Monday, April 21, 2014

"On Tour With Rock-Star Economist Thomas Piketty"

I have already made some initial comments on the capital-hater, Thomas Picketty, see: Marx Rises Again. No doubt, I will have more, his new book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, is on my reading list.

But check out this fawning report by by Boris Kachka in New York Magazine. My highlights:
You’ve heard of Thomas Piketty, non? In just a few short weeks this spring, the French economist has gone from dismal scientist to intellectual superstar. This past weekend, his book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, hit No. 1 on Amazon and came up in six New York Times articles. One hundred and eighty years after Alexis de Tocqueville came back to France with the news that he’d found true √©galit√© in America, his countryman has arrived on our shores to deliver the opposite news: Not only is the U.S. doomed to accelerating inequality, but so are all capitalist societies, absent some fairly serious interventions — mostly taxes. The tough prognosis in Capital runs across nearly 700 graph-dappled pages and three centuries of economic history. No serious economist could afford to ignore its mountains of fresh data and analysis, but for the rest of us, it’s a heavier lift. Hence Piketty’s New York publicity push last week — a different kind of endurance test, involving midtown traffic, a publicist shouting “Short answers!,” and the unbridled fury of a WNYC producer facing 30 minutes of dead air.

After a flurry of pre-publication op-eds and blog discussions in January, Capital (Marx reference intentional) was printed a month early by Harvard University Press, selling close to 50,000 copies here so far — hardly Harry Potter numbers, but magnitudes more than the average academic book — and instantly turning Piketty into a more affable and telegenic Paul Krugman. The first leg of his American tour, in Washington, D.C., included meetings with the Council of Economic Advisers, the GAO, the IMF, and Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew. But New York was another beast — a two-day sprint that could have been fashioned by Torquemada. On Thursday, day two, there was Reuters TV, CNN Money, Yahoo’s “Daily Ticker,” MSNBC, The Leonard Lopate Show, the Times, Harvard Business Review, The Nation, and talks at NYU and Columbia. Read the rest here.

The word is obviously out to promote this guy and his capital-hating views.


  1. A Bankrupt World

    Another major risk is, of course, the economic situation. Never have as many major countries been bankrupt. The list of these countries is getting longer all the time. This includes the United States, most of the European Union countries, eastern Europe, Japan, and many emerging markets. Also, China is at risk with total private credit up 100 percent in the last few years, at 230 percent of GDP, and the shadow banking system at 84 percent of GDP.

    Including the more than $1 quadrillion of derivatives, I consider the risks today a lot greater than in 2008. All central banks are printing money but since the money just stays in the banks and is not used to bolster the economy, the velocity of money is crashing and is now at a 50-year low in the United States.

    It amuses me that the Bank of England has just published a paper stating that QE has raised growth in the U.K. by 3 percent or 50 billion pounds. Isn’t this wonderful? Supposedly money printing raises GDP in real terms. So the U.K. has had QE of 375 billion pounds, which has raised real growth by 50 billion pounds.

    So why don’t they print 375 trillion instead? This way the U.K. would be the biggest and the most prosperous economy in the world. Sadly, printing worthless pieces of paper can never create wealth. In spite of this, we will have massive worldwide QE because this is the only tool that central banks have.,_$26,000_Gold_%26_The_Destruction_Of_Wealth.html

    What capital?...

  2. "No serious economist could afford to ignore its mountains of fresh data and analysis, but for the rest of us, it’s a heavier lift." A perfect example of scientism at work, bamboozling marginally educated and easily duped ignoramuses into the belief they're beholding something revelatory and profound. Kudos to Piketty's publicist.

    Boris and his readers would be well-advised to remember this quote: "It is no crime to be ignorant of economics, which is, after all, a specialized discipline and one that most people consider to be a 'dismal science.' But it is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on economic subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance."

  3. Piketty is a moron who doesn't understand the Federal Reserve and the Cantillon Effect.

    This guy is a rockstar "intellectual"? May all intellectuals die in a fire! Worthless crap.

  4. This Piketty is such a worthless idiot. Mindless like all statists.

  5. Have you read the reviews and comments at the Amazon site? It is patently evident in what many of them say that the Piketty fan club are fans not because Piketty has interesting new insights into economic phenomena but that he validates their own prescriptions predilection for economic meddling by the political process. Just looking at the comments on the thing, Piketty's book is analogous to someone analyzing a court case thusly: "Well, the evidence clearly indicates that a crime was committed, and an analysis of the sentence finds that it is appropriate to the crime, therefore the defendant must be guilty."

    The reviewers and commenters appear to start from the premise that the economy can, and therefore should be, managed for some sort of optimum efficiency or other "maximum collective utility" outcome. The want to use Piketty's book as justification for their predetermined prescriptions. Piketty, from what the publisher and others are saying, appears to support that prescription as well. Any comment on the site that appears to question Piketty's conclusions, or the idea that Piketty's data do not support either his suppositions about cause and effect, the nature or severity of the problem, or his prescriptions about what to do are immediately hotly dismissed out of hand, instead of refuted with reasoned argument or evidence. Economics is thoroughly corrupted by politics.

    1. Hey, stupid is as stupid does. Amazing how so many simpletons will so zealously argue for their own enslavement isn't it? LOL.

  6. To people who follow business and economics this is another guy talking about income inequality. To liberals it's someone who isn't Paul Krugman so just based on that they're ecstatic. Now there are TWO economists!