Author(s): Thomas PikettyDownload
Publish: Published March 10th 2014 by Belknap Press: An Imprint of Harvard University Press (first published August 30th 2013)
ISBN: ISBN 067443000X (ISBN13: 9780674430006)
What are the grand dynamics that drive the accumulation and distribution of capital? Questions about the long-term evolution of inequality, the concentration of wealth, and the prospects for economic growth lie at the heart of political economy. But satisfactory answers have been hard to find for lack of adequate data and clear guiding theories. In Capital in the Twenty-First Century, “Thomas Piketty analyzes a unique collection of data from twenty countries, ranging as far back as the eighteenth century, to uncover key economic and social patterns. His findings will transform debate and set the agenda for the next generation of thought about wealth and inequality.
Piketty shows that modern economic growth and the diffusion of knowledge have allowed us to avoid inequalities on the apocalyptic scale predicted by Karl Marx. But we have not modified the deep structures of capital and inequality as much as we thought in the optimistic decades following World War II. The main driver of inequality–the tendency of returns on capital to exceed the rate of economic growth–today threatens to generate extreme inequalities that stir discontent and undermine democratic values. But economic trends are not acts of God. Political action has curbed dangerous inequalities in the past, Piketty says, and may do so again.
A work of extraordinary ambition, originality, and rigor, Capital in the Twenty-First Century “reorients our understanding of economic history and confronts us with sobering lessons for today.
Some Reviews: 18,501 ratings 1,618 reviews in Goodreads.com
This is no “Michael Lewis explains basic economics to normal people” book. This is a postdoctoral dissertation. The first few chapters contain extensive background on economic concepts and terms and will probably put you off at first. Plow through them. 1/3 of the way in, the author’s main treatise starts to take fold, and it is worth it.”The poor should pull themselves up by their bootstraps.” “A rising tide lifts all boats.” “Trickle down economics.” “We can’t tax the job creators.” These statements have a certain gut appeal, but when you look at them critically and analytically, they turn right into what George Bush 41 called voodoo economics.When it comes down to it, the fallacy of supply side capitalism is that the rate of return on capital will always exceed the rate of growth of income and output. The ultra-rich don’t make their money on income – they make it on their existing capital. So whatever we set the income tax rate at, it’s only capturing the tiniest fraction of global wealth. And unless we enter another world war, income inequality in this country is only going to increase. Piketty’s proposal, which is well reasoned but impossible to envision in the real world, is a global progressive tax on capital. It makes sense, and even if it’s never going to happen, it’s an important concept for everyone to understand.
The magic of Capital in the Twenty First century is not exactly in WHAT is told but rather in WHAT PORTION is chosen to be told in order for the author to be able to stay simple and understandable to the broader public; the most magical of all, however, is HOW the “(hi)story of capital” is told – the interdisciplinary knowledge that Piketty posseses is transformed into a wonderful, insightful book that is highly objective but includes just enough of Pikketty’s own opinions to truly have an added value; furthermore, Pikkety’s opinions are wonderfully intertwined with fiction that proves to be of incredible value to someone who wants to understand the broader image of capital and its progressions through the centuries and understand it on an elevated level; the books of Jane Austen and Honore de Balzac keep on reminding us that the world has been in this highly complicated & unenviable position before and that there is no reason for panic, but, on the other side, there are many reasons to calmly reflect on our own needs, values and addictions that might be making our reasoning&feeling devices stale and hesitant to actually realise that the emperor really isn’t wearing any clothes, that the logic of the system upon which we existentialy rely is probably out-of-date and unadapted to a new way of life that has long been (and is now more than ever) eager to flourish.
Sterk boek met een heldere analyse gebaseerd op massa’s data.
Als we de grote ongelijkheden in de wereld niet nog groter willen, moeten we progressieve vermogensbelasting invoeren. Waarom? Daar gaat het 700 bladzijden aan een stuk over. Je zal het moeten lezen.
Geen vijf sterren omdat:
1)Hij uiteindelijk niet ingaat op de vraag hoe we die vermogenstaks moeten invoeren.
2)Hij de vraag niet beantwoord of we de armoede uit de wereld moeten helpen dan wel de ongelijkheid. Stel dat het feit dat er extreem rijke mensen bestaan ervoor zou zorgen dat er geen extreme armoede zou zijn, of dat een slechte zaak zou zijn. Is, met andere woorden, extreme ongelijkheid zonder armoede slecht? En is wel extreme armoede met kleine ongelijkheid goed?
Ik zeg niet dat het bestaan van superrijken de levensstandaard van de armen omhoog helpt. Het is een denkexperiment. Ik zeg alleen dat het mij niet duidelijk is wat Piketty daarover denkt en ik vond die vraag relevant voor dit boek, maar ze is niet beantwoord.
(voor de duidelijkheid: onderzoek van Richard Wilkinson geeft aan dat ongelijkheid niet goed is, ook niet voor de rijken).
A fundamental book for anyone who is interested in understanding the dynamics of capital, historically nowadays, and for the future. It is by far the most compreehensive work I have read on any topic, because it start with the very fundamentals (to make sure that, really, anyone can read it) and ends up speaking of complicated macro-economics everyone always complains about not understanding when they watch it on the news. Sure it sometimes get into “excessive” detail, but one can skip it (maybe read it later?) without failing to grasp the concepts and the logic of the major argument being discussed. Truly, a monumental work.
A great book, a must read for anyone who is concerned about equality. Finally, a book which is based on meticulous research that goes back hundreds of years, showing how Capital has changed from the 19th to the 21st century. I have never read an economics book with such breadth and depth. Well worth the investment of money and time to study Piketty’s thesis. Simply put, when r>g, that is, return from capital is higher than the growth rate, the rich will get richer until they take all the wealth of a country. He also suggests a tax on capital, which is radical but worth debating about (read: why not?).