Saturday, June 14, 2014


Links to articles & posts directly or indirectly about Piketty.

It’s Not Just George Soros Anymore
What does it mean when the capitalist vanguard starts talking about inequality?

The Improbable Dream
Amid rising concern about income inequality, Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century has become an unlikely best-seller—and its French author an economic rock star. Is his proposal for wealth re-distribution too radical, or not radical enough? Let’s do the math . . .
By Michael Kinsley

The inherent vice of capitalism underpins the value of Thomas Piketty
By The Conversation
Wednesday, June 4, 2014 9:27 EDT

Studying the Rich | Boston Review
Thomas Piketty and his Critics
Mike Konczal
April 29, 2014

Political Economy is Political
by HENRY on MAY 27, 2014

A General Without an Army
by Mike Beggs

My Response to the Financial Times
Posted: 05/29/2014 3:30 pm EDT Updated: 06/01/2014 12:59 am EDT
Huff Post

The United States of Inequality
By Timothy Noah
Sept. 3 2010 3:06 PM

Piketty’s Fair-Weather Friends
by Seth Ackerman

Thomas Piketty Responds to Criticism of His Data
MAY 29, 2014
Neil Irwin
NY Times

Why Everyone Is Obsessed With This Academic Book on Economics
by Annalee Newitz
Filed to: futurism
5/27/14 5:00pm

Piketty Rejects ‘Ridiculous’ Allegations of Data Flaws
By Matthew Boesler and Aki Ito
May 26, 2014 1:04 AM EDT

Has Thomas Piketty Pulled a Reinhart and Rogoff?
Posted on May 24, 2014
Fixing the Economists

Piketty’s Mistakes, What They Mean for the Message of Cap21, and Other Data Thoughts
May 24th, 2014 at 12:23 pm
Jared Bernstein

Is Piketty All Wrong? -
May 24, 2014 3:15 am
Paul Krugman

A New Critique of Piketty Has Its Own Shortcomings
Justin Wolfers
MAY 23, 2014
NY Times

Piketty findings undercut by errors
By Chris Giles in London
May 23, 2014 7:00 pm

Thomas Piketty and the End of Our Peaceful Coexistence With Inequality
Economic disparities aren't new. But from Piketty to the pope, talking about them is.
MAY 19 2014, 11:14 AM ET

THOMAS PIKETTY’S ‘LE CAPITAL’Providing Intellectual cover for punishing the rich
By James Piereson – From the June 2014 issue
The American Spectator

The Inequality Puzzle
Thomas Piketty’s tour de force analysis doesn’t get everything right,
but it’s certainly gotten us pondering the right questions.
Lawrence H. Summers
Issue #33, Summer 2014

Martin Feldstein: Piketty's Numbers Don't Add Up
May 14, 2014 7:31 p.m. ET

The Politics of Income Inequality
MAY 13, 2014
Eduardo Porter
NY Times

Thomas Piketty’s big flaw? Capitalism isn’t the same the world over
By The Conversation
By William Q Judge, Old Dominion University; J Lee Brown III, Fayetteville State University,
and Stav Fainshmidt, Florida International University
Wednesday, May 14, 2014 9:24 EDT

Thomas Piketty’s “Capital”, summarised in four paragraphs
May 4th 2014, 23:50
by R.A.

Inequality Has Been Going On Forever ... but That Doesn’t Mean It’s Inevitable
MAY 2, 2014
NYT Magazine

Tyler Cowen's anti-Piketty crusade
In the three weeks since April 9, Tyler Cowen has written at least 13 blog posts on Piketty, all but one of them negative. Here is a timeline:

4/9: Cowen links approvingly to a mildly negative Krugman review of Piketty.

4/10: Cowen reposts some Matt Rognlie comments that are critical of Piketty.

4/20: Cowen gives his advice on how to read books like Piketty's. This is the one non-critical Piketty-related Cowen post I could find.

4/20: Cowen links to a negative review of Piketty by Clive Crook, and calls it "correct".

4/21: Cowen summarizes his Foreign Affairs review of Piketty, which is quite negative.

4/22: Cowen posts excerpts from a Suresh Naidu piece on Piketty, which details a bunch of policy ideas that Piketty allegedly "forgot".

4/25: Cowen links to a piece claiming that pre-modern times were more equal than now.

4/26: Cowen links approvingly to a negative Garrett Jones review of Piketty.

4/28: Cowen finds a macro model from 2003 claiming that capital taxation won't help inequality. He then claims that Piketty did not cite that paper. Cowen later posts an update admitting that Piketty did cite that paper in a 2010 paper that is in turn cited in Piketty's book (and which is posted on Piketty's website).

