Monday, February 16, 2015

Not To Be Too Piketty About The Matter...

Piketty: young man, endearing demeanor,
serious book — what's not to like?
... but about six months after I put myself on the hold list at Houston Public Library for French economist Thomas Piketty's book (in Arthur Goldhammer's English translation), Capital in the Twenty-First Century, I picked it up and held it in my hands today. It is no small book, let me tell you!

Why should anyone but a professional economist read this book? There are at least a couple of reasons...
  • One is that, in the year or so since its publication (Aug. 2013 in French; Apr. 2014 in English), it has consistently caused RWNJs to soil their pants and indulge in slinging that soil as only a RWNJ can sling... for some of us, that would probably be reason enough to examine the actual contents of the book. 
  • Another is that Nobel-prizewinning economist Paul Krugman has written many columns and blog posts on Piketty and his (in)famous book. To read them, you can google "krugman on piketty"; that will get you many of Krugman's columns, his review at New York Review of Books, articles by many of Piketty's detractors (a list that overlaps heavily with Krugman's detractors), a few posts at certifiable right-wing sites that I, at least, don't spend much time at, and a handful of Krugman's articles debunking the debunkers.
I notice Piketty was born in 1971, the year I received my Master's degree. All I can say is, this young whippersnapper had better be as good as his reviews say he is...

The book is just shy of 700 pages; I'd better get started. I'll comment on it more as I absorb a bit about what Prof. Piketty has to say.

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