and the size of largest firms for 15 countries in the OECD, a club mostly of rich countries. The relationship between rising levels of income inequality and the size of firms was strong.

This effect is particularly noticeable in America and Britain, where firms have grown rapidly in recent decades. In America, for instance, the number of workers employed by the country’s 100 biggest firms rose by 53% between 1986 and 2010; in Britain the equivalent figure is 43.5%. On the other hand, in places where the size of firms has not changed much, such as Sweden, or where it has shrunk, such as Denmark, wage inequality has grown much less. Part of what is perceived as a global trend towards greater disparity in wages may actually be the result of the biggest firms employing a greater share of workers.

Another new paper**, which looks at manufacturing in America, China and India from 1982 to 2007, suggests that the trend towards bigger firms is only likely to accelerate. Big firms’ higher productivity, it argues, raises the barriers to entry for new—and presumably smaller—competitors. Larger factories are more productive than smaller ones, so bigger firms can entrench their position over time. That will skew the income distribution even more. There is plenty of evidence across America and Europe that startup rates for companies are falling, allowing the biggest firms to get bigger unhindered by competition. Since the financial crisis, higher barriers to entry in the form of limited access to capital has caused the number of new businesses to collapse.

Not all economists see this as a dreadful thing. After all, bigger firms have much higher investment rates than smaller ones, which helps to fuel growth throughout the economy. The preponderance of small firms in such places as Greece, Italy and Portugal, seems to be one of the factors holding those economies back.

But if governments wish to reverse the inequality big firms foment, reforms to the labour market are unlikely to do the trick. Instead, they will have to spur competition by reducing barriers to entry for smaller firms, most notably by improving their access to credit. That should reduce income inequality and boost economic growth at the same time.

Voters dislike the growing inequality of incomes, and often agitate for redistributive policies to reverse it. Yet too much crude redistribution can be counterproductive in that it tends to dampen economic growth. The link between firm size and inequality suggests a better option. By boosting competition, policymakers can please both populists and economists at the same time.

* H. Mueller, E. Simintzi and P. Ouimet, “Wage inequality and firm growth”, LIS Working Paper 632 (March 2015).

** A. Bollard, P. Klenow and H. Li, “Entry costs rise with development”, SCID Working Paper 518 (December 2014).

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evo i begovicevog ''utiska'' o piketiju ;-)

ovde sam okacila pdf kulturnog dodatka od subote gde je na 5-toj strani objavljen begovicev clanak /jer ne znam kako drugacije na forumu da kacim pdf fajlove. naravno, moze  i objasnjenje kako se to radi, za drugi put :-)




PDF-XChange Viewer. Export to image. Podržava više formata slika. 



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"when I came to America I only had 50 cents. I bought 2 apples.  I eat one, and the other I polished beautiful and put a ribbon on it, and sold it for  50 cent. The I bought another 2 apples. I shined both of them , put ribbons and sold for 1 dolar. And then .. .. yes , we know,  you bought 4 apples , shine away and... NO, Then my uncle died and left me 2 milion dollars !!! "

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Q&A sa Piketijem, ima i video na linku:

Rocking the establishment: Thomas Piketty’s challenge to orthodox economics
14/10 12:24 CET

Rebel, radical,and even rock star – words not usually associated with economists, but they do seem to stick to Frenchman Thomas Piketty, who shot to fame with his work Capital in the 21st Century, a lengthy work on inequality. In this edition of Global Conversation Isabelle Kumar speaks to him about his vision of economics and society in an age of austerity.

Who is Thomas Piketty?

