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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Published by James Rovira

Dr. James Rovira is higher education professional with twenty years experience in the field in teaching, administration, and advising roles. He is also an interdisciplinary scholar and writer whose works include fiction, poetry, and scholarship exploring the intersections of literature and philosophy, literature and psychology, literary theory, and music and literature.. His books include Women in Rock, Women in Romanticism (Routledge, 2023); David Bowie and Romanticism (Palgrave Macmillan, 2022); Writing for College and Beyond (a first-year composition textbook (Lulu 2019)); Reading as Democracy in Crisis: Interpretation, Theory, History (Lexington Books 2019); Rock and Romanticism: Blake, Wordsworth, and Rock from Dylan to U2 (Lexington Books, 2018); Rock and Romanticism: Post-Punk, Goth, and Metal as Dark Romanticisms (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018); and Blake and Kierkegaard: Creation and Anxiety (Continuum/Bloomsbury, 2010). See his website at for details.

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