If it’s also familiar, that is a tribute, in part, to the success of Piketty’s previous work. Corbyn recently campaigned on perhaps the most unabashedly redistributionist manifesto in the Party’s history (it called for transferring control of ten per cent of big companies to workers, nationalizing other companies, and instituting a four-day workweek) and then suffered catastrophic losses in working-class Labour strongholds. PARTICIPATORY SOCIALISM AS NEW LEFT POLITICS. Of course, the people who are most likely to hear—and heed—Piketty’s call to action, whether or not they scythe their way through his book, are all of the Brahmin left. “We may be sure that there will be a bitter struggle over the distribution of wealth,” Fisher, perhaps the most celebrated economist of his day, maintained. “American capitalism and democracy are not working for people without a college degree,” Anne Case, an economist at Princeton, declared in January, as she flipped through slides in a large, windowless conference room. “We know now that this death was only temporary.” In the postwar era, societies drifted into either social democracy, which Piketty thinks is flawed but closest to his ideal society, or communism, which failed utterly. if a system has any chance at all of working in a Nation it has to be based at least to some extent on people with ability taking decisions. Capital and Ideology argues that ’it might be possible to reorganise the global economy so as to favor a transnational democratic system aimed at achieving social, fiscal and environmental justice.’ Tripling federal funding for poor schools—which would go a long way to improving mobility and reducing the inheritability of misfortune—would raise costs by a relatively paltry thirty billion a year. We’ll need “a true participatory and internationalist socialism,” he says, in order to free humanity from the contradictions of capitalism in which it is so harmfully enmeshed. As part of what he calls “participatory socialism”, Piketty advocates policies including income and property tax rates of up to 90 per cent, a public inheritance of €120,000 (£102,000) for every 25-year-old, and a cap of 10 per cent on shareholder voting power. Speaking in 1918, with Europe ravaged by the horrors of modern warfare and Russia in the hands of the Bolsheviks, Irving Fisher warned his colleagues at the annual meeting of the American Economic Association of “a great peril.” That peril, which risked “perverting the democracy for which we have just been fighting,” was extreme inequality. What to do with the tax revenue? Piketty isn’t incapable of pragmatism. Many of his suggestions—establishing a fair, progressive tax system; insuring that poor children have access to higher education—could be addressed within the framework of today’s “inequality regime,” which is to say, contemporary capitalism. Piketty’s book is worth it for the introduction and conclusion alone, but the middle is an absolutely breath-taking endeavor of sociology and historical analysis. Throughout the book, Piketty heaps praise on Sanders, Warren, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the British Labour Party. The New Yorker may earn a portion of sales from products that are purchased through our site as part of our Affiliate Partnerships with retailers. Inequality, in Piketty’s view, drives human history, and calls for radical remedies. And the policies we adopt certainly do influence inequality. As political factors, race and redistribution relate in ways too complex to be captured in a formula. That approach would certainly reduce the commonly cited measures of income and wealth inequality. Piketty’s solution is radically simple: just pick a point on the tail and lop off the rest of it. Piketty, for his part, scarcely addresses the issue of why economic equality is a moral concern; in his scheme, inequality is bad, ultimately, not for what it does but for what it is. This picture is discouraging. Piketty’s vision is based off two principles: Social ownership of firms and decentralizing voting rights and decision making. S itting in a blue suit jacket and open-necked shirt, the 48-year-old Piketty doesn’t look much like a socialist revolutionary, still less a rock star. The U.S. is now running trillion-dollar deficits, during a period of long-lasting economic growth, no major military engagements, and no ramp-up in social spending. Piketty’s own data in the book show that growth was high during the Gilded Age. It encompasses history, political science, and political theory, and is even more voluminous than its predecessor. Ireland, a favorite haven for American companies, had to start publishing modified national economic statistics because of all the foreign assets it harbors. (Something similar, he notes, can be seen in “Planet of the Apes” and “Star Wars.”) During this period of limited mobility, inequality was justified by the notion that the castes were interdependent—like the limbs of the body. The same applies to his call for raising minimum wages, expanding rent control, and giving workers seats on corporate boards—even if these are heterodox recommendations in mainstream economics. Achieved by implementing the “progressive tax triptych”, steeply progressive taxes on wealth (property and inheritance) and income (both capital and labor). It is a socialism without class struggle . Tax-collection agencies are resigned to the fact that the biggest fortunes also tend to be the most mobile. “Capital and Ideology” sets out not only to describe capitalism but also to help us “transcend” it. Thomas Piketty’s long-awaited sequel to Capital in the 21st Century. There’s a reason for the heft. With this cash, the government would not only fund universal health care and higher education but offer everyone a basic income floor equivalent to sixty per cent of average after-tax income. 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