One for Your Amazon Wish-List

French economist Thomas Piketty has been picking up a lot of attention in the rest of the English speaking world – well mainly the US – thanks to the publication of an English translation of his recent book Capital in the 21st Century. Never heard of him? Don’t fret about it – neither had I until I quite serendipitously came across this article in the Guardian a couple of days ago.

The subject of Piketty’s book is obvious from the title. More specifically, it deals with the growing inequality in wealth – and income – distribution which is becoming entrenched in the global economy. At 650+ pages it’s obviously going to be a substantial read when (or perhaps if) I finally get my grubbies on a copy but from what I’ve seen so far probably worth the effort.

Quite a few overseas media outlets besides the Guardian have covered Piketty’s book including The New Yorker, The Nation and Forbes, purveyor of ‘Information for the World’s Business Leaders’ (here, here and here). The Forbes articles all disparage Piketty’s ideas but as Piketty holds the ‘World’s Business Leaders’ responsible for rising inequalities in wealth that hardly comes as a surprise.

Locally, Piketty is only just starting to pick up attention: at the time of writing this article by Sam de Brito in the SMH is the most recent. Earlier local coverage includes this syndicated article in WA Today and this again from the SMH, no by-line probably syndicated.  The closest I’ve come so far to finding any local journos and commentators actually talking to Piketty is this Radio National spot where Jonathan Green and a three member panel talk about Piketty’s ideas.

So, what has Piketty said that’s got so many people across the political spectrum into a bit of a lather? This review in the Financial Times gives a good indication:

…the book is built on a 15-year programme of empirical research conducted in conjunction with other scholars. Its result is a transformation of what we know about the evolution of income and wealth (which he calls capital) over the past three centuries in leading high-income countries. That makes it an enthralling economic, social and political history.

Among the lessons is that there is no general tendency towards greater economic equality. Another is that the relatively high degree of equality seen after the second world war was partly a result of deliberate policy, especially progressive taxation, but even more a result of the destruction of inherited wealth, particularly within Europe, between 1914 and 1945. A further lesson is that we are slowly recreating the “patrimonial capitalism” – the world dominated by inherited wealth – of the late 19th century.

Unlike quite a few of the other linked articles I think it’s safe to assume that the review is based on an actual reading of Capitalism in the 21st Century rather than reflexive reaffirmation of the orthodox wisdom based on second hand reports or just plain name dropping on the other side of the argument. It’s going to be entertaining to see how the scholars in our local campuses of the Chicago School of Economics respond when their common room slumbers are finally disturbed by the ructions elsewhere in the world.

Update: you can hear Piketty in conversation with Geraldine Doogue here.

About Paul Bamford (aka Gummo T)

Gummo Trotsky is the on-line persona of Paul Bamford. Paul recently placed his intellect at risk of finally becoming productive by enrolling in a Lemonade, Lime & Bitters degree via distance education. He also plays the piano but Keith Jarrett he ain't.
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48 Responses to One for Your Amazon Wish-List

  1. Steve Carey says:

    I heard Geraldine Doogue talking to Monsieur Piketty on last weekend’s Saturday Extra. Interesting man. Cheers.

  2. Sancho says:

    It’s confusing that this would cause any wailing or gnashing of teeth.

    Is there really some doubt that wealth inequality has risen sharply since WWII? I thought the debate was about whether it’s a problem that needs a policy response, or whether to celebrate the return of aristocracy.

    • Patrick says:

      First, there is a very real debate about whether inequality has risen over a relevant time period.

      More importantly, I think Piketty endorses a global wealth tax, albeit without really seeming to believe in it being possible.

      I also think he makes a generalised point about the accumulation of capital being to the detriment of labour, but our actual history shows that the accumulation of capital under government-intermediated capitalist redistribution has been better for absolutely everyone than every previous form of accumulation, and that formal non-accumulation of capital was worse than everything else put together.

      So some people might be getting upset about those aspects of the “debate” that his book raises.

