Saturday, October 15, 2016

Hillary Wanted to Show Support for Anti-Capitalist Economist in Key Speech

In preparation for a speech at the New America Foundation, senior Clinton campaign operatives discussed including a mention of economist Thomas Piketty, author of Capital in the Twenty First Century, in the speech.

In an email exchange that is part of the Wikileaks Podesta email dump, Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta wrote to senior Clinton aide Dan Schwerin :
what do you think about a conscious reference to Picketty in the section
on economists analysis of growth and inequality? It's all the rage and
weighing in on the the debate may make her seem tuned in and sympathetic to
the leaning left argument. Not arguing for much here. Just a reference to the debate he has set off.
  Schwerin responded:
HRC had wanted to mention him as you suggest but Jake [Sullivan] thought that it ended up sounding like she was trying too hard to clamor on board the latest bandwagon and made the rest of the speech feel less authentic -- which to me was convincing.
 Ross Douhat in a New York Times column titled Marx Rises Again wrote just weeks before the email exchange:
Piketty himself is a social democrat who abjures the Marxist label. But as his title suggests, he is out to rehabilitate and recast one of Marx’s key ideas: that so-called “free markets,” by their nature, tend to enrich the owners of capital at the expense of people who own less of it.

This idea seemed to be disproved in the 20th century, by the emergence of a prosperous, non-revolutionary working class. But Piketty argues that those developments were transitory, made possible mostly by the massive destruction of inherited capital during the long era of world war.

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