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Thomas Piketty, Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Translated by Arthur Goldhammer

  • Per H. Hansen

Extract

Rarely does a relatively unknown professor of economics publish a book that sells more than 200,000 copies in a few months. When critics accuse the same economist of being normative, political, of manipulating data, of misunderstanding basic economic theory, and of wanting to impoverish everyone, surely it must be because he is on to something. Other commentators, perhaps a bit prematurely, are claiming that his book is the economics book that will define twenty-first-century debate.

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References

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1 Piketty, Thomas and Saez, Emmanuel, “Inequality in the Long Run,” Science 344, no. 6186 (2014): 838–43.

2 Andrew Berg and Jonathan D. Ostry, Inequality and Unsustainable Growth: Two Sides of the Same Coin? IMF Staff Discussion Note, SDN/11/08 (Washington, D.C., 8 Apr. 2011); and Jonathan D. Ostry, Andrew Berg, and Charalambos G. Tsangarides, Redistribution, Inequality, and Growth, IMF Staff Discussion Note, SDN14/02 (Washington, D.C., Feb. 2014).

3 “For Richer, for Poorer,” Special Report: The World Economy, The Economist 13 Oct. 2012, http://www.economist.com/node/21564414, accessed 6 July 2014.

4 Robert E. Lucas, “The Industrial Revolution: Past and Future,” 2003 Annual Report Essay, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, http://www.minneapolisfed.org/publications_papers/pub_display.cfm?id=3333, accessed 5 July 2014.

5 Quoted from Robert Wade, From Global Imbalances to Global Reorganizations,” Cambridge Journal of Economics 33, no. 4 (2009): 539–62, specifically 552.

6 Mankiw, Gregory N., “Defending the One Percent,” Journal of Economic Perspectives 27, no. 3 (2013): 2134.

7 See, in particular, Kuznets, Simon, “Economic Growth and Income Inequality,” American Economic Review 45, no. 1 (1955): 128.

9 McCloskey, Donald, “The Rhetoric of Economics,” Journal of Economic Literature 21, no. 2 (1983): 481517.

10 See, for instance, Stefan Homburg, “Critical Remarks on Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” Discussion Paper no. 530, Institute of Public Economics, Leibniz University of Hannover, April 2014; Guillaume Allègre and Xavier Timbeau, “The Critique of Capital in the Twenty-First Century: In Search of the Macroeconomic Foundations of Inequality,” Working Paper 2014-10, OFCE, Sciences-Po, Paris, May 2014, http://www.ofce.sciences-po.fr/pdf/dtravail/WP2014-10.pdf. Also, see Summers, Lawrence H., “The Inequality Puzzle,” Democracy 33 (Summer 2014): http://www.democracyjournal.org/33/the-inequality-puzzle.php.

11 Laird, Pamela, Pull: Networking and Success since Benjamin Franklin (Cambridge, Mass., 2006).

12 Hansen, Per H., “From Finance Capitalism to Financialization: A Cultural and Narrative Perspective on 150 Years of Financial History,” forthcoming in Enterprise & Society 15, no. 4 (2014); Hansen, Per H., “Making Sense of Financial Crisis and Scandal: A Danish Bank Failure in the Era of Finance Capitalism,” Enterprise & Society 13, no. 4 (2012): 672706; and Hansen, Per H., “Business History: A Cultural and Narrative Approach,” Business History Review 86 (Winter 2012): 693717.

Thomas Piketty, Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Translated by Arthur Goldhammer

  • Per H. Hansen

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