    • Patrick says:

      Particularly this part, which reads kind of like “actually, the whole thing is historically fantastic but the world has already turned”:

      Given this picture, why does inherited wealth play as small a part in today’s public discourse as it does? Piketty suggests that the very size of inherited fortunes in a way makes them invisible: “Wealth is so concentrated that a large segment of society is virtually unaware of its existence, so that some people imagine that it belongs to surreal or mysterious entities.” This is a very good point. But it’s surely not the whole explanation. For the fact is that the most conspicuous example of soaring inequality in today’s world—the rise of the very rich one percent in the Anglo-Saxon world, especially the United States—doesn’t have all that much to do with capital accumulation, at least so far. It has more to do with remarkably high compensation and incomes.


      Also, I don’t think Capital in the Twenty-First Century adequately answers the most telling criticism of the executive power hypothesis: the concentration of very high incomes in finance, where performance actually can, after a fashion, be evaluated. I didn’t mention hedge fund managers idly: such people are paid based on their ability to attract clients and achieve investment returns.

  3. Mike Pepperday says:

    There’s a very long and informative comment on Amazon from one AJ Sutter who corresponded with Piketty to clarify some matters.

    http://www.amazon.com/review/R37LB6G67XKES0/ref=cm_cr_dp_cmt?ie=UTF8&ASIN=067443000X&nodeID=283155&store=books#wasThisHelpful

    If r, the return on capital, exceeds g, the national growth rate, the rich get relatively richer. He notes that the really, really rich achieve a higher rate than the merely wealthy.

  4. Fyodor says:

    Whoah! Earth-shattering revelation: Trotskyite redistributionist advocates redistribution of wealth. BFD.

    I really would like M. Pikey to explain why the world isn’t run by the same Egyptian/Sumerian/Chinese dynasty that first got rich quick. I’m guessing r wasn’t > g for them. Likewise, the descendants of their slaves seem to be doing a damn sight better these days. Oh, how to explain the unfuckedupness of capitalism? Perhaps…[perish the thought!]…inequality isn’t that bad?

    This is the crux of the critique put less rudely and more verbosely by others, many of them not even baby-eating bugbears of the CSE variety.

    His book is overhyped and ultimately shallow polemic, much like its callback with a “K”, but Pikey will perform the undoubtedly politically useful function of providing a fig-leaf of economic respectability to the coming mass appropriation of wealth necessary to fund the ageing West’s bloated and bankrupt welfare states.

    • Sancho says:

      Holy conflation of unrelated topics, Batman!

      Take a Valium and three chapters of Guns, Germs and Steel, and post again in the morning.

      • Fyodor says:

        Jared Diamond? You obviously haven’t understood my argument, and probably don’t understand either of Pikey’s or Diamond’s.

        Let me restate the question for you: if it is the case that “the rich get richer”, why haven’t the wealthy families of past ages become even wealthier? Why is it that we aren’t being ruled by the Rockefellers, etc. and the wealthy families of history have been subsumed into the mire of mediocrity? Pikey observes this – he notes the historical changes in income and wealth disparity – but his model doesn’t capture or explain this driver.

        The answer, of course, is that the composition of the gilded class changes through time. In other words, “r” for individuals and families is often dramatically less than “g”. In fact, “r” as constructed by Pikey is very problematic and over-simplistic, as is his concept of capital.

        Likewise, it’s not self-evident that inequality is bad for human progress.

        • derrida derider says:

          Yawn, Fyodor, Piketty explains exactly that – in a word, war. With the specific examples of WW1 and WW11.

          In that respect it’s the same thesis Mancur Olson made decades ago – only, being a conservative, Mancur thought it rather a Bad Thing to upset the natural order of society.

          You can get the book on Kindle – I suggest you read it, Fyodor, before commenting further.

    • Tel says:

      Oh, how to explain the unfuckedupness of capitalism? Perhaps…[perish the thought!]…inequality isn’t that bad?

      If inequality is your main concern then take a look at pretty much any socialist nation from the USSR to Mao’s China to North Korea or even what’s happening in Venezuela and you will note that the elite in those socialist countries absolutely always feather their own beds early and often.