  • Thomas Piketty is a French economist
  • He specialises in wealth and inequality
  • Piketty has authored numerous books and articles
  • His book Capital in the 21st Century propelled him to worldwide fame
  • He is currently professor at the Paris School of Economics


Isabelle Kumar
“Your discourse on inequality really has hit a nerve and your book ‘Capital’ seems a lot more popular than one could have expected – did that surprise you?”
Thomas Piketty
“I certainly tried to write a book that would be readable by a broad international audience, but of course I could not expect that it would be so successful. We are at over 2 million copies worldwide and what this shows is that there is tremendous interest in inequality these days all over the world, there’s a big concern over whether globalisation is benefiting everyone or is being captured by a small group of the population and what’s new in my book is that we have put together with many researchers from more than 30 countries the largest historical database on income and wealth inequality that has ever been put together. So that’s really what is new. I try to study inequality from a historical perspective.”

Isabelle Kumar
Just a few months ago Pope Francis had tweeted ‘inequality is the root of social evil’ – would you go as far as the Pope, is the Pope more radical than you on these issues?
Thomas Piketty 
“I don’t feel very close to what the Pope says in general, but if he’s concerned with inequality that is fine. I am not sure how much the Catholic church has contributed to the reduction of inequality historically. But I think that inequality is a concern not only for people on the left, on the right, people from different religious persuasions, it is a general concern for mankind, we cannot only care about the growth of total GDP we want to know how this is distributed, who is benefiting from it and at what cost for natural resources”

Isabelle Kumar
“This brings me to an interesting point, I would like you to comment on a story that is making headlines. Air France –bare chested executives who were attacked by angry protesters from the group itself, angered at cuts.”
Thomas Piketty
“I am not here to give good and bad points to the different groups of actors, let me simply say that conflict over distributions are often very violent and in some countries, in particular in poorer countries, they can take on a much more violent form than in rich countries like France. I think the lack of transparency about wages, income, ownership – who owns what and who receives what – very often tends to exacerbate these conflicts. So I think generally speaking, having more information, about the distribution of income and wealth is very important for our democratic debate. One of the big limitations today, in particular, if we think of cross border patterns of ownership is that there is a lot of financial opacity. So very often don’t know who owns what, so it’s very difficult to have a reasonable conversation about inequality and taxation.”

Taxing times

Isabelle Kumar “Coming to taxation then, you have argued for a progessive tax, and for the really high earners – for those who earn a million euros or more a year – an 80% tax on their income. We have asked our social media audience to send us in questions for this interview : someone called Thomas Jones asks – “Why do you want to punish people who take risks to create jobs and wealth by higher taxes?”
Thomas Piketty
“It is very difficult because when it comes to inequality and taxation, people get very excited. Let me throw one piece of evidence into the debate. If you take a country like the US between 1930 and 1980 – a very long period of time, half a century – on average the top marginal income tax rate applying to one million dollars of average income was 82% – sometimes it was 91% sometimes it was 70% but if you take the average over the entire 1930-1980 period it was 82%. Now did this destroy American capitalism? Apparently not. If anything, productivity growth and GDPgrowth were actually higher during the 50s’ 60s, 70s, than they have been since the Reagan years. So since the Reagan years we have a big reduction in top marginal tax rate, in big increase in inequality. You see inequality everywhere, except in the productivity statistics! Many people are not ready for this discussion, partly I think because of historical amnesia, sometimes people don’t know this has already been experimented in the past, and if we look at this period when this was experimented it was not so terrible in terms in terms of productivity so.”

Isabelle Kumar
“Then you must have been quite disappointed that French president François Hollande has seemingly backtracked on his manifesto in which he proposed taxing the rich at 75%.”
Thomas Piketty
“Actually in France, I was not too much in favour of this decision because firstly, we don’t have many people in France who make more than $1 million so in the US, Hollande would have been an excellent president. I think this would have been exactly the type of policy to do in the US. In France you don’t have such a big problem of exploding top marginal compensation, so this policy was more an excuse for not doing more ambitious tax reforms. There are many other issues about more general tax reforms in France that should be addressed.”

Age of austerity

Isabelle Kumar “Since we’re focusing on Europe, let’s have a quick look at this situation in terms of austerity because I know that you are aligning yourself with anti-austerity parties, but can you say hand on your heart that austerity has been a complete failure?”

