Etikettarkiv: Verso

Paul Krugman har utsett årets, kanske decenniets viktigaste bok i ämnet ekonomi

Via Verso

Via Verso

Nobelpristagaren i ekonomi, Paul Krugman, har utsett helt aktuella Capital in the Twenty-First Century (Belknap Press), av den franske ekonomen Thomas Piketty, till ”årets bok i ämnet ekonomi – och kanske decenniets.” Piketty anser att situationen med ett fortsatt mycket ojämlikt fördelat välstånd är ohållbart, och förespråkar en världsomfattande beskattning av förmögenhet. Det här är ett utdrag ur en mejlintervju med den franske ekonomen publicerad i New York Times:

Q. Some economists argue that inequality, in the United States, at least, is a good thing. It acts as an incentive for entrepreneurs to take risks and innovate, thus driving economic growth. Is there anything to that argument?

A. In theory, yes. But in practice you see inequality everywhere, except in the productivity statistics. The rate of productivity growth has not been particularly good in the U.S. since 1980. Inequality is desirable up to a point. But beyond a certain level it is useless. One of the key lessons of the 20th century is that you can have high growth without the inequality of the 19th century.

Q. Might inequality in the United States be less damaging than it is in Europe because the very rich were not born into wealth, but earned their money by creating new products, services and technologies?

A. This is what the winners of the game like to claim. But for the losers this can be the worst of all worlds: They have a diminishing share of income and wealth, and at the same time they are depicted as undeserving.

Q. What are the risks from allowing an ever-increasing concentration of wealth and incomes? Is there a point when inequality becomes intolerable? Does history offer any lessons in this regard.

A. U.S. inequality is now close to the levels of income concentration that prevailed in Europe around 1900-10. History suggests that this kind of inequality level is not only useless for growth, it can also lead to a capture of the political process by a tiny high-income and high-wealth elite. This directly threatens our democratic institutions and values.

Thomas Piketty

Thomas Piketty

I New Yorker har John Cassidy skrivit en lång introducerande artikel – ”Forces of Divergence” – om Thomas Piketty, hans nya bok och teorier. Cassidy beskriver lite mer i detalj hur en skatt enligt Pikettys modell skulle fungera.

Doug Henwood ger Capital in the Twenty-First Century en bitvis mycket uppskattande recension, men han tycker att fransmannens politiska visioner är väl försiktiga med tanke på hur snabbt och mycket ojämlikheterna vuxit. ”Capitalism vs. Democracy” är en mycket bra fördjupande artikel, med mycket länkar och grafer som kan hålla en ordentligt sysselsatt, av Thomas B. Edsall.

Och för oss som behöver fila lite på kunskaperna i ekonomi, en riktigt mastig och lång lista från Verso med rekommenderad läsning: ”Post-crash economics: a reading list

Ola Wihlke

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