      Inequality is largest under the one party system.

      We could even posit a reasonable theory that increasing inequality in the USA is closely connected to the increasing power of Washington, centralisation of economic control, and influence of the politically connected.

      • conrad says:

        “Inequality is largest under the one party system.”
        Seems pretty variable to me:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_income_equality

        I guess the real question is what are the optimal bounds?

      • meika says:

        Whose is proposing a one party state?

        • Sancho says:

          No one, of course, but whenever an argument is published that points out the great flaws in laissez faire capitalism, it gets deluged with “I suppose you’d rather live in the USSR then, huh?”, as though communist dictatorship is the only other option.

          Don’t take the bait. So far Tel’s asserted that Washington is centralising power, with no evidence cited, and therefore on the road to Stalin, and Fyodor’s convinced that if capitalism wasn’t perfect, we’d all be part of a grand Sumerian empire.

          I reckon Picketty’s a few lengths ahead in this one.

        • Tel says:

          The USSR is gone, after 70 years of banging their heads with socialism it suddenly dawned on them how nice it feels when you stop.

          It proves that people can learn, there is hope for the world.

        • Mark Skinner says:

          Tel,

          They didn’t have socialism, they had an oligarchy called Stalinism. Two different animals.

          Similarly, the USA does not have democracy, but rather an oligarchy called capitalism. Again, two different animals.

  5. Tel says:

    Some people believe that money is power, and if that’s the case Washington is showing a clear trend of gathering power to itself.

    http://blogs-images.forbes.com/realspin/files/2012/09/Federal-outlays-as-a-percentage-of-GDP.jpg

  6. Tel says:

    Some may recognize power is the ability to rule over another, by passing laws and regulations that control the way people must live.

    In 1925 a single volume about 3 inches thick contained “The Code of Laws of the United Stated of America”. Just one volume. Searching for the size of the ” the United States Code of Federal Regulations” I found:

    in 1949: 19,335 pages
    In 1960: 22,877 pages
    In 1970: 54,834 pages
    In 1975: 71,224 pages
    In 1998: 134,723 pages
    In 2001: 141,281 pages
    In 2005: 151,973 pages
    In 2010: 165,494 pages
    In 2012: 169,301 pages
    In 2013: 175,496 pages

    I admit I did not count these myself, but the trend is clear. More regulation, more law, more power centralised in Washington. I’m pretty sure you could put together a similar metric for Canberra. Every single person in the country is supposed to know and abide by these laws. Ignorance is no excuse. If it takes one minute to read one page, then just reading 175k pages will take 365 days if you work 8 hours a day and take neither weekends nor holidays. No human could actually remember all the details, but that’s just enough time to give it a once through.

  7. Bruce Bradbury says:

    @Mike P “If r, the return on capital, exceeds g, the national growth rate, the rich get relatively richer.”

    Note that g is growth, not per-capita growth. So this is most likely to be an issue in low population growth countries (eg Europe and Japan). The US (and Australia) may yet be saved from the domination of patrimony by high rates of immigration.

  8. dahl says:

    Tyler Cowen has some thoughts here:

    http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2014/04/why-i-am-not-persuaded-by-thomas-pikettys-argument.html

    NY Times has some interesting on topic (but not this book) analysis to do with the transitory nature of wealth here:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/20/opinion/sunday/from-rags-to-riches-to-rags.html?smid=pl-share&_r=0

    “It turns out that 12 percent of the population will find themselves in the top 1 percent of the income distribution for at least one year. What’s more, 39 percent of Americans will spend a year in the top 5 percent of the income distribution, 56 percent will find themselves in the top 10 percent, and a whopping 73 percent will spend a year in the top 20 percent of the income distribution.”

  9. derrida derider says:

    Crooked Timberhas already has had some discussion of the book here and here . As often on Crooked Timber the comments thread on the last is much better than the post.

    But more importantly they are planning one of their online seminars on the book when all their posters (who include John Quiggin) have had time to read and digest it. That’s worth watching out for.