Thomas Piketty
“You can always do worse of course, but let’s compare the situation on both sides of the Atlantic. The truth of the matter is that Europe has transformed a crisis which initially came from the US – from the private financial sector of the U.S – into a public debt crisis in Europe just because of its bad policy and excessive austerity. Initially if we go back to 2008, public debt in Europe was not higher than in the US, was not higher than in Japan and if we look at the situation in 2015 – now, almost ten years after 2007 – GDP in the US is now back on track, 10 to 15 % higher than was it was in 2007 whereas in Europe, particularly in the eurozone, we still haven’t recovered, we are still at the same level of GDP we were almost ten years ago.”

Isabelle Kumar
“There are new parties in Europe that are presenting new ideas. You’re aligning yourself with those and I’m thinking of ‘Podemos’ that’s led by Pablo Iglesias and new labour leadership in Britain under Jeremy Corbyn. Do they present for you the best chance Europe has – or Europeans have – for a fairer future and can their economic policies actually be viable?”
Thomas Piketty
“I think the elections in Spain in December this year could be very important for the future of Europe. Why is it very important? Because I think this can change the political majority in the eurozone. If Spain turns to the left or to the centre left, this is changing the political majority and potentially I think this can get us to more reasonable budgetary policies in Europe. I think in the end this goes beyond the issue of left or right, I think everybody observing the eurozone from the outside, whether you’re from the left or from the right, can see that the budgetary decisions that have been taken under the direction of Germany and France – because it’s too easy for France just to complain about Germany as it was a joint decision – have not been successful.”

Isabelle Kumar
“But it’s interesting that politically, we see that these parties on the far left, they’re called radical left parties – I don’t know if you agree with that terminology – but they seem to inspire more fear in terms of the EU institutions and European leaders than the leaders of the far right.”
Thomas Piketty
“That would be a big mistake. In the end, it’s much better to have these parties on the left of the left in power than parties which are on the right of the right. In my country, in France, there will be regional elections also in December and possibly the extreme right can win one or two or three regions and then people will realise that this is far more dangerous than ‘Syriza’ and ‘Podemos’ who at least have an internationalist approach. I’m not saying that what they propose is always completely convincing or satisfactory but I think it’s possible to draw them in the right direction.”

Isabelle Kumar
“You talked about Greece and Syriza and obviously Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has been re-elected, do you think he has a chance of renegotiating austerity measures because his former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has said it’s just continuing an ‘extend and pretend logic’?”
Thomas Piketty
“Europe will have to come with a new plan with Greece. I think what was decided this summer is just a way to gain a little bit of time but in the end, we will have to come to a debt reduction for Greece. The good news is that we’ve had lots of debt restructuring in the past including Germany who had a huge public debt and foreign debt after World War II. The entire European project in the 1950s was actually built on debt forgiveness and the general philosophy was….”

Isabelle Kumar
“…it was a very different context though.”
Thomas Piketty
“This is in some ways comparable. Many governments have made a lot of mistakes in the past and built big public debt. Very big mistakes were made by many governments before the 1950s, particularly in Germany. But the political choice was made in the 1950s to say ‘ok look at the future’. If we look back at the young generations in France or in Germany in the 50s and the young generation in Greece today, when are you going to tell them ‘ok your parents have made mistakes so for the next 40 years you will have to pay’. At some point you have to look at the future – invest in growth, invest in higher education, invest in public infrastructure.”

Isabelle Kumar
“I need to bring in some questions from our social media audience. Haezel Mischael Chandra asks: “What is the key to a sustainable economy?”
Thomas Piketty
“The most important thing for the future is to invest in knowledge and to invest in higher education. Here’s just one number illustrating what we don’t do and what we should do: everybody in Europe likes Erasmus which allows students to go to other countries except that the Erasmus budget right now is only 4 billion euro per year. Just to compare, total interest payment in the eurozone each year is 400 billion euros. So I’m not saying we should exactly invert this number but I think we should go in this direction and this is why we need to have a moratorium on debt repayment in order to invest more in the future.”

