Liberal Pundits of the World Unite Over Thomas Piketty's New Book

Democratic pundits have enthusiastically and unconditionally embraced Capital in the Twenty-First Century, a book that evokes Karl Marx and talks about tweaking the Soviet experiment.

Lance Page / t r u t h o u t/FlickrLance Page / t r u t h o u t/FlickrAs I write this, Thomas Piketty's book Capital in the Twenty-First Century is the number one seller on Amazon.com. It's been deemed an "important book" by a bunch of smart people. Why not? It validates many of the preconceived notions progressives have about capitalism: Inequality is growing. Mobility is shrinking. Meritocracy is dead. We all live in a sprawling zero-sum fallacy.

The book has also sparked nonstop conversation in political and media circles. Though it's best to let economists debunk Piketty's methodology and data, it is worth pointing out that liberal pundits and writers have enthusiastically and unconditionally embraced not only a book on economics but a hard-left manifesto.
Now, I realize we're all supposed to accept the fact that conservatives are alone in embracing fringe economic ideas. But how does a book that evokes Karl Marx and talks about tweaking the Soviet experiment find so much love from people who consider themselves rational, evidence-driven moderates?

Put it this way: It's unlikely that Democrats would have praised a book like this 20 years ago—or even 10. Nowadays, Jack Lew—better known as the treasury secretary of the United States of America—takes time to chitchat with the author.

Piketty, a professor at the Paris School of Economics, argues that capitalism allocates resources efficiently but unfairly apportions income. And the excessive accumulation of wealth by the 1 percent—nay, the 0.01 percent—is not only corrupt but an inequality that makes democracy unsustainable. And it's going to get worse. So only a massive transfer of wealth could make our nation whole again.

I'd ask whether there are any historical examples that prove that skewed wealth in a generally prosperous nation is more damaging to its democratic institutions than the reallocation of wealth by a coercive state. But then I realize that as with any Marxist revival, the answer is: This time, we're gonna do it right!

Judging from the political rhetoric of the day, liberals already believe that higher taxes on the wealthy can create more opportunity for the poor and middle class. Though some of us would argue that the nexus between high taxes and economic growth is tenuous, debating whether the top marginal tax rate should be 25 or 33 or 35 percent is well within the boundaries of a centrist debate. But that's not Piketty's position.
Here's how Daniel Shuchman put it in a recent Wall Street Journal review:

"Mr. Piketty urges an 80 percent tax rate on incomes starting at '$500,000 or $1 million.' This is not to raise money for education or to increase unemployment benefits. Quite the contrary, he does not expect such a tax to bring in much revenue, because its purpose is simply 'to put an end to such incomes.'"

Imagine there are no rich people. You can say he's a dreamer, but he's not the only one.

Piketty also advocates a 60 percent tax rate on those making $200,000 and an additional worldwide tax on wealth. Do his fans want to eliminate high-wage earners to create a fairer society? Is $1 million too low? How about anyone making $5 million a year? Or $10 million? Does that sound crazy?

The fact is that the tax hikes offered by even the most progressive elected Democrats wouldn't alter the dynamics of "fairness" in a society with a $16 trillion gross domestic product. To put it into perspective, ending Bush-era cuts may net the treasury $80 billion yearly. If Piketty's clairvoyance is to be trusted—and I'm assured it can—we will need to transfer trillions of dollars from one class to another just to save our society from disaster. And none of this, according to the author, will destroy economic growth.

Like many progressives, Piketty doesn't really believe that most people deserve their wealth anyway, so confiscating it presents no real moral dilemma. He also argues that we can measure a person's productivity and the value of a worker (namely, low-skilled laborers) while arguing that other groups of workers (namely, the kind of people he doesn't admire) are bequeathed undeserved, "arbitrary" salaries. What tangible benefit does a stockbroker or a kulak or an explanatory journalist offer society, after all?

The thing is that some of us still believe that capitalism fosters meritocratic values. Or I should say, we believe that free markets are the best game in town. Not that long ago, this was a nearly universal position. A lot of people used to believe that even the disruptions of capitalism—the "caprices of technology," as Piketty dismisses them—that rattle "social order" also happen to generate mobility, dynamism, and growth. Today this probably qualifies as Ayn Rand-style extremism.

Then again, I haven't read Rand since college (or maybe it was high school), but if I still believed she was the most prophetic writer of her generation, I might feel compelled to defend her ideas. But Piketty's utopian notions and authoritarian inclinations—ones that I'm pretty sure most Americans (and probably most Democrats) would still find off-putting—do not seem to rattle the left-wing press one bit. Though Piketty's economic data might be worth studying and debating, his political ideas are unworthy of discussion.

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  • entropy_factor||

    the entirety of leftist ideology is based on the pissy realization that someone has done better than you. It's an expression in childish appeal to authority to give you something that you didn't earn.

  • Mike M.||

    Because they think that they're the smartest people in the world, so therefore the existence of people many times wealthier than them is a mockery of that self-delusion.

  • Duke||

    This really about sums it all up. It's intellectually a waste of time to debate crackpots like this. Their ideas suck, they've been proven to suck time and time again, and their sucky ideas have also caused human catastrophes like mass starvation, poverty and the gulag.

    But if your entire life is spent in an ivory tower, I guess it's a lot easier to wish for a perfect totalitarian state. But as someone mentioned earlier, you don't see many socialist ranchers, farmers, shop owners, factories, CPAs, etc.

  • paranoid android||

    you don't see many socialist ranchers, farmers, shop owners, factories, CPAs, etc.

    Yeah, the farmers are reliable capitalists, so long as the subsidy checks keep coming in.

  • Brandon||

    The farmers I know (Eastern Colorado) accept the subsidies for now, but they vote against them (or say they do) and are clamoring for hemp seed so they can start growing an unsubsidized cash crop. Apparently the paperwork for receiving subsidies is a pain in the ass.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    How about in the 1930s when they were threatening to lynch bankers who dared to attempt foreclosure? bankers were great when they were passing out checks, suddenly they deserved death when they wanted to be paid back.

  • Duke||

    62 percent of farms in United States did not collect subsidy payments - according to USDA.

    Ten percent collected 75 percent of all subsidies. Amounting to $178.5 billion over 18 years.

    Top 10%: $32,043 average per year between 1995 and 2012.

    Bottom 80%: $604 average per year between 1995 and 2012.

    Considering that most farmers only receive a few hundred bucks in subsidies, and often pay substantial amounts in taxes, and then comparing them to hospitals who receive trillions in Medicare and Medicaid, I'd say farmers are anarcho-capitalists.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    Now we have to dig into how they are defining "farms" for the purpose of their statistics.

  • Marty Rheaume||

    It's not the direct subsidies that are the problem. I think they even eliminated them in the last farm bill. It's the socialized farm insurance that gives the big payouts.

  • LarryA||

    It's intellectually a waste of time to debate crackpots like this.

    No, it isn't. In fact, it's vital to debate crackpots like this.

    Pit them against people who risked being machinegunned crossing the Berlin wall to escape from the worker's paradise. Put them up against boat people from Cuba or Vietnam. Or the guy who escaped from North Korea.

    I spent several weeks touring with a college group behind the Iron Curtain. Just from that limited experience I learned that no matter how much capitalism sucks, it still beats the alternative.

