Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Krugman Slams New Piketty Book: The Economics of Inequality

And I mean slams:
Let me be blunt: I don’t know how the decision was made to release this “new” Piketty book in its current form, but it’s not at all the book one might have expected. It is, instead, a slightly revised version of a volume first published in 1997, when Mr. Piketty was in his mid-20s.

And by slightly I mean very slightly. Even the data tables have not, for the most part, been updated, in many cases containing no information later than 1995. Perhaps more important, the basic outlines of the argument haven’t been updated to reflect later scholarship — not even Mr. Piketty’s own work with Mr. Saez. As the author concedes in a note to readers, “This book does not fully take into account the results of the past 15 years of international research on the historical dynamics of inequality.”...

I’m sorry to be so negative about a book by such an important figure in our economic thinking. But releasing this youthful effort as if it were a new contribution does a disservice to readers, and I’d argue to the author himself.
Of course, Krugman is more a political animal than a curious intellectual, so I wonder why the attack. Did Piketty snub Krugman at a Halloween Party, somewhere, last year?

As for Krugman and Piketty on inequality, they both hold nonsense views. There is no inequality problem.



  1. We have an inequality of access to newly created central bank money. That's the inequality problem.