Piketty’s data

May 2024 Forums General discussion Piketty’s data

Viewing 15 posts - 46 through 60 (of 320 total)
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  • #101718
    ALB
    Keymaster

    To be more scientific, he defines Occupy's top 1% as the first centile. Now that's a slogan: Down with the First Centile !

    #101719
    stuartw2112
    Participant

    What do we want? Scientifically correct slogans! When do we want them? After peer review!

    #101720
    ALB
    Keymaster

    Thanks, YMS, for his appendix on Marx. Actually, his "first fundamental law of capitalism" (page 52)  α = r x ß, or share of income from capital in national income = rate of return on capital x stock of capital/national income, can be  translated into crude Marxian categories (s = profit; v = wages, C = stock of capital).In crude Marxian categories his first law is s/(s + v) = s/C x C/(s + v)As this is an identity it can be turned round to get:rate of return =  share of income from capital in national income x national income/stock of capitalor s/C = s/(s + v) x (s + v)/CThe (s + v)s cancel each other out, leaving s/C = s/CHis "second fundamental law of capitalism" (page 166), ß = s/g, or capital income ratio = rate of saving divided by rate of growth of national income per head, is more tricky but it would be something like: percentage of (s + v) accumulated as new capital divided by rate of increase of (s + v) per head. This is not an identity but depends on what s and g happen to be at any time in any country.I know he's going to end up concluding that where r (rate of return on capital) is larger than g (rate of increase of national income per head) then α (share of income from capital in national income) will increase and the rich will get richer compared to the rest of the population whose income comes from work, but I haven't reached there yet and am waiting to see the steps he takes to arrive at this (though it does seem to be intuitive).Then, of course, he's got to show that there is in practice a tendency under capitalism for r to larger than g (and that this tendency isn't be nullified by any counter-tendencies).

    #101721
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    I'm afraid, YMS, that even the Janet and John version will require simplification for me. i bookmarked it for a later attempt to read. I said on another thread, soon as the first algebraic equation appears in an economics article, my mind blurs and i go into a coma. I eagerly await a review in depth that is easily comprehensible and which leads to a political conclusion that differs from a 80% tax rate for the rich as a solution. How about …"Not a Cent for the Centile", Stuart, as a slogan?Someone on another thread has just made a point that we do need slogans to express our ideas. "World for the Workers" is a bit jaded now…We need something more contemporary and catchy. I've just come up with "Disnae Matter – Dinnae Care" for the Scottish Referendum. 

    #101722
    stuartw2112
    Participant

    Alan, don't let the symbols put you off! Piketty always explains very clearly and simply what it all means – and when you think about it it's never much more than common sense really. It's a great book! 

    #101723

    Alan,just do what i do and look at the pictures.  The main thing is he has put some pretty explosive data up for free in one convenient place.  The arcane debates and formulas can be safely put to one (slight) side for more detailed reading.

    #101724
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    yms "just do what i do and look at the pictures. " I said on another thread i am beholden to Rius and his Marx for Beginners and all the sequels by the copy-cats that followed. But i will follow Stuart's and your advice and put some effort in. Every tool is also a weapon.  

    #101725
    pgb
    Participant

    This is the best review of Picketty I have read so far – from latest issue of London Review of Books:http://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n13/benjamin-kunkel/paupers-and-richlings

    #101726
    stuartw2112
    Participant

    I scanned it and saved it up for reading after the book, but it does look very good, yes. Kunkel always good value. As here, on David Harvey:http://www.lrb.co.uk/v33/n03/benjamin-kunkel/how-much-is-too-much

    #101727

    http://boingboing.net/2014/06/24/thomas-pikettys-capital-in-t.htmlCory Doctrow gives a solid review, with extensive quotes and an interesting take, IMNSHO.  I get the feeling that r > g is going to become famous.  Maybe worth a banner?

    #101728
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    I've admitted my economic ignorance but i still can't see whats so ground-breaking about discovering that the rich get richer and money makes money. Nor can i help but think that taxing the wealthy isn't such a new idea either and not always successful and even Piketty says there is something still utopian about his global tax hope.As for discovering there are extremes of inequality a read of Marxist Archive will produce plenty of references to "America's 60 Families" (or sometimes 90) from the 30s as shorthand for the inequality. And the 40s produce, of course, the war profiteers.So one era we have the Robber Barons and then the next it is the Banksters…seems as if the name changes, perhaps even the sphere of capital they operate in, but still the same old same. It is still in the end our labour that is creating all this wealth…well, perhaps not mine personally,  but my doppelganger's in one of Apple's China tech-cities. Must be the cynical philistine in me that i'm not really impressed although it is additional ammunition to use , rather than some new secret weapon.1% v 99% became famous and readily understood when i have used the phrase in conversation, not so sure r > g will be talked about much in the pubs. As for having it on banners, there are better slogans that are better understood. 

    #101729
    stuartw2112
    Participant

    Alan, it really all depends on whether or not you are interested in intellectual and scientific issues. If you are, then I don't see how any such person living in our culture could not be interested enough in Piketty's book either to read it or to read a few reviews. If you're not an intellectually curious person, well, that's no crime, and fair enough, but what on earth is such a person doing on discussion forums? What are they hoping to impart, or to get out of it?Modern day capitalism gets its legitimacy from the idea that great wealth is built on the talent and energy of those who have earned it, and that there is no problem with inequality that couldn't be solved by more market-led growth. Piketty shows, not just by asserting it, or indulging in ideological or theoretical dispute, but by ten years of hard work in the library and social-scientific laboratory, that these ideas are mistaken. The culture-wide peer review currently going on has not been able to find significant fault with his findings. Is this not interesting? Not even to Marxists who knew it all already?

    #101730
    SocialistPunk
    Participant

    When I watched the interview with Piketty on BBC HardTalk, the interviewer brought up the Forbes rich list, stating that most at the top were self made, rather than inheriting their wealth. I'm not 100% sure (without watching it again, something I wish to avoid) but I seem to recall Piketty not challenging the interviewer on that point.It allowed the interviewer to make a blanket statement that capitalism was doing a good job.The real interesting point about this Piketty thing is that he, a supporter of capitalism, is coming under fire from  fellow economists, for daring to tell some of the truth about how capitalism functions.Alan has a point, about it making little difference to "the man in the street", that a leading economist admits capitalism has a tendency towards inequality. Great for the sophisticated, liberal middle class dinner party, but sod all use in the real world of winning over a confused working class. 

    #101731
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    Has our problem really been that we have not had academic or scientific credibility and that the working class have previously accepted the prevailing view that the rich deserved to be rich because the rich said so? And is his conclusion that increased progressive taxation is the solution given legitimacy, too, by being peer reviewed?That added to the research of the Spirit Level our aspiration is simply to lessen inequality to a non-threat to the system so it can still offer wage slavery and alienated labour as a way of life?I'm simply following Marx's advice ….doubt everything, Stuart  

    #101732
    stuartw2112
    Participant

    I agree with SocialistPunk that religious preaching may have a more positive effect on the ignorant unwashed than scientific argument. It's a departure from Marx's own way of doing things, but maybe that's a good thing.I think Piketty ignored the Forbes question because he didn't regard it as serious. He deals with "churn", people moving into and out of the rich, in his book, though people who haven't read it no doubt consider it a killer point.

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