  • Rhino||

    Since their ideas have caused so many human catastrophes, is it really a waste of time to debate and debunk them? Even if it is again and again, trying to dissuade people from such a horrific ideology isn't what i'd consider a waste of time.

  • Tony||

    No, this is the laughable bullshit excuse you guys give yourself for not having any answers whatsoever about the problems inherent in capitalism.

  • PapayaSF||

    Of course there are problems inherent in capitalism, but the problem for the left is that there more severe problems inherent in socialism.

  • ||

    Derp da derp da tiddly terp.

  • LarryA||

    Back when I was getting my graduate degree a socialist gave us a lecture. (Not my term. She got up on stage and announced, "I am a socialist.")

    She then gave us a long explanation, including charts, of how if the greedy capitalist countries of the world would only convert to rational centrally controlled socialism and share their grain surpluses with the starving countries of the world, hunger would disappear. Then the superior economics of socialism would inspire progress, world peace, and equitable development.

    She was going great guns until some ignorant freshman held up his hand. (I mean the guy was an agriculture major for catssake.) He asked why, if captialism was so bad, it was capitalist countries that all had huge grain surpluses, and the socialist countries that couldn't feed their own people.

  • Michael Price||

    " (I mean the guy was an agriculture major for catssake.) "
    Well that's how he knew how to deal with bullshit.

  • scareduck||

    +1

  • Muzzle of Bees||

    Capitalism: People create value by producing a good or service. We voluntarily exchange fiduciary media to trade our products, value for value. I keep what I earn and you keep what you earn.

    There is no problem with this system. If one person earns a trillion times more money than another, it is irrelevant. If the poorer person is impoverished and destitute it has nothing to do with capitalism. Capitalism doesn't "cause" wealth or poverty. It simply describes what happens when people freely exchange goods and services in markets. Capitalism is not something that has "problems"; it is not something to be "fixed". That person is not poor because of the failure of capitalism as a system, he's poor because he could not produce value and market his products as well as others, for whatever reason. Capitalism has no moral stature. If the poverty of that man is a moral wrong, capitalism is irrelevant to righting that wrong; that consideration falls to the compassion of his fellow man, just as it would in a society with a planned economy.

  • Suicidy||

    Capitalism has produced far better results than anything else in human history. People like you and the trash that wrote this book have no answers except for theft.

    Your ideas have long been discredited. Learn from your mistakes, or we can only hope you all fall prey to some form of attrition.

  • scareduck||

    the entirety of leftist ideology is based on the pissy realization that someone has done better than you.


    And the liberal political ideal is electing the right king.

  • Rhino||

    To be fair, that's also the conservative political ideal.

  • WhatAboutBob||

    Wealth inequality is created by the central banks, high taxes just kill jobs. Even French President Hollande (a socialist) plans to cut taxes to create jobs:

    The French president plans to cut the taxes paid by employers in an effort to restore profit margins and allow businesses room to invest and create jobs.

    Read more: http://www.nasdaq.com/article/.....z2zvvanGje

  • Brandon||

    Wealth inequality is created by government policies that directly subsidize the already-wealthy, such as TARP, ARRA, and all the other garbage that HuffPo and MSNBC say only racists and evil robber barons could possibly oppose.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    It is also created by letting the high profile wealthy folk flaunt the law, on national television no less, with no repercussions at all.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d7Dr8QKGdXs

    If a food cart fleet owner of the same income pulled that, he would be in jail and all of his property would go to the state.

  • Brian||

    Piketty, a professor at the Paris School of Economics, argues that capitalism allocates resources efficiently but unfairly apportions income.

    Since income is a form of resource allocation, this implies efficiency is unfair. We owe it to others to be less efficient. Because...fairness.

  • ||

    Exactly. In what way is "income" not a resource?

    If capitalism allocates resources efficiently, that includes capital, which is used to purchase physical goods, which is used to make stuff, which is purchased with money.

    It's ALL "resources".

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    Seems like income is the key resource for many of their stupid arguments. Seems like they are not even applying Marx or Ricardo's labor theory of value correctly. Their version is every person should get equal payment for every breath, rather than for what they produce per exerted unit of effort. Unless they are artists.

  • -Umbriel-||

    Capitalism "unfairly apportions income"? Somehow, I doubt that the support for that assertion, if any, extends beyond "Look at that guy with all that money. It's ridiculous."

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Sometimes it does. Look at the Waltons and Kochs who combined just stumbled into $150 billion or more due to the birth lottery.

    In a true meritocracy they would be $40,000 office workers.

    (This is not to mean I agree with Piketty. In fact I reject his solutions entirely based on what I have read here)

  • califernian||

    thanks for validating the comment.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Meritocracy (merit, from Latin mereō "earn" and -cracy, from Ancient Greek κράτος kratos "strength, power") is a political philosophy that holds power should be vested in individuals according to merit.[1] Advancement in such a system is based on intellectual talent measured through examination and/or demonstrated achievement in the field where it is implemented.

    Wikipedia

    Learn to look up a definition.

  • Sevo||

    "Learn to look up a definition."

    Learn to read, shitpile.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    Learn what an authoritative source is.

  • paranoid android||

    ...and since your support for that is nothing more than "Look at that guy with all that money. It's ridiculous." you've done nothing but prove Umbriel's point! Good job.

  • Shrug||

    “Look at the Waltons and Kochs who combined just stumbled into $150 billion or more due to the birth lottery.”

    I assume that you are referring to money gifted to them through inheritance. It seems that you feel entitled to dictate the terms of how one person gifts their property to someone else. Or is there a better way you’d like to explain it?

  • Brandon||

    In a true meritocracy they would be wealthy heirs, because Sam Walton would probably still have decided to bequeath his fortune, which was his to dispose of as he wished, to his children. The Kochs, meanwhile, have actually drastically increased the fortune their father left them, so your point is even stupider for including them. What you actually mean is "in a communist dictatorship in which I was in charge, they would be $40,000 office workers, because I have been told that I should hate them."

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    You're an idiot for confusing a meritocracy with communism.

    Maybe the dumbest thing I have ever read on this site...

  • ||

    It's you that doesn't understand the difference demfag.

  • ||

    What birth lottery? Smart families don't let their children start from zero. If born into zero then its another generational chance for a family to be more than zero.

    Smart families grow across the generations.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    They prefer people get to the top like Stalin, not like Swift.

  • OneOut||

    Palin's Buttplug|4.25.14 @ 6:25PM|#

    "In a true meritocracy they would be $40,000 office workers."

    But wealth liberals have earned their money righteously and not through cronyism ?

    Pointing out your hypocrisy is so easy even you could do it.

  • ||

    No he couldn't.

  • Res ipsa loquitur||

    The Kennedy's earned their money, and are meritorious !

  • Mark22||

    And you know this... how?

    The two richest Koch brothers both have Masters in engineering from MIT. That alone means they would likely be millionaires at their age, even if they just got a good corporate job and didn't have any ambitions.

    And the fact that there is a wide spread of wealth between the Koch brothers tells you that some of them are quite a bit better at making money than others.

