Thomas Piketty


Piketty, Thomas. Translated from French by Arthur Goldhammer. Capital In the Twenty-First Century. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2014.

"Piketty’s recently released book, which contends that capitalist societies see ever increasing inequality because the returns on capital outstrip the growth rate of the economy as a whole, has a couple of dramatic proposals: top income-tax rates hitting 80 percent and a global tax on wealth" (Brennan).

The Patriotic Millionaires "Over the last four years, the Patriotic Millionaires have stormed Washington, DC with their tax message, debated anti-tax guru Grover Norquist, slammed self-interested politicians on tax-policies harmful to the middle class, delivered a press conference with the President, and worked shoulder-to-shoulder with the White House to pass the 2012 American Taxpayer Relief Act...

"The Patriotic Millionaires will continue to dominate major media markets and renew pressure on Congress to reform the current tax system for the economic well-being of regular Americans. In addition, they will drive public attention toward issue-specific tax policies yet to be repaired, including: eliminating the carried interest loophole for hedge fund managers, limiting the total amount wealthy individuals can accumulate in tax protected IRAs and other retirement funds, and eliminating the mortgage interest tax deductions for second homes. The Patriotic Millionaires will also turn their attention to addressing inequality more broadly, including raising the minimum wage and trade."


The Value of Education To the Economy

"Knowledge and skill diffusion [education] is the key to overall productivity growth" (Picketty, p. 21).

"Over a long period of time, the main force in favor of greater equality has been the diffusion of knowledge and skills [ie., education]" (Picketty, p. 22).

"In essence, all of these [successful] countries themselves financed the necessary investments in physical capital and, even more, in human capital, which the latest research holds to be the key to long-term growth' (Picketty, p. 70).

"To sum up, historical experience suggests that the principal mechanism of [economic success]... is the diffusion of knowledge... Above all, knowledge diffusion depends on a country's ability to mobilize financing as well as institutions that encourage large scale investment in education" (Picketty, p. 71).

"Now consider the US case. Two economists, Claudia Goldin and Lawrence Katz, systematically compared the following two evolutions in the period 1890-2005... the wage gap between workers who graduated from college and those who ad only a high school degree... the conclusion is stark... the wage gap... suddenly begins to widen in the 1980s, at precisely the moment when for the first time the number of college graduates stops growing... Goldin and Katz have no doubt that increased wage inequality in the United States is due to a failure to invest sufficiently in higher education... they conclude, the United States should invest heavily in education so that as many people as possible can attend college" (Picketty, p. 306).

"... the best way to increase average productivity... and the overall growth of the economy is surely to invest in education..." (Picketty, pp. 306-7).

",,,if the United States... invested more heavily in high-quality professional training and advanced educational opportunities and allowed broader segments of the population to have access to them, this would surely be the most effective way of increasing wages... The question of how to pay for education, and in particular how to pay for higher education, is everywhere one of the key issues of the twenty-first century" (Picketty, P. 307).

"In all human societies, health and education have an intrinsic value.... the ability to acquire knowledge and culture, is one of the fundamental purposes of civilization" (Picketty, p.308)."

"Policies to encourage broader access to universities are indispensable and crucial... in the United States and elsewhere" (Picketty, p.314).


The Ultimate Guide to Shutting Down Conservative Anti-Piketty Hysteria by Sean McElwee. Alternet, 6/10/14.

"“Capital” may well be the “ General Theory” of the first half of the 21st century, redefining the way we think about capitalism, democracy and equality."


References

Brennan, Patrick. "The Elizabeth Warren Delusion." National Review, June 5, 2014. Accessed 6/6/2014.

Piketty, Thomas. Translated from French by Arthur Goldhammer. Capital In the Twenty-First Century. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2014.


Colby Glass, MLIS