As everyone who hasn’t spent the last few months under a rock knows, a French economist called Thomas Piketty wrote a book about inequality in capitalism, recently translated into English (Piketty, Thomas. Capital in the Twenty-first Century. Harvard University Press, 2014.), and it’s been making waves all around the world.
I am reading the book (slowly; it’s HUGE), but from my point of view the reaction to the book is as interesting, if not more, than the book itself. From the Marxist left he has been criticized for, well, basically not being Marxist, which I find rather disingenuous. From the right, he’s been causing some apoplectic fits, and one of the most interesting was the attempt from a journalist from the Financial Times to discredit the work, which ended up having the journalist taking a pounding by dozens of academic economists (including Piketty himself) who said that he, in fact, was very wrong.
What the critics on the left seem to be ignoring is the devastating effect Piketty’s book is having on the other side, possibly precisely because he is not a Marxist and cannot be easily discarded because of that (the fact that he is working with a monumental database also helps a lot).
Anyway, below there is a list of critiques I came across:
And, finally, a text written by a number of economists, Piketty included, with proposals to rescue Europe from its current crisis: Our manifesto for Europe