  • Muzzle of Bees||

    "Birth lottery"

    I hate this fucking term. There is no such thing, it's superstitious claptrap. There is no "luck of the draw" with regards to the circumstances in which you are born. There is no drawing. It's like when people say, "You're so lucky you were born in the U.S., you could have been born in Somalia." No you fucking couldn't have! You are a singular entity, created at a precise moment in time and space. When you write shit like this you're just saying, "Why do Chuck and Davey get to be so lucky! Why couldn't it have been MEEEE!!! NOT FAIR!!!" Or do you just not believe that property can be voluntarily transferred from one party to another. Because either way, you're stupid. The moral justification for inheritance tax is such a retarded idea. "They shouldn't get the money, they didn't EARN it!" So what, the government takes it and gives it to their cronies? Did they "earn" it? Derp derp?

  • Suicidy||

    Just more weasel words to display seething progressive greed and envy. Nothing covets more than a progressive.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    Before the Kennedy generation there was a saying "three generations from shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves." Harnessing the police power of the state changed all that.

  • steedamike||

    This is sort a way of thinking that people who think of themselves as victims tend to do.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Locus_of_control

  • politicsbyothermeans||

    I suppose that explains how they foolishly squandered their inheritances.

  • hotsy totsy||

    You forgot: "While 1 in 5 children have food insecurity!"

  • earthandweather||

    Everything was going so well right up until the end - Your mention of Ayn Rand seemed to serve no real purpose. It's like you just wanted to take a moment to spit at her. Seriously - What's up with that?

  • Brian||

    It's funny how socialists mock libertarians for liking the fiction novels of Ayn Rand, while they base most of their economic and policy theory on Karl Marx.

    At least Ayn Rand knows her work is fiction. Karl Marx and his followers clearly don't.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    Thread winner.

  • Rhino||

    No to mention how socialists act like caricatures of the socialist characters in her books.

  • Sevo||

    ..."capitalism allocates resources efficiently but unfairly"...

    Which pretty much says he's a self-important twit; who is he to judge 'fair'?

  • Brandon||

    He is Thomas fucking Piketty! He wrote a best-selling "Economics" book! All the wealthy and powerful people agree with him! Who are you, peasant?

  • Mumu Bobby||

    I'm looking forward to the cheese in this future society. Stinky, tasty cheese. That's it.

  • ||

    A 60% tax rate on people making $200,000 would reduce your income to $80,000. Try living on that in any major city on the East or West coast.

  • Calidissident||

    I'm pretty sure that people survive on less than $80k in most of those places, but point taken. I assume that the rate mentioned is marginal, so it would apply to income over 200k, not all income, in that case.

    Not that it really matters, as it's still insane and immoral.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    True, but how is a family of four supposed to pay their Obamacare premiums on such a paltry sum?

  • B.P.||

    More importantly, try getting someone to take the $200K job that requires endless hours, high stress, etc., for the same after-taxes pay as the neighbor shlub with the worry-free job.

  • Sudden||

    I believe its a 60% tax on everything above the $200k mark

  • ||

    Hmm, well if the tax rate below that was 0% we can talk. ;)

  • Brandon||

    No. If we start with a proposal for a flat tax, then we can talk. I am open to negotiating whether the tax rate will be 5% or 10%, but the graduated income tax is a travesty. I am also open to negotiating whether to tax income or fund the government entirely through voluntary contributions.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    How about a 60% tax on anything ANYBODY finds unfair, or just doesn't like? The deficit will be gone in moments!

  • Muzzle of Bees||

    I live in the Bay Area and my wife and I take in about $100k/year. We live in a tiny 2bd/1ba rental in the suburbs. We could maybe start thinking about buying something not much bigger if we didn't still have student loans hanging over our heads.

    I'm pretty sure Piketty just thought "What's a big number?" and remembered back when he was a kid and $200k was a fortune. Thing is, everyone who works for a living and pays taxes knows nowadays $200k is just on the high side of a middle-class income.

  • B.P.||

    Again, genius economist thinks economics is a zero-sum game. The fact that a bunch of our best and brightest are falling all over themselves to praise this guy doesn't speak well of our current crop of best and brightest. I'm sure this well-studied moron will finally erase incentives and create the new man.

  • ||

    No wonder corporate America is so fucking retarded if these clowns are the ones running the companies.

  • Duke||

    So only a massive transfer of wealth could make our nation whole again.

    The left is too dumb to realize that even if you redistributed all the wealth equally among all the peoples, the same rich folks you had before would end right back up with all the money again.

  • Brian||

    That just means that they get to keep doing it, over and over again.

    They consider that a feature, not a bug.

  • ||

    +1 permanent revolution

  • Brandon||

    the same rich folks you had before would end right back up with all the money again.

    Actually, people like Krugman, Piketty, Fauxcahontas and the Clintons would end up with much much less than they currently have, assuming the system was not still rigged in their favor.

  • LarryA||

    assuming the system was not still rigged in their favor

    ROTFLMAO

    Look at the history of "redistribution." The money never goes to the poor, it goes to the people who run programs that "help" the poor.

  • OneOut||

    That's not true.

    There are a lot of wealthy people who can't tie their shoes.

    I promise you I would have more of that money than they do.

    Have you never read of the adage that the first generation makes it and the second fucks it off.

  • Brandon||

    It's not just an adage, it's supported by research. Second-generation tends to lose wealth, and third and subsequent generations tend to increase it. My wife works for a family office, and the funds they manage have had explosive growth the last few years as the G2's have been dying off and the G3's and G4's have left their trusts mostly liquid, borrowing from them to fund new businesses or buy homes without taking out mortgages.

  • Mark22||

    Yes. But those wealthy people HAVE money, they aren't EARNING it. Pietky is trying to tax people who EARN their money. All this b.s. primarily hurts people who work for their money.

  • KalkiDas||

    "Communism is idiocy. They want to divide up the property. Suppose they did it -- it requires brains to keep money as well as make it. In a precious little while the money would be back in the former owner's hands and the communist would be poor again." Mark Twain

  • Vulgar Madman||

    The communists thought they had a fix for this, murder the capitalists.

  • Res ipsa loquitur||

    How are the rich going to make money while in the "education" camps or with bullet holes in their craniums ? Obviously you fail to fully understand what true progressives want.

  • sasob||

    Like many progressives thieves, Piketty doesn't really believe that most people deserve their wealth anyway, so confiscating stealing it presents no real moral dilemma.

    Such a convenient concept of morality, isn't it?

  • Jim Bowie||

    "Like many progressives, Piketty doesn't really believe that most people deserve their wealth anyway, so confiscating it presents no real moral dilemma."

    And they can't seem to understand why we have a problem with that. Of course progressives seem to think that way on just about every issue. You don't deserve it unless they justify it necessary for your existence.

  • C. Anacreon||

    And once again, in their minds, no one deserves more than the progressives themselves take home.

  • Brian||

    I don't understand how they can assume they deserve their own income.

    As a central planner, after the revolution, what use do I have for a college professor who likes to go about spouting novel theories about unfairness? I can see him as being much more productive with a shovel in his hand.

    Or, as a fan of free markets, exactly how much money do you get paid flirting with theories that could destroy the economy? How much is that worth?

  • Suicidy||

    Mao had some ideas in this direction.

  • ||

    "But how does a book that evokes Karl Marx and talks about tweaking the Soviet experiment find so much love from people who consider themselves rational, evidence-driven moderates?"

    Reality. You forgot 'consider themselves rational, evidence-driven moderates rooted in REALITY.'

    "Piketty, a professor at the Paris School of Economics...."