    • Patrick says:

      “rent capital”???

    • Patrick says:

      No 73 sums it up beautifully:

      I admit I don’t really know what I’m talking about but am emboldened to comment anyway because this thread does not impress me as one where a whole lot of people know what they’re talking about (although the economists, of which I’m not one, may).

      And you say the threads are better than the post?

  10. Fyodor says:

    Yawn, Fyodor, Piketty explains exactly that – in a word, war. With the specific examples of WW1 and WW11.

    Oh, yeah: the “shit happens” explanation. Thoroughly underwhelming in its superficiality and historical specificity and, furthermore, doesn’t answer the question, which I’ll restate again: why does the composition of the gilded class change so much through time if the same patrimonies are accumulating wealth faster than the economy?

    Perhaps you should read the book again before answering.

    • Paul Bamford says:

      Habitual angry contrarian troll gets his knickers in a knot because his Weltanshauung has taken a bit of a knock. Quelle dommage! (That’s French for ‘Big F’k’n’ Deal , tosspot).

      ‘Why,’ tosspot asks, ‘does the composition of the gilded class change so much through time…’ without specifying either a time scale (centuries, decades, millenia, Mayan calendar cycles?) or a precise notion of composition (an obvious, but very handy omission since it gives tosspot’s latest off-the-wrist effort a spurious plausibility that would evaporate as soon as he deigned, or was forced, to define the concepts employed in his, for want of a better word, argument.

      That he’s ranting in this fashion while Oz is host to a sixth generation descendant of Queen Victoria, herself the last descendant of an English Royal line dating back to 1714, holders of considerable patrimonial wealth dating back even further, to various royal houses whose patrimony was appropriated by their successors.

      Keeping the land and the money in the family for 300 years – that doesn’t look much like a ‘gilded class’ in a constant state of flux to me.

  11. Fyodor says:

    Habitual angry contrarian troll gets his knickers in a knot because his Weltanshauung has taken a bit of a knock.

    Ha! Come now, Gummo. It’s very rich of you to call me angry, let alone a troll. And my Weltanschauung is no more knocked or knotted than my knickers.

    Quelle dommage! (That’s French for ‘Big F’k’n’ Deal , tosspot).

    Sans blague? “Dommage” est masculin, mon vieux. On dit donc “quel dommage”, pas “quelle…”.

    ‘Why,’ tosspot asks, ‘does the composition of the gilded class change so much through time…’ without specifying either a time scale (centuries, decades, millenia, Mayan calendar cycles?) or a precise notion of composition (an obvious, but very handy omission since it gives tosspot’s latest off-the-wrist effort a spurious plausibility that would evaporate as soon as he deigned, or was forced, to define the concepts employed in his, for want of a better word, argument.

    Happy to specify, Hot-to-Trotsky: why does the composition of the gilded class change so much over, say , a century? That’s a handy number, and encompasses a reasonable number of generations, wherein lies a clue, albeit perhaps not for the clueless. As for composition, I’m happy to take Pikey’s definitions of capital and the patrimonially-advantaged.

    That he’s ranting in this fashion while Oz is host to a sixth generation descendant of Queen Victoria, herself the last descendant of an English Royal line dating back to 1714, holders of considerable patrimonial wealth dating back even further, to various royal houses whose patrimony was appropriated by their successors.

    Excellent example, both of my point and your general incompetence on the subject at hand. The successive houses of Braunschweig-Lüneburg, Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg occupying the throne have been little more than overpaid civil servants since George III, with the “patrimony” you refer to loaned to the moochers by the English taxpayer.

    Thus despite being the monarch of a middling nation of some means, and being rather sharp with finances herself, the Queen is way down the list of her country’s richies precisely because her ancestors were terrible at managing money. Which is rather the point.

    Keeping the land and the money in the family for 300 years – that doesn’t look much like a ‘gilded class’ in a constant state of flux to me.

    What land? What money? Successive impoverished continental princes have married into a comfortably hereditary civil service sinecure but you’re too clever to believe that parliament doesn’t hold the purse strings of the royal circus.