4/29: Cowen links to another negative piece he wrote about Piketty, this time co-authored with Veronique de Rugy.

4/30: Cowen claims that Americans don't really care about inequality, and that "swing voters" are chiefly worried about inflation.

5/2: Cowen reposts an Aaron Hedlund email that criticizes Piketty heavily, though it seems to mistake Piketty's "r" for the safe rate of return (rather than the return on capital) in a Solow-type growth model.

(There really was a 13th, but I accidentally closed the browser tab and I don't feel like going back and finding it...)

In addition, during that three-week time frame, Cowen included negative comments about Piketty, and/or links to anti-Piketty pieces, in his daily link list herehereherehereherehereherehereherehere, and here, while linking to positive Piketty-related comments here and here, and to a profile of Piketty here.

In short, Tyler Cowen's portion of Marginal Revolution has become your one-stop-shop for anti-Piketty links and analysis.

This is interesting, because Cowen himself recently wrote a book called Average is Over, which makes predictions somewhat similar to those made by Piketty. From the Wikipedia article about Average is Over:
Cowen forecasts that modern economies are delaminating into two groups: a small minority of highly educated and capable of working collaboratively with automated systems will become a wealthy aristocracy; the vast majority will earn little or nothing, surviving on low-priced goods created by the first group, living in shantytowns working with highly automated production systems.
There is a difference, of course. Piketty forecasts that wealth inequality will go up because of an increase in capital's share of income, while Cowen forecasts that wealth inequality will go up because of increased inequality in labor income. But the basic future foretold by the two is the same.

So why has Tyler turned into an anti-Piketty crusader? Well, Piketty is a popular topic, and his thesis is encountering a huge amount of skepticism, so there is demand out there for a one-stop anti-Piketty shop.

But it also seems possible that Piketty has deeply frightened economists and pundits who thought that concern over inequality was a thing of the past, and that laissez-faire had basically won the battle of ideas. Piketty's immense popularity might seem, to these folks, to threaten to drag us back into a dark age when radical wealth redistribution was taken seriously, not only by large segments of the public, but by a number of prominent economists as well. Piketty might seem like the vanguard of an onrushing wave of socialist thought that could succeed in turning back the tide of neoliberalism that had been advancing for at least 40 years. So Cowen - and the numerous anti-Piketty writers he links to - may simply be scared of Piketty and what he represents.

The short guide to Capital in the 21st Century
Updated by Matthew Yglesias on April 8, 2014, 10:30 a.m. ET

Book Review: 'Capital in the Twenty-First Century' by Thomas Piketty -
Thomas Piketty Revives Marx for the 21st Century
By Daniel Shuchman
April 21, 2014 7:18 p.m. ET

The Most Important Book Ever Is All Wrong - Bloomberg View
APR 20, 2014 11:00 AM EDT
By Clive Crook

Notes and Finger Exercises on Thomas Piketty’s “Capital in the Twenty-First Century”:
The Honest Broker for the Week of April 19, 2014
By Brad DeLong | April 12, 2014, 10:29 pm

Why We’re in a New Gilded Age by Paul Krugman | The New York Review of Books
May 8, 2104 Issue

America is wealthier, but Americans are poorer | Al Jazeera America
April 3, 2014 10:30AM ET
by David Cay Johnston

Is surging inequality endemic to capitalism?
MARCH 31, 2014

Piketty's Inequality Story in Six Charts : The New Yorker
Posted by John Cassidy
March 26, 2014

Kapital for the Twenty-First Century?
By James K. Galbraith - Spring 2014

Trends in the Distribution of Household Income Between 1979 and 2007 - CBO

Piketty’s Triumph
Three expert takes on Capital in the Twenty-First Century, French economist Thomas Piketty's data-driven magnum opus on inequality.
Jacob Hacker, Paul Pierson, Heather Boushey, Branko Milanovic

Number of millionaire households in the U.S. reaches high - Mar. 14, 2014

5 Things to Know About Income Inequality - WSJ
13 Mar 2014 2:08pm

Redistributing Wealth to the Poor Doesn’t Burden Growth, IMF Note Says
2:51 pm ET Feb 26, 2014
By Ian Talley

The Increasingly Unequal States of America: Income Inequality by State, 1917 to 2011
By Estelle Sommeiller and Mark Price | February 19, 2014

AEI Does Itself A Disservice With Obvious Lies
February 10, 2014 3:03 pm
By David Cay Johnston

Marx Was Right: Five Surprising Ways Karl Marx Predicted 2014
By Sean McElwee
January 30, 2014 12:30 PM ET
Rolling Stone

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