    Well, there's your problem right there. Paris and economics - or if you prefer, France and economics - are currently mutually exclusive. The French are highly vulnerable to left-wing gibberish garnished with foie gras.

    "...argues that capitalism allocates resources efficiently but unfairly apportions income."

    ONCE again. Vapidity in the face of stupidity. I suppose he and his ilk and flunkies will determine what's 'fair' right? You - snaps finger - yeah you. You may own the business but you do nothing and are unproductive. We're capping what you can pay yourself because kids and poor.

    Oh, if you think I kid, salary or income caps are on the way. Liberal/progs will jump on that soon.

  • Duke||

    Oh, if you think I kid, salary or income caps are on the way. Liberal/progs will jump on that soon.

    It's already happening, just through the back door. My taxes went up a lot under Obama because of the expiration of Bush tax cuts, the brand new Net Investment Tax, and will go up further under Obamacare's penaltax provisions.

    Remember, Progs love going through the back door.

  • Brandon||

    Remember, Progs love going through the back door.

    I thought that was Catholic chicks?

  • sasob||

    Piketty, a professor at the Paris School of Economics, argues that capitalism allocates resources efficiently but unfairly apportions income.

    Shorter Piketty: Oh, boo hoo, boo hoo - someone has more than someone else does.

  • airforce||

    I would suggest someone give Mr. Piketty a copy of "Man, Economy, and State."

  • sasob||

    I would like to suggest someone give him a blast of buckshot in the ass - it's what a thief deserves.

  • sasob||

    Like many progressives, Piketty doesn't really believe that most people deserve their wealth anyway,...

    So somehow that means he and his friends - or those they choose - do?

  • hotsy totsy||

    What he and his friends mean is that the only reason they don't have billions is because they are more MORAL than the Kochs or Waltons or other "one percenters".

  • guru||

    We could, alternatively, just raise interest rates to something rational. That will be a pretty good haircut on the financiers playing corrupt games pumping up an equities bubble on free government cash.

  • Mark22||

    I have a better idea: the government should get out of the money lending business altogether.

  • Rev Match||

    "Mr. Piketty urges an 80 percent tax rate on incomes starting at '$500,000 or $1 million.'...

    Because the phrase, "If I could get to keep just 1/5 of what I am worth that would be...well...that would be just swell!", was/is so popular.

  • Restoring the Dream||

    I thank this book, and this article for one thing: I have sought to find a real use for the concept of fairness, other than "stuff "I don't like". Fairness applies to a game or contest, even going so far as a courtroom, descended from judicial combat. Think of a game of chess, stylized combat- fought under equal terms. But when I was in the Army, their research had codified fighting into three rules, the last of which was, "Never fight on equal terms." Games and competition may have developed to decide who was the best at any skill, only ascertained by what could not be obtained in real life: equal starting points.

    However, who in his right mind fights on equal terms? That's a prescription for attrition, not victory. I say it applies to competition in commerce as well. Who would enter a market unless they believed they had an advantage? Even commodity producers believe they have some advantage over others in a market. Who would invest in a business that only offered a "fair fight"?

    The concept of fairness, in real life, goes no farther than a courtroom, and that only because it is imposed on the people. It simply has no relevance anywhere else.

  • Number 2||

    I guess another more tens of millions of average people will have to die from famine in order to put this Marxist nonsense to rest for another 25 years.

  • Bob Mitchell||

    Because liberals read this book their all a bunch of Marxist. There, I did it in a lot less words.

  • Brandon||

    "Because liberals read this book, they're all a bunch of Marxists. There, I did it in a lot fewer words."

    This needed a lot of work to even be comprehensible. But you got it backwards. Because liberals believe themselves to be Marxists (because they've never had to live under a Marxist system, or they believe they would be the ones dictating from the top of such a system) and this book affirms their beliefs, they are reading this book in large numbers. You should work on reading comprehension, and then on basic spelling and grammar.

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    Which charity is he giving his book proceeds to?

    It's the easiest way to shut a liberal up and I do it all the time.

    "Well, you have more money than me, which isn't fair, so give me some of it"

  • R C Dean||

    But how does a book that evokes Karl Marx and talks about tweaking the Soviet experiment find so much love from people who consider themselves rational, evidence-driven moderates

    Obviously, no one who is actually a rational, evidence-driven moderate would embrase warmed-over neo-Marxism.

    So, these people are delusional.

    But, I think we already knew that.

  • R C Dean||

    Imagine there are no rich people. You can say he's a dreamer, but he's not the only one.

    I don't believe for one instant that he and his ilk are imagining a world with no rich people whatsoever. He's trying to make a world where the right people are the only rich people.

    You get one guess as to who he thinks the right people are.

  • Mudhen||

    I never see these so called "Smartest People in the Room" advocating to donate their own personal wealth to the Govt or Charity and vow to live on no more than $200K a year. Their always for reallocating somebody else's wealth.
    They also never answer the question about what to do with those who have no real ambition to be a producer in society. I have a cousin who graduated college and is approaching 50 who's never held a real job in his life and never will as long as they're Govt handouts him and his family. He too whines about "fairness", yet when I've offered him the opportunity at a job where he could be earning over $100K in a few years he complains that it sounds too hard. Worst thing the left ever did to the educational system was raising up kids self asteem without having earned it. You should feel pride because you're EARNED something, not just because you tried.

  • Robert||

    What's the job, and is it still open? Is it that one the guy keeps posting about here with more specific figures?

    What does your cousin actually do? What does he want to do?

  • Mudhen||

    The job is working for the railroad. Most of the Major RRs are hiring thousands this year. Wages start at around $40k the first year but go up once you're out of training. Of course you will be working outdoors in a 24/7/365 environment. Look on BNSF.com, UPRR.com, also check the websites for the CSXT, NS, KCS, CP and CN.

    As for my cousins career choice, let's just says while it's not Art History, but it isn't much better.

  • steedamike||

    I think that in the left's attempt to protect the vulnerable classes, they've inadvertently created a class of people who think they are victims. I posted the same link earlier, but I'll post it again in response to your comment:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Locus_of_control

  • KalkiDas||

    Ellsworth Picketty or Thomas Toohey?

  • CharlotteHaze||

    Considering this book’s prog-friendly message… AND considering how easy it is to hire a marketing firm to bulk-buy a book onto the best-seller list… AND considering that the prog media is rhapsodic over the book’s sales… am I the only one who smells a rat?

  • PapayaSF||

    Hmmm, good point.

  • american socialist||

    Conservative writer conflates wealth and merit for the 1,256,434,112th time and thinks that high rates of taxation on high earners is ahistorical. Dear libertarians, can you point me out a chart that correlates high rates of economic growth and the top tax bracket on high earners. Why isn't this front and center on Reason.com?

  • Sevo||

    american socialist|4.25.14 @ 9:48PM|#
    "Conservative writer conflates wealth and merit for the 1,256,434,112th time"

    Asshole socialist presumes poverty is merit for the Nth time.
    Fuck off, or go starve to death.

  • Brian||

    american socialist:

    Dear libertarians, can you point me out a chart that correlates high rates of economic growth and the top tax bracket on high earners. Why isn't this front and center on Reason.com?

    Well, in the United States, we've had the top tax bracket go down from 90% or so during Eisenhower, to 70% under Carter, to 35% or so under Reagan.