    • Fyodor says:

      P.S. “Hide the Decline, Part Deux: La Belle Époque ”

      Chris Giles of the FT audits Pikey’s data, finds it doesn’t support his contention, to put it mildly.

      • Sancho says:

        When even the National Review thinks a criticism of Piketty is overstated and sensationalist, you know it’s safe to ignore.

        Also, “hide the decline” is a phrase belonging to a right-wing conspiracy theory from 2009 which was meant to be followed by the collapse of climate change theory, and not the deluge of confirmatory data and subsequent denialist back-downs that actually occurred. Some irony right there.

        • Fyodor says:

          When even the National Review thinks a criticism of Piketty is overstated and sensationalist, you know it’s safe to ignore.

          Given your link says nothing of the sort, I know we’re off to a pitiful start with your rebuttal.

          Patrick Brennan finds no “overstatement” or “sensationalism” in Chris Giles’ dissection of Pikey’s dataset. In fact, he doesn’t refute any part of Giles’ take-down. Nor did Pikey himself in his response to the FT.

          In fact, what YOUR OWN SOURCE says about Pikey’s work is this:

          One common objection to Giles’s skepticism tonight has been that increasing wealth inequality is simply an obvious fact of this world — why do we need the data to back it up? Well, Piketty needs the data to back up the arguments he made with it — he needs wealth inequality not just to appear high or to be rising, but to be returning to 19th-century levels as a matter of economic inevitability. The errors he made may not be devastating to the work he’s done to prove this so far, but even without taking them into account, he hasn’t yet justified his dramatic conclusions.

          Which is exactly Giles’ point.

          Also, “hide the decline” is a phrase belonging to a right-wing conspiracy theory from 2009 which was meant to be followed by the collapse of climate change theory, and not the deluge of confirmatory data and subsequent denialist back-downs that actually occurred. Some irony right there.

          Isn’t it ironic, dontchathink? Of course my usage is intentional. Here we have yet another work of polemic relying upon data-fudging to make the data fit the favoured theory rather than reality.

          And to which “right-wing conspiracy theory” are you referring? The fact that Mann et al cherry-picked data to manufacture the fabled “hockey-stick”? If you are, you should know that “hide the decline” was not a phrase created by right-wing conspiracy theorists. It was used by purported scientists attempting to obscure the inconvenient truth.

        • Sancho says:

          Right comparison, but got it in reverse. Denialists seized on the comments as proof that climate science is a grand hoax, but in the five years since, it’s they who’ve had to change their tune to match the data, which remains solid.

          Remember how in 2009 the Right was convinced the climate wasn’t changing and the data was all fake? Not so much of that flat denialism now, is there? It’s moved on to yes-climate-is-changing-but-we-shouldn’t-do-anything-anyway-ism.

          The criticisms don’t undo Piketty’s arguments, though he’d do well to address them more thoroughly. It’s just another round of that well-worn creationist approach of holding up an apparent inconsistency as evidence that an entire field of study is unreliable.

          Perhaps CitTFC will fall apart under scrutiny in time, but the Financial Times hasn’t come even close to producing that.

    • Mel says:

      Unfortunately our fickle friend Fyodor is rather prone to premature enunciations.

      Piketty has made his data public and over the next few months we’ll see economists engage in quite a bit of rough and tumble debate after which it will be possible, all things going well, for wiser heads to reach some conclusions.

      • Patrick says:

        There are plently of premature enunciations based on Piketty’s book, not least, as far as I can tell, all the actual enunciations in the book itself as to what we should do about the state of affairs he describes.

        So Fyodor is in this case in impeccable company, or perhaps just paying hommage to the subject matter?

      • Sancho says:

        I’m more interested in why it’s so important to Fyodor and friends that Piketty be wrong.

        He’s not wearing a Che shirt and demanding we march the wealthy to the guillotine; he’s an economist who penned a long, dull text detailing the large and increasing disparity in global wealth. It so non-controversial, and such an exercise in stating the obvious, that it seems like a release from the Center For Figuring Out Really Obvious Things.

