Titel: ‘Inequality is not a Problem’: How (Some) Economists Responded to Thomas Piketty
Autor: J. E. King
Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century makes hardly any reference to the ethics of inequality. Surprisingly, this is an omission shared by most of his critics. In this paper I investigate the literature on which he and his reviewers might have drawn and speculate on the reasons why they did not. I outline the four ‘views of society’ and the related issues in moral philosophy that were presented by Michael Schneider in his book on the distribution of wealth. I then summarise the criticisms of Piketty made by those few reviewers who did show some interest in ethical questions and examine the slightly earlier and quite different case against reducing inequality made by one of these critics, N. Gregory Mankiw. I consider the economic, political and social costs of inequality identified in a book-length study of Piketty’s work by Steven Pressman, and conclude by reflecting on the reasons for the widespread neglect of moral philosophy by mainstream economists.
Titel: Accumulating Capital: Capital and Ideology after Capital in the Twenty-First Century
Autor: Steven Pressman
Thomas Piketty’s blockbuster Capital in the Twenty-First Century was followed by the publication of Capital and Ideology in early 2020. This paper looks at the differences between the two books, and provides an analysis and a critique of the main advances in the new book. First, Piketty drops r>g as an explanation for rising inequality. Instead, inequality is generated and constrained by economic power supported by an ideology. Second, there is a focus on the political consequences of inequality, including the rise of right-wing populism and the election of people like Donald Trump. Third, there is a new policy proposal—changes in corporate governance that gives labor and government seats on the Board of Directors of public corporations.