    And GDP looks like grew pretty good during those years.

    Clearly maximum taxation isn't necessary for economic growth.

  • american socialist||

    If I applied your logic I point to the years between 1942-1945 and say that the way to economic nirvana is 94% tax rates. It's pretty funny that people that argue economic growth is tied to tax cuts have to point to years of stupendous deficits or massive war related expenditures to make their point. Can we return to the arguments about how high debt loads reduce economic growth now?

  • Sevo||

    american socialist|4.26.14 @ 12:03AM|#
    "If I applied your logic I point to the years between 1942-1945 and say that the way to economic nirvana is 94% tax rates."

    Cite missing and please cite *direct* comparisons.
    Somehow, I'm sure this won't happen.

  • Brian||

    american socialist:

    If I applied your logic I point to the years between 1942-1945 and say that the way to economic nirvana is 94% tax rates. It's pretty funny that people that argue economic growth is tied to tax cuts have to point to years of stupendous deficits or massive war related expenditures to make their point. Can we return to the arguments about how high debt loads reduce economic growth now?

    How about we return to your original argument, which stated that there's no chart showing high economic growth and low upper tax rates? Which is clearly refuted by economic data?

    If you want to change the argument to causation, then, we can talk about that. Taxes don't grow wealth. Taxes take money from people. Period. Here's the proof: imagine a government that only taxed, and then saved the money up for a rainy day fund. How much wealth would that produce?

    Even Keynesians understand that when they suggest deficit spending to stimulate an economy: if you tax away the deficit, it's not a deficit any more, and it doesn't stimulate.

    Producing wealth grows an economy. All the government can do is move it around in hopes that someone, somewhere, produces wealth with whatever they have.

  • american socialist||

    Sure... no problem. If I regress the % increase in annual gdp versus the rate at which the richest Americans are taxed, I find that for every one percent increase on top earners economic growth goes up by .032% when analyzed from 1940-2013 and .006% when analyzed from 1946-2013.

    I think the 1940 numbers are better since libertarians have assured me that the economic growth we saw in the 80s was because we freed up rich people to trade securities and snort blow and not Reagan's military buildup. Thus, I decided to include the years arch-fiend FDR led this country into an illegitimate war against misunderstood National SOCIALIST Hitler in my analysis.

    Ergo, if we increased the top tax rate back to where Bill O'Reilly says it is on his taxes (70%) we could expect to have an increase in economic growth by ~1%. So, we get to have economic growth and tax FoxNews blowhards more. Win win.

    My raw numbers come from www.bea.gov/national/xls/gdplev.xls and
    www.taxfoundation.org (look for historical tax tables)

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    If I regress the % increase in annual gdp versus the rate at which the richest Americans are taxed, I find that for every one percent increase on top earners economic growth goes up by .032% when analyzed from 1940-2013 and .006% when analyzed from 1946-2013.

    Did you happen to include government spending amounts in that calculation as well? After all, Eisenhower's last budget was about $750 billion, inflation-adjusted, with 50 percent of that going to military spending.

    I'll be more than happy to go back to Eisenhower-era tax rates if you're willing to go back to Eisenhower-era budgets.

  • Mark22||

    Actually, you're conflating high earners with wealth for starters. High earners are usually professionals and small business owners.

    Taxing the top income brackets will do nothing to the wealthy, who generally don't earn a lot of income.

    As for correlations, given that the effects of high taxes often take many years to materialize, correlations are hard to find. But it's clear that people with money and/or skills emigrate to places with low taxes.

  • Sevo||

    "Taxing the top income brackets will do nothing to the wealthy, who generally don't earn a lot of income."

    That hypocrite Buffett claims income is taxed 'way too low. And takes $100K income from his business and the rest in capital gains.

  • american socialist||

    So, why not just tax capital gains at the same rate we tax income from people that actually work for a living?

    Mark Zuckerberg moved to Texas? When, exactly, did that happen? The companies I see moving from California are shitty chain restaurants, where busboys long to work overtime but are stopped by the government overlord, and the company formally headed by Sore Loserwomen, Meg Whitman.

  • ||

    "So, why not just tax capital gains at the same rate we tax income from people that actually work for a living?"

    That's right. Just tax everything in sight.

    Capital gains is not just for the 'rich.' EVERYONE benefits from capital gains and dividends. It's a way of achieving wealth - tax it and you hurt a person in a lower class looking to improve their wealth. For example, they invest $5000 in a mutual fund and it grows thus generating a $100 capital gain. That gain should be left in the hands of the investor who took the risk. Why should he or she give 20% 0r 25% or whatever to the fucking government? To hand it over to people like you who then turn and around and waste it in useless social schemes or worse - as socialists are masters at - pocketing it.

    That's how you make money. But the left are so financially illiterate they can't even grasp this basic powerful tool at their disposal can actually HELP the people they claim to help.

    Now think of the effect across an entire economy.

    No, instead you want to tax the shit out of everything in sight. So enlightening.

  • Sevo||

    american socialist|4.26.14 @ 3:09AM|#
    "So, why not just tax capital gains at the same rate we tax income from people that actually work for a living?"

    Because, fortunately, those who write tax law are not quite the ignoramus you are and they might even be less of a slimy shit.

  • AlbertP||

    "So, why not just tax capital gains at the same rate we tax income from people that actually work for a living?"

    I DID work for the money I get from investing. I decided to invest as much as I could for my retirement, rather than buy fancy sports cars or $80,000 boats. And now, that I am retired, I can actually live well above the poverty level. Don't ever tell me I didn't "earn" my capital gains. I made the money; I made the investment; I took the risk. Take away my incentive for investing, and maybe I would buy that sports car and boat, and now be living off food stamps and charities to supplement the joke they call "social security."

  • american socialist||

    "Take away my incentive for investing, and maybe I would buy that sports car and boat,"

    Wouldn't this improve the economy more than checking your Charles Schwab account?

    " would buy that sports car and boat, and now be living off food stamps and charities to supplement the joke they call "social security."

    If you find Social Security to be an imposition why don't you hand back your check? Your fellow conservatives on this chat board have called it a Ponzi Scheme. You know what the legal remedy is for getting your money back from such a thing?

  • PaulW||

    Wow.

    I knew progressives were economically retarded, but I didn't think it was this bad.

    I thought Keynes' paradox of thrift had been thoroughly debunked?

    Where do you think his money is the whole time it is in that Charles Schwab account? Under some banker's mattress, but he'll give 7% to you for letting him stuff it there?

    And what do you think this guy is going to do with his money when he retires?

  • AlbertP||

    Really? Give it to whom? Somebody who didn't work for it? Social Security is not an imposition, but it is often a joke for the average working person, if they think it's going help their retirement be more enjoyable. You assume I am a conservative. You really should not give into your preconceptions - it makes you look..well, silly. I am not against the concept of Social Security, but the system simply doesn't address the needs of a society where only one in three adults work full-time. Buying a sports car (or several) would most likely improve the economy for a very short time (a nano-second?). It would not help me a all. But NOT buying them gives me a level of personal economic security I could not otherwise obtain. Do I really need to apologize for using common sense? LOL, too funny.

  • PaulW||

    I'm against SS. I'll get about 30k a year from it when I retire. I put in the exact same percentage into other retirement (including what employers put into SS) accounts and I'll in all likelihood retire a multimillionaire if I wait to 59.