Pressure on eurozone

Isabelle Kumar “We’ve been talking about Greece but then there’s also the situation in Britain – two countries which could still leave the EU, and the Eurozone for Greece. There is also the possibility of Catalonia splitting away from Spain. What impact would that have on European economy and for the homegrown economies themselves?”
Thomas Piketty
“I think this shows that the situation, you know the crisis in the eurozone, has far-reaching consequences. So people in Spain today are very unhappy, particularly in Catalonia…

Isabelle Kumar
“You put it down to the economic crisis, these countries potentially leaving the EU and eurozone?”
Thomas Piketty
“Yes, in Britain I understand that people don’t want to join the eurozone or to join further European integration because right now it really isn’t working. So if we want one day for Britain, Sweden or Poland to join the eurozone, we have to make it work.”

Isabelle Kumar
“Exaclty, we’re seeing a Europe that is more polarised than ever. If we continue on the same trajectory how do you see Europe? What’s your vision of Europe say in 15 years time?”
Thomas Piketty
“I want to be optimistic because I think there are solutions to our problem but there is a risk of rising nationalism and selfishness. When people are unable to solve their social and unemployment and domestic problems through peaceful policies, then it is always tempting to blame others. You have political parties who want to blame foreigners, who want to blame foreign workers or you can blame other countries, you can blame Germany, then Germany will blame Greece. You know you can always blame someone else but at some point, if we take a broader European historical perspective, we will realise that what we should do today is invest in growth and the drama of Europe over the past ten years is that we’ve had a lost decade. We’re going to end up in 2017 with a GDP level which is barely the level of 2007.”

A million migrants

Isabelle Kumar “Another issue that Europe is dragging its heels on is migration. Greece is on the frontline of that. We hear that nearly one and a half million people could arrive to Europe by the end of 2016 and we’ve got a question from Kristoffer Nyborg who says: “Would you say that Europe is economically capable of handling that flow of refugees and migrants?”
Thomas Piketty
“The population of Europe is 520 million. Between 2000 and 2010, if you look at the UN statistics, the net flow of migrants into Europe was about 1 million per year and two thirds of the demographic growth of Europe during this period came from net migration so I think we could perfectly return to a much higher migration flow. I think you have different situations in Europe, you have countries like France who have a bit more children, in Germany they have less children and they are more open to migrants. And then you have some countries which don’t want to have children and don’t want migrants either like in Eastern Europe, so they are going to disappear in terms of population if they continue like this. This is very selfish and I think that for economic growth and more generally for prosperity and attractiveness of the European model, we could and should be a lot more open.”

Isabelle Kumar
“The figure that Europe could manage in terms of economic migrants and refugees, you would put at 1 million?”
Thomas Piketty
“I’m not saying that 1 million is a magic number, but the people who are saying that we can’t welcome more migrants don’t look at the historical record.”

Isabelle Kumar 
“I would like to change tack now. Your ‘protege’, or so he’s called, Gabriel Zucmanl, has said that some six trillion dollars of assets could be hidden in tax havens. Is that an accurate figure in your opinion?
Thomas Piketty
“Oh yes. It’s very important for us in Europe and in the US, but will be even more important for Africa and emerging and developing countries who are losing much more than us from financial opacity. The estimate of Gabriel Zucman is that in Europe, maybe you have 10% of all financial wealth held in tax havens – that’s a lot – but in Africa, it’s between 30 and 50 % so how do you want a country to develop and develop an equitable tax system if you have a big part of the wealth that’s going away and that’s not paying tax?”

