A lot of people reading Piketty — the right ones? Enough to matter?

An article in the Washington Post calls Thomas Piketty’s book, Capital in the Twenty-first Century, a “runaway best seller.”

Have you read it?

Thomas Piketty - Professor of Economics, Paris School of Economics; photo from The Next Deal

Thomas Piketty – Professor of Economics, Paris School of Economics; photo from The Next Deal

Are you aware of the contents?

Are the right people reading it — especially GOP Members of Congress whose minds need to be changed?  Or, are enough people reading it to make a difference in American politics?

There are presses cranking it out in the United States, India and Britain, and the book is in at least its fourth run. Even though the book was already a hit in its native France, it’s now taking off among English readers around the world, said Donnelly. She expects that sales in China, Hong Kong and Japan will also soon follow.

Piketty, already widely cited for his work on income inequality, has clearly touched a nerve. The book argues that the underlying mechanisms of capitalism tend towards massive inequality. Piketty argues that the era between 1930 and 1975 — often hailed for the way in which wealth was broadly shared — was actually a departure from the norm. That period of economic growth, he says, was the result of unusual circumstances like World War II, a global depression and the government’s actions in the aftermath of those events: strong policies raising taxes and increasing regulation. But now, with many of those policies rolled back, societies are reverting back to extreme inequality.

What do you think, read it or not?


7 Responses to A lot of people reading Piketty — the right ones? Enough to matter?

  1. Ed Darrell says:


  2. Ed Darrell says:


  3. Black Flag® says:

    I am quite smart and well-informed when it comes to knowing and satisfying my own preferences.

    I know that I detest Bud Light and white zinfandel and that I love rich porters and Provencal rosés.

    I’m also smart and well-informed about how the principles of economics. I know lots of things about lots of things – but I know nothing about the great bulk of things.

    As, say, a cardiologist, tailor, or plumber, I’m stupid – despite the fact that I have a beating heart, a wardrobe, and plumbing in my home.

    If I were given the power to vote on how cardiologists, tailors, or plumbers should pursue their trades, or on what these professional should or should not do for you as their paying customer, I could only vote stupidly.

    And so I would truly be stupid if I fancied that I am fit to vote on the ‘proper’ roles and practices of cardiologists, tailors, and plumbers.

    The same here. To believe a bunch of voters know what it takes to make a road, and empower another bunch of ignorant bureaucrats, by that vote, to make these roads is just stupid.


  4. Black Flag® says:

    The greatest disease of modern man is his overwhelming lack of understanding economics.


  5. Ed Darrell says:

    First Dog on the Moon explains Piketty

    Cartoon by First Dog on the Moon; cartoon here, buy a poster of the cartoon here (and other First Dog on the Moon products).


  6. Debra says:

    Waiting for my local library to get it. =)
    I’ve read some interesting reviews, though.


  7. Black Flag® says:

    Economic illiteracy at its finest.

    “government policies after the war: strong policies raising taxes and increasing regulation”

    Ah… actually government had 91+% tax rate since the war and unchanged until 1964 and dramatically cut back its expenditures which is the cause post-war economic expansion.

    Obviously this author is an idiot.
    1945 – $118B (incl. deficit of $15B);
    1947 – $58B (incl. surplus of $3B).


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