    If I could use that SS money and put it into a private account, I could probably retire by the time I'm around 50, or at least drastically cut back on my work.

  • wadair||

    You obviously know little about Texas. The economy here has been growing for decades.

    Zuckerberg is a one-trick-poney. He developed a tool for delivering targeted advertising, but he doesn't really produce much in the way of wealth.

  • ||

    Fuck off slaver.

  • Sevo||

    Unlike most proggies, Piketty states clearly that the efficient use of resources /= the "fair" use of same. IOWs, if we are to have "fair" use, we must yield some efficiency. So at the very least, he clearly states that supposed egalitarianism is going to cost growth; you don't get both. Now that leaves him with defining "fairness" and somehow telling us how much growth we are going to have to give up for that value.
    It seems that we need to take him at his word and I think we will find in theory that as we approach "fair" we will approach universal poverty, as we have found in every practical application.

  • american socialist||

    As opposed to libertarians who think having an extra 1% of GDP is worth poisoning your air and putting grandma in some shitty poor house when she can't work any more.

    Do they have universal poverty in Denmark where the tax rate on income is the highest in the world?

  • Sevo||

    american socialist|4.25.14 @ 10:05PM|#
    "As opposed to libertarians who think having an extra 1% of GDP is worth poisoning your air and putting grandma in some shitty poor house when she can't work any more."
    New strawman death caused by idiotic asshole! Surprise!

    "Do they have universal poverty in Denmark where the tax rate on income is the highest in the world?"
    Strange you didn't address the lack of growth, and, BTW, Denmarks' recent move away from that which has stifled growth.

  • PapayaSF||

    To paraphrase Milton Friedman, there is no poverty among Danish-Americans, either.

  • sasob||

    Probably wouldn't have to put grandma in some shitty poor house, if the shitty banking and financial elite and their shitty partners in government weren't constantly pilfering away the purchasing power of her savings through monetary inflation - lately known as Quantitative Easing.

  • american socialist||

    "I'd ask whether there are any historical examples that prove that skewed wealth in a generally prosperous nation is more damaging to its democratic institutions than the reallocation of wealth by a coercive state."

    You're living it David-- Citizens United and all. Since you libertarians conflate taxation with theft there are a bunch of countries that reallocate their wealth and would fall under your definition of coercive that are very strong democracies-- not light the tin-pot banana republic you write about. Thank God, though, some billionaire plutocrat can donate to 9-9-9 campaign unhindered. Isn't that the kind of democracy you guys continue to push. I mean, vhat a country!

  • Sevo||

    american socialist|4.25.14 @ 9:58PM|#
    "I'd ask whether there are any historical examples that prove that skewed wealth in a generally prosperous nation is more damaging to its democratic institutions than the reallocation of wealth by a coercive state."

    "You're living it David-- Citizens United and all."

    I see that reading is also a skill you lack.
    Notice that he asks a *comparison* with coercive states, not an assertion from some idiotic asshole.
    Now, idiotic asshole, please compare the democratic institutions of say, the USSR and the current US.

  • american socialist||

    You mean other than laughable assertions about how great it was to live in a democracy? Yes, they did that in the ussr too.

  • Sevo||

    american socialist|4.25.14 @ 11:16PM|#
    "You mean other than laughable assertions about how great it was to live in a democracy? Yes, they did that in the ussr too."

    I'll bet you thought there was a point in there, didn't you?
    When you can form a logical argument, please return.

  • Brian||

    american socialist:

    You're living it David-- Citizens United and all.

    Because we all know that politicians started being bought and paid for only after Citizen's United, in 2010.

    Before that? Pure as driven snow.

  • PapayaSF||

    Note that these "strong democracies" are all basically mono-ethnic, exist only because they live under the military protection of the US, and are all demographically dying.

  • Sevo||

    They are also, by comparison to the US, cities.
    "Population: 5.60 million (2013)"
    (link too long; search Danish population)

    So they are largely homogenous, tiny, have long histories of cooperation, and are now admitting it isn't really a good idea.
    Hmmm; yes a much better comparison to the US than the USSR, right? Especially if you're a fucking lefty idiot trying to pitch your murderous agenda.

  • american socialist||

    Yes, yes... I know Denmark has less Black and Mexican people and thus makes it more prosperous. Denmark is giving up its vacation time and socialized medicine programs? When did this happen?

  • ||

    You do realize that we have two living examples of your economic ideas right? If you like socialism so much, why don't you go live in one of them?

  • Sevo||

    american socialist|4.26.14 @ 3:19AM|#
    "Yes, yes... I know Denmark has less Black and Mexican people and thus makes it more prosperous."{

    Yeah, a slimy shit like you would immediately turn to racism.
    BTW, I see you ignored the question, and I'm sure it's *because* you are a slimy shit:
    "...a much better comparison to the US than the USSR, right?"

  • american socialist||

    If you'd stop making racist comments maybe I wouldn't accuse you of racism.

    "..a much better comparison to the US than the USSR, right?""

    I already answered the question. Astounding levels of self-deception exist and existed in the US and USSR.

  • steedamike||

    I believe Mr. Sevo was referring to homophily:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homophily

    People who share the same interests or are on the same team (so-to-speak) such as race, tend to cooperate better.

    Read The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt - don't worry, he's a liberal. At least watch some of his videos or read a review on the book.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    I know Denmark has less Black and Mexican people and thus makes it more prosperous.

    I realize as a shitlib, you don't understand the limits of scale, but that's your failing, not ours.

    Denmark is giving up its vacation time and socialized medicine programs? When did this happen?

    You might try reading the news sometime:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04.....d=all&_r=0

  • Itolot||

    Welcome to Qingdao! We can provide all kinds of services like house rental, tour guide for foreigners in Qingdao! our forum:Itolot.

  • REMant||

    You can probably thank Australian economist Steve Keen, who has been running around for the past several years expounding Hyman Minsky and advocating the idea of a debt jubilee in a left-handed act of Schumpeterian destruction.

    Producer surplus is, of course, the foundation of Marx's economics. Where Hume lauded capital accumulation, Marx considered it theft, as does Keynes, whom all the Democrats love. Unfortunately Marx was also an easy money man and hated gold bugs as much as William Jennings Bryan, and it is clearly the latter to blame for the disparity in wealth and with it sending domestic jobs overseas and the skewing of production away from things our own workers can afford.

    Around my neighborhood in the DC suburbs they are, for instance, tearing down moderately priced, well-built older homes as fast as they can, and replacing them with shoddily-constructed behemoths cost 2-3 times as much, built by migrant workers, all thanks to the Fed. And you can thank them as well for the fact that the land these sit on is valued several times the national average.

    If they are going to wipe out capital, they at least ought to consider the mechanism by which today it is largely accumulated. But I doubt you'll ever hear anything remotely like that from the Summers', Yellen's and DeLong's and Soro's.

  • REMant||

    Progressive taxation is not exactly a new idea, tho. Adam Smith, who was no advocate of fiat money, wrote in the Wealth of Nations: "It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion." Thomas Jefferson and John Adams believed that taxes should be levied in proportion to the ability to pay and the benefit to be derived from their object, even tho they agreed that banks were inherently pernicious and a "moral hazard."

  • Sevo||

    REMant|4.25.14 @ 10:26PM|#
    "Progressive taxation is not exactly a new idea, tho."