Hidden assets

Isabelle Kumar “If we bring it back to Europe, the European Commission President says he wants to stamp out tax havens. Do you believe him?”
Thomas Piketty
“No, I don’t believe it because at this stage, there is no concrete decision. If we want to change what has happened with corporate taxation in Europe, we need to have a single corporate tax. Maybe not for the whole of Europe if some countries don’t want it but at least the countries, who want to move ahead such as France, Germany, IItaly, Spain, Belgium or whatever group of countries within the eurozone, or maybe other countries who want to do it, should have a common corporate tax. Otherwise the kind of scandal that we had with Luxembourg leaks last year will happen again.”

Isabelle Kumar
“Do you think Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission President has adequately defended himself on that?”
Thomas Piketty
“It’s not enough to apologise. It’s not enough to apologise and say ‘I’m sorry, I will not do it again’ because, in fact, this will happen again. This is not a problem of individuals like Jean-Claude-Juncker but the fact that when he was Prime Minister of Luxembourg, he had all these deals with large multinational corporations where they would pay 1 or 2 % in tax as opposed to our small and medium size companies in France or in Germany who are paying 20 to 30% in tax; How do you want to give lessons to Greece about modernisation of the tax system when this is the policy that you conducted in your own country?

Isabelle Kumar
“We began on your book, Capital on the 21st century. Let’s go back to it because you’ve drawn a lot of literary sources for that book and it’s probably what makes it a bit more readable. I would like to bring in this question from our social media. It’s somebody who goes by the name of Mekkus who asks: “What are your three favourite books?”
Thomas Piketty
“That’s complicated. In my book I talk a lot about Balzac ‘Le Père Goriot’, and indeed I think this was such a powerful way to talk about capitalism in the 19th century. Marx was saying in the 1860s that it was by reading Balzac that he learned the most about capitalism. I think this is the same today but you have to switch authors so one my favourite novel recently was the latest novel of Carlos Fuentes ‘La volunta y la fortuna’ which is an incredible novel about capitalism in Mexico. Tancrède Voituriez who is a young French author who recently wrote about ‘the invention of poverty’ (L’invention de la pauvreté), which is a very funny novel about how development economists pretend to save the world and don’t always do so. So you have lot of very powerful novels that put money and capitalism at the centre of their investigation.”

Isabelle Kumar
“And you’re described often as a rock star economist now because of ‘Capital’. Do you recognise yourself in that?”
Thomas Piketty
“I have no problem with the publicity as long as it gets more people to read my book. The success of my book shows that there are many people in many countries who are tired of hearing that this is too complicated for them, who are tired of hearing that economic and financial issues should be left to a small group of experts who have built a sophisticated economic science that the rest of the world can’t understand. This is a big joke, there is no economic science. These are political and social issues, cultural and literary issues.. And everybody should have an opinion.”


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Free exchange

A new anthology of essays reconsiders Thomas Piketty’s “Capital”
“A MODERN Marx” was how The Economist described Thomas Piketty three years ago, when he was well on his way to selling more than 2m copies of “Capital in the Twenty-First Century”. It was meant as a compliment, mostly: as advice to take the analysis seriously, yet to treat the policy recommendations with caution. The book’s striking warning, of the creeping dominance of the very wealthy, looks as relevant as ever: as Donald Trump’s heirs mind his business empire, he works to repeal inheritance tax. But “Capital” changed the agenda of academic economics far less than it seemed it might. A new volume of essays reflecting on Mr Piketty’s book, published this month, prods economists to do better. It is not clear they can.
“After Piketty: The Agenda for Economics and Inequality”, edited by Heather Boushey, Bradford DeLong and Marshall Steinbaum, is a book by economists, for economists. In that it resembles “Capital” itself. Before he was an unlikely cultural icon, Mr Piketty was a respected empirical economist. He was best known as one of a group of scholars, among them Emmanuel Saez and Anthony Atkinson, who used tax data to track long-run inequality. In “Capital” these data became the basis for an ambitious theory of capitalism. Mr Piketty argued that wealth naturally accumulates and concentrates, so that familial riches are ever more critical to determining an individual’s success or failure in life. The extravagant inequality of the Gilded Age could return if no preventive action is taken.


mozda ima na libgen

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