        Yet for that the Right must destroy him.

        • Patrick says:

          It’s not that hard. First, in my comment above http://clubtroppo.com.au/2014/04/16/one-for-your-amazon-wish-list/#comment-530431 there are some reasons.

          If Piketty is right there are some pretty dramatic policy conclusions that his argument supports, most of which are capable of being reasonably considered to be detrimental to both growth, invention and investment, and to human wellbeing in the medium and long term.

          There are other views of the implications of his being right and of the broader implications of wealth taxes as well, which are doubtless also reasonably available, I’m sure.

          But it isn’t hard to see why even reasonable people could be both surprised by his empirical conclusions (which seem a bit underwhelming when you take into account that he seems to sidestep/ignore risk, survivorship and depreciation!), and upset by his policy conclusions (somewhat unreal as they may be).

        • Sancho says:

          From what I can tell (and I haven’t got the book), Piketty argues that the postwar middle class was a historical anomaly, not the new normal, and restoring it will require some aggressive policies that fall far short of socialism.

          It’s hard not to notice the current fashion on the Right for treating any criticism of wealth inequality as tantamount to violence, so anyone who’s noted conservative reactions to, well, everything over the past fifteen years will find it hard to take the apocalyptic rhetoric seriously.

        • Fyodor says:

          I’m more interested in why it’s so important to Fyodor and friends that Piketty be wrong.

          Since when does seeking the truth need gratuitous justification?

          He’s not wearing a Che shirt and demanding we march the wealthy to the guillotine; he’s an economist who penned a long, dull text detailing the large and increasing disparity in global wealth. It so non-controversial, and such an exercise in stating the obvious, that it seems like a release from the Center For Figuring Out Really Obvious Things.

          He’s penned a long and often lively text claiming an increasing disparity in wealth. He’s supported this claim with dodgy data and his solution to this manufactured problem is aggressive taxation of wealthy people. Naturally you don’t question his motivations…or your own in defending him.

          Yet for that the Right must destroy him.

          “Destroy”? Have a good lie down before you burst a vessel.

      • Fyodor says:

        Unfortunately our fickle friend Fyodor is rather prone to premature enunciations.

        WTF? Evidence, please, of being fickle, your friend or “prone to premature enunciations”. It’s true that I pegged you early on as a creepily obnoxious dickhead, but that wasn’t premature. It was a considered opinion, and one that I’ve maintained consistently as it was subsequently borne out by the evidence.

        Piketty has made his data public and over the next few months we’ll see economists engage in quite a bit of rough and tumble debate after which it will be possible, all things going well, for wiser heads to reach some conclusions.

        Yes, kudos to Pikey for being so generous and open with his data. He seems like a well-intentioned bloke with a healthy ego so unlikely to suffer too much from his research being pulled apart. The book royalties will be a comfort, no doubt.

        • Mel says:

          You’ve become aroused over an article you did not understand that contains assertions you haven’t checked about a book you’ve never read. Given your advanced age and obvious lack of social graces, I’ll let the insults slide without comment.

  12. Fyodor says:

    Right comparison, but got it in reverse. Denialists seized on the comments as proof that climate science is a grand hoax, but in the five years since, it’s they who’ve had to change their tune to match the data, which remains solid.

    In reverse how? Mann fabricated the “hockey stick” by cherry-picking data. Climate change sceptics who doubted his methods and data audited his work, found it wanting and rightly seized upon it as evidence of sloppy science that undermined the thesis that recent warming was unprecedented and necessarily anthropogenic. In “the five years since” Mann has been unable to mount an effective defence of his data-fudging. His hockey stick that was so prominently featured in the IPCC’s 3rd assessment report was dumped from last year’s 5th assessment report. Mann was wrong, the sceptics were right.

    Remember how in 2009 the Right was convinced the climate wasn’t changing and the data was all fake? Not so much of that flat denialism now, is there? It’s moved on to yes-climate-is-changing-but-we-shouldn’t-do-anything-anyway-ism.