    Yes, there are many old, bad ideas.

  • Tony||

    This is a meticulously cited work that explains the obvious patterns in capitalism people have experienced over the century. Capitalism leads to wealth concentration, and the only thing to ever create a large middle class and accompanying prosperity and human advancement was the large-scale government economic intervention of the war and post-war era, which Piketty treats as an aberration. So not only is laissez-faire practically designed to maximize wealth concentration, the more moderate iterations of capitalism still tend to do the same. And all you guys have to offer in response are fairy tales. You don't have the data. You just don't. And on this and other subjects, your willingness to dismiss data that doesn't suit you means you deserve not to be taken seriously about anything.

  • ||

    "This is a meticulously cited work"

    Tee-hee!

  • Sevo||

    Freudian slip?

  • Sevo||

    Tony|4.25.14 @ 10:51PM|#
    "Capitalism leads to wealth concentration,"

    Yes, Tony, and as Piketty himself points out, socialism leads to poverty.
    Why do you love poverty for other people, Tony?

  • Tony||

    Ask yourself. He argues for massive downward wealth transfer and so do I, meaning less poverty. But we can't do that, not because of anything having to do with economic fairness or practicality, but because it's a worse crime to tax someone than it is to let them starve, based on some obvious and petty self-justifying moral horsehshit you latched onto.

  • Sevo||

    Tony|4.25.14 @ 11:14PM|#
    "Ask yourself"

    Nope. I'm arguing for prosperity. You, as a sleazy lefty, are arguing for poverty in order to keep other people from making more than you.
    So, please tell my why you favor poverty.

  • Tony||

    You're arguing for bullshit and tacking the word "prosperity" to it. If my preferred means do not lead to an increased share of wealth, I will gladly abandon them in favor of what works. What about you?

  • Sevo||

    Tony|4.25.14 @ 11:27PM|#
    "You're arguing for bullshit and tacking the word "prosperity" to it"

    No, Tony, you're ignoring what the man writes and hoping other will also.
    Efficient allocation will yield prosperity and even a fucking idiot like you knows that.
    You're hoping that people will ignore that and follow your slime politics of envy.
    Sorry, busted by a guy who claims he's equally envious.

  • Sevo||

    Oh, and:
    ..."If my preferred means do not lead to an increased share of wealth,"...

    Well, the shares will be more equal (except for the rulers), but "wealth" won't be what's shared.
    It will be poverty that's shared; see, oh, Cuba.

  • steedamike||

  • Mark22||

    It's your mistake to believe that a "massive downward wealth transfer" means less poverty. What it actually leads to is more poverty.

    As for starvation, nobody has needed to starve in the US for a long time because of poverty, so spare us your faux outrage or delusions of moral superiority.

  • PaulW||

    No, we argue for the best means to greater wealth for everyone.

    Ask yourself this, Tony. If everyone doubled their wealth tomorrow, we'd all be able to buy twice as much stuff.

    Yet inequality would be exactly the same, and you'd still be crying like the delusional asshole that you are.

  • Brian||

    Tony:

    Capitalism leads to wealth concentration, and the only thing to ever create a large middle class and accompanying prosperity and human advancement was the large-scale government economic intervention of the war and post-war era, which Piketty treats as an aberration.

    I thought you said that it was the labor movement that was the only thing capable of spreading wealth. Now it's some vague reference to WW2 and the post-war era?

    I'm just going to leave this right here.
    Economic liberalization in the post-World War II era.

  • Tony||

    The labor movement was an important part of the "aberration" of more widespread wealth we experienced. And this whole book is an explanation, as if we needed one, that trickle-down economics is a fairy tale.

  • Sevo||

    Tony|4.25.14 @ 11:18PM|#
    ..."And this whole book is an explanation, as if we needed one, that trickle-down economics is a fairy tale."

    Actually, it's a clear explanation of why socialism is a method of delivering universal poverty.
    See here, Tony: "Piketty, a professor at the Paris School of Economics, argues that capitalism allocates resources efficiently but unfairly apportions income."
    Now, that statement makes it clear we will have to yield growth to accomplish "fairness". Taken to either extreme, we can have growth and prosperity, and yes, some will be more prosperous than others, or we can have "fairness' with all at the poverty level.
    Tell us again, Tony, why do you prefer poverty?

  • sasob||

    Because he can't stand it if some are better off than others. It's not that he wants to be better off himself - he just resents the fact that others might be. He's like the dog in the manger.

  • Brian||

    The labor movement was an important part of the "aberration" of more widespread wealth we experienced.

    Really?

    Since the labor movement started really gaining steam in the early 20th century, doesn't that fall before "the large-scale government economic intervention of the war and post-war era"?

    So, how do you explain way the idea of a middle class existing before the end of the 1800's? And, during practically all of the 1800's? Some bizarre free market aberration?

    It's like you think everyone was a peasant agrarian farmer until Woodrow Wilson.

  • Brian||

    Tony:

    that trickle-down economics is a fairy tale.

    "Trickle-down economics" is just a pejorative that doesn't even describe any particular economic theory or policy. It's just a silly buzz word that socialists throw around.

    If all his book does is refute a vague reference to undefined economic policies, then I'm not sure what the point of reading it is.

  • MJGreen||

    Piketty couldn't even get the American minimum wage right. I'd be suspicious of much of the data he cites and the conclusions he draws from them, considering he twists something so basic as US minimum wage legislation to fit his ideological argument.

  • ||

    Shhh, don't try to confuse Tony, or Pinketty for that matter, with facts. They KNOW they are right and we are wrong and nothing will ever change that until we welcome government into our hearts.

  • Michael Price||

    "Capitalism leads to wealth concentration, "
    Compared to what? The more government intervention in the economy the more the rich can rig the system. Fascism has higher wealth concentration, and the close you go towards fascism the more concentrated the wealth gets. Communism has the wealth concentrated absolutely in the Central Committee or even one member of it.

  • Svoogle||

    "Though it's best to let economists debunk Piketty's methodology and data," Debunk? As an economist, I would say we first need to "debunk" classical economic theory in general before we can ever claim anything again. A "science" that rests on a few simplifying assumptions which one after the other are currently being debunked, maybe it is time to be a little more humble. The "science" of economics is in shambles.

  • Sevo||

    Svoogle|4.25.14 @ 11:27PM|#
    ..."The "science" of economics is in shambles."

    Oh, in that case we should just throw dice?
    You're an economist?

  • Mark22||

    If you believe that we need to "debunk classical economic theory", you're not an economist. Basic market economics is true and doesn't rest on "simplifying assumptions". It's modern mathematical economics that makes simplifying assumptions. And Keynesianism and neo-Marxism are just plain wrong.

  • sasob||

    So how much are used copies of this great 700 page economic treatise selling for on Amazon - same price as used copies of Dreams From My Father?

  • sasob||

  • ||

    It really does come down to one simple reality with the left: Envy. They want to call the 'other side' greedy, well, then they're envious.

    It's the only way to explain this unhealthy obsession with focusing on what other people have and don't have. It's insane that they comment on things can't possibly understand. Think of it, they're so deluded and rage-envy, they literally think a CEO or CFO does 'nothing' and then proceed to come up with all sorts of misguided metrics and stats to prove that the CEO's are hoarding all the money without EVER ONCE conceding or recognizing that the 'pie' they refer to ALWAYS expands. So, if a CEO made $100 in 1990 and made $200 in 2000 means jack shit if not complemented with the overall growth and wealth created - which, for the most part, happens in a capitalist economy.

