Thoughts on the first half of Piketty’s Capital

Important attention to an important book…

Bryan Alexander

Piketty_Capital_in_the_Twenty-First_Century_(front_cover) I’m halfway through Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century .  It was some major implications for the future, including the future of education.

In this post I’d like to share some impressions of the book upon reaching its halfway point.  I don’t want to summarize it (Doug Henwood does the best job I’ve seen), but address some key elements of content and style.

Piketty’s style is fascinating, and helps enliven what could otherwise be a dry study of statistics.  He writes with humor, mocking his own profession:

[E]conomists like simple stories, even when they are only approximately correct (218)

[T]he discipline of economics has yet to get over its childish passion for mathematics and for purely theoretical and often highly ideological speculation (32)

…particularly when one belongs to the upper centiles of the [wealth] distribution and tends to forget it, as is often the case with economists (267)


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