    Strawman clean-up in aisle nine!

    The criticisms don’t undo Piketty’s arguments…

    Yes, they do. If wealth inequality isn’t rising, then…wealth inequality isn’t rising.

    What part of that don’t you understand?

    …though he’d do well to address them more thoroughly.

    Oh yeah.

    It’s just another round of that well-worn creationist approach of holding up an apparent inconsistency as evidence that an entire field of study is unreliable.

    Ah, yes, of course: doubt and skepticism are the preserve of the naively credulous. Which is why you’re such a True Believer, despite not having read the book, or done any homework on the subject yourself. Faith-based learning, thy name is Sancho.

    And it’s not “an apparent inconsistency”; it’s data-fudging to produce a desired outcome. It doesn’t provide evidence that an entire field of study is unreliable. What it does provide is evidence that Pikey is unreliable.

    Perhaps CitTFC will fall apart under scrutiny in time, but the Financial Times hasn’t come even close to producing that.

    Really? Be truthful now. Have you: a) even looked at the FT’s analysis; and b) understood it?

    The FT has shown that wealth inequality hasn’t risen in the UK, “Europe” or the USA. It’s also shown some questionable data-handling practices on the part of Pikey that throw his objectivity into doubt. His thesis has fallen apart and the onus is on him to produce a more substantial defense.

  13. Mel says:

    From Newsweek:

    Piketty, who posted his data spreadsheets online for all to see, told Newsweek in an email this morning Giles gave him less than a day to respond to questions about his data and methodology used in his expansive, 696-page book, as well as his voluminous spreadsheet data.

    “He didn’t give me proper time to respond (less than 24 hours) and most of all the mail he sent me did not include a large part of the material that they were going to publish,” he said to Newsweek in the email. “I maintain that there’s no error or flaw in my series.”

    And note Giles stuff up and poor research:

    Giles told Newsweek he did not think the U.K. data should be assumed to be of lesser quality just because it is new and experimental—but he also did not appear to know this fact about the data and said he would “look into it.”

    We should all calm down and wait until the dust settles before making a definitive judgement on Pikkety’s tome, I think.

    Also, in the interests of thread hygeine, one hopes that any further attempts by Fyodor to spank the Michael Mannkey will be done elsewhere. Let’s stay focussed.

    • Fyodor says:

      No Mannkey business, Munnkey? It was Sancho who insisted on burrowing down that rabbit hole. I notice he’s yet to resume his defence of the hockey stick.

      The settling of “dust” won’t change the facts. The evidence is already damning.

  14. Helen says:

    Fyodor, are you really sneering at Piketty by calling him “Pikey” – an oldfashioned bigoted slang word for “Gypsy” / traveller / rom …? Really?
    Pathetic!

    • Fyodor says:

      Fyodor, are you really sneering at Piketty by calling him “Pikey” – an oldfashioned bigoted slang word for “Gypsy” / traveller / rom …? Really? Pathetic!

      Won’t somebody please think of the “Gypsy” / traveller / rom ?!!

      Old-fashioned? Moi?

      Far be it from me to get in the way of your etymological ejumacation, Helen, but Pikey has a broad modern usage. It isn’t exclusively for the pejoration of gypsies and travellers [not the same thing, incidentally].

      Personally, I’m terribly fond of gypsies. Gypsies and pirates – can’t have too many, I say.

  15. Fyodor says:

    Fyodor, please tell me you aren’t deliberately trying to slur Piketty by “accidentally”-on-purpose misspelling his surname every. single. time.

    OK, but only because you used the magic word.

    I am not deliberately trying to slur Pikey by “accidentally-on purpose” misspelling his surname every. single. time. I don’t do anything “accidentally-on purpose” – the misspelling is deliberate, of course. Is it a slur to pun on a name? Arguable, though I’m definitely mocking the dude. Boo. Hiss.

    Was that your only concern? Please tell me you’re not just looking for an opportunity to eructate some conspicuous indignation.

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