    They then fall into vapid sentences like 'the rich are getting richer and the poor poorer.' When what's really happening is bssic math at work - and I admit this is just my impression. For example, if you own $100 and the other guy $50 the compound interest effect on investments will naturally be higher on the former. I think this is where they get all nervous and upset about. And the reverse is true too. A wealthier person will lose more in 'total' dollars than a person with less investment. Basic math.

  • ||

    As for income stagnation, it's only normal that at some intervals the higher bracket races higher since, you know, they include SUCCESSFUL people. Nonetheless, they've pretty much stagnated for everyone.

    http://www.economist.com/blogs.....09/incomes

  • ||

    Last point.

    Whenever people like Tony and American Socialist use words like 'sharing' and 'fairness' it's just alluding to socialist code words for control of wealth. In other words, fairness for all but for none.

    Here's my problem with the Tony's of the world and I saw and see it all the time in talking with people.

    One guy has his shit together and knows exactly where he's heading and thus invests and plans accordingly. He listens to all the basic markings and axioms of financial success: Saving, keep debt in check, live within your means, invest a percentage of your pay etc., take savings reinvest into a home or revenue property etc.. The other chooses not to do so. He (or she) may choose to travel the world. Or simply doesn't have the discipline or interest to follow this simple act of financial preservation. They make frivolous decisions along the way never once recognizing their decisions could impact what they could earn.

    Then what happens when, say, they hit their mid 30s? The former guy is sailing. The other guy wallows. This is where all the bull shitting, whining complaining begins. The obsession with 'the other guy.' Why should he earn this, and how much does one need? It's a horrible form of projection rooted in the reality that their failures are a result of their own choosing and decision making.

    I generalized in parts because I have to keep it as brief as possible but that's the gist of it - to me anyway.

  • ||

    Tonies, Tonys. No apostrophe sorry.

  • steedamike||

    Part 1/2

    Not that anyone will read this as I'm a few days late but...Saying that the left is envious is sort of right and sort of wrong too. One of the ways that I use to determine the motivation of a liberal is attempting to understand that their primary moral motivation relates to compassion - they want to ease suffering. If you read Johnathan Haidt, he says that their 2 primary moral foundations are care vs harm, and fairness vs cheating. Another point is that I find it helpful to consider 'suffering' as some sort of metric, just like wealth. When a libertarian thinks of 'fairness', we tend to mean equal treatment - when a liberal thinks of 'fairness', they (I believe) mean equal suffering. To repost a comment from Sugarfree:

    http://reason.com/blog/2014/04.....nt_4418219

    SugarFree|4.1.14 @ 12:25PM|#

    It's because high-running emotions cause people to misunderstand that fairness is treating people equally instead of a cosmic seesaw of real and imagined slights that has to be maintained in perfect balance no matter what cruelties that requires.

  • steedamike||

    Part 2/2

    So, you could say that the left wants to transfer wealth downward - but I think that it may be more accurate to say that they want to transfer suffering upwards. Apply the suffering metric to affirmative action - 2 students; one is a black son of a doctor, the other is a white son of a janitor. I'd guess that a purely ideological liberal would give the 1 student slot to the poorer white student - because suffering.

    One problem with this constant protection of a vulnerable class of people, is that it creates a class of victims with a high external locus of control (I've already posted a comment about this above). The other problem with a constant re-shuffling of suffering is that it reduces the incentive to better yourself. I believe that this increases overall suffering, sort of like how libertarians generally believe that constantly reshuffling wealth down will decrease overall wealth.

    I had more points but I’m tired of thinking now.

  • steedamike||

    Fine, another point. I think that most liberal arguments boil down to easing suffering in some shape or form. Johnathan Haidt (or Dale Carnegie?) says that when a person argues, they aren't searching for truth - they are searching for justification of their side of the argument, which is most likely based on an emotional or intuitional decision. So even a very elaborate liberal argument in the form of a best-selling book by - say Krugman or Piketty - boils down to justification for their moral foundations in that they want to ease suffering - short-sightedness be damned.

  • rickl7069||

    Those in power have been researching population control for a VERY long time. Put a dog on an electrified surface that they can't escape and eventually the dog will be taught that life is suffering and it is what it is. Now, put that dog on an electrified surface with a one foot wall and he will just lay there believing that this is how he must live.
    Voting is an illusion designed to control us, to make us think that we have some kind of choice and then frustrate us similar to the dog - are any of you frustrated from voting yet? Those in real power, not the President, are herding us toward a more centralized state that will be more friendly to a one world government.
    Keep voting and watch us continue in that direction. While a President can make some small changes and have some small differences over another, He is mostly a puppet for those with true power. We are NOT going to vote ourselves back to freedom, it is NOT that easy. I'm waiting for the day when enough people realize, as our founders did, that talking and voting is not the answer.
    Anybody know where most of the scientists out of Nazi Germany, including those doing brutal mind control experiments in the camps, ended up? I know that most of them ended up in this country in top positions over scientific associations and in government, snuck in under secret CIA operations because they didn't want these scientists going to other countries.

  • Michael Price||

    "He also argues that we can measure a person's productivity and the value of a worker (namely, low-skilled laborers) while arguing that other groups of workers (namely, the kind of people he doesn't admire) are bequeathed undeserved, "arbitrary" salaries."
    So the people who bequeath these "arbitrary" salaries, why aren't they undersold by people who pay their CEOs minimum wage?

  • rickl7069||

    Many people simply don't understand that wages are generally based on the amount of economic activity that we facilitate, not on the work we do. IE - When someone like, say, Mike Tyson fights, think of all the people that get to work - the people stocking and selling cokes, beer, food, etc., the parking attendants, the advertisers, etc......
    There is an incredible amount of people that make a check because Mike fights, so Mike makes a lot, but how many people work because someone flips a burger?

  • rickl7069||

    Let me clarify real quick that, of course, this only holds in the free market. In markets like government, you can actually make more by putting people out of work.

  • Stephdumas||

    I spotted an additional article about that book on City-Journal.
    http://www.city-journal.org/2014/bc0422gs.html

  • Waffen Hans||

    Liberals tell me it's bad to be racist, sexist, homophobic and just alright hating/disliking someone or some group because they are different. I'm at a loss of words why they don't see a problem with disliking or, in some liberal circles, hating "wealthy" people.

    That hate of "wealthy" people is much to scary and similar sounding to blaming the Jews in the 1930s for all the civil and economic problems plaguing Europe. We all know how that ended: First it was taking their shops and then it led to just killing them.

  • steedamike||

    Hating wealthy Jews and typical bigotry is different than hating the wealthy. To a liberal, hating wealthy people fits within their morals. They want to make sure that any suffering borne by (insert vulnerable class here) is shared by a class that is seen to be taking advantage of said class (it helps to believe this is true if you believe that wealth is zero-sum). Now that I'm thinking about, this appears to be another form of an example of an externality, that liberals are historically sensitive to.

    Externality - global warming, leaded gas, gmo foods. The hidden cost of a profitable good or service is borne by the innocent.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Externality

  • thorax232||

    What else is new?

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