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Sun Apr 13, 2014, 03:08 PM

Occupy was right: capitalism has failed the world

Andrew Hussey

The École d'économie de Paris (the Paris School of Economics) is actually situated in the most un-Parisian part of the city. It is on the boulevard Jourdan in the lower end of the 14th arrondissement, bordered on one side by the Parc Montsouris. Unlike most French parks, there is a distinct lack of Gallic order here; in fact, with lakes, open spaces, and its greedy and inquisitive ducks, you could very easily be in a park in any British city. The campus of the Paris School of Economics, however, looks unmistakably and reassuringly like nearly all French university campuses. That is to say, it is grey, dull and broken down, the corridors smelling vaguely of cabbage. This is where I have arranged an interview with Professor Thomas Piketty, a modest young Frenchman (he is in his early 40s), who has spent most of his career in archives and collecting data, but is just about to emerge as the most important thinker of his generation – as the Yale academic Jacob Hacker put it, a free thinker and a democrat who is no less than "an Alexis de Tocqueville for the 21st century".

This is on account of his latest work, which is called Capital in the Twenty-First Century. This is a huge book, more than 700 pages long, dense with footnotes, graphs and mathematical formulae. At first sight it is unashamedly an academic tome and seems both daunting and incomprehensible. In recent weeks and months the book has however set off fierce debates in the United States about the dynamics of capitalism, and especially the apparently unstoppable rise of the tiny elite that controls more and more of the world's wealth. In non-specialist blogs and websites across America, it has ignited arguments about power and money, questioning the myth at the very heart of American life – that capitalism improves the quality of life for everyone. This is just not so, says Piketty, and he makes his case in a clear and rigorous manner that debunks everything that capitalists believe about the ethical status of making money.

The groundbreaking status of the book was recognised by a recent long essay in the New Yorker in which Branko Milanovic, a former senior economist at the World Bank, was quoted as describing Piketty's volume as "one of the watershed books in economic thinking". In the same vein, a writer in the Economist reported that Piketty's work fundamentally rewrote 200 years of economic thinking on inequality. In short, the arguments have centred on two poles: the first is a tradition that begins with Karl Marx, who believed that capitalism would self-destruct in the endless pursuit of diminishing profit returns. At the opposite end of the spectrum is the work of Simon Kuznets, who won a Nobel prize in 1971 and who made the case that the inequality gap inevitably grows smaller as economies develop and become sophisticated.

Piketty says that neither of these arguments stand up to the evidence he has accumulated. More to the point, he demonstrates that there is no reason to believe that capitalism can ever solve the problem of inequality, which he insists is getting worse rather than better. From the banking crisis of 2008 to the Occupy movement of 2011, this much has been intuited by ordinary people. The singular significance of his book is that it proves "scientifically" that this intuition is correct. This is why his book has crossed over into the mainstream – it says what many people have already been thinking.

more

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/apr/13/occupy-right-capitalism-failed-world-french-economist-thomas-piketty

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Arrow 61 replies Author Time Post
Reply Occupy was right: capitalism has failed the world (Original post)
n2doc Apr 2014 OP
otherone Apr 2014 #1
cantbeserious Apr 2014 #2
Spitfire of ATJ Apr 2014 #3
gulliver Apr 2014 #4
BlindTiresias Apr 2014 #9
gulliver Apr 2014 #20
BlindTiresias Apr 2014 #21
gulliver Apr 2014 #27
BlindTiresias Apr 2014 #31
Zorra Apr 2014 #5
Donald Ian Rankin Apr 2014 #6
n2doc Apr 2014 #7
Donald Ian Rankin Apr 2014 #12
nomorenomore08 Apr 2014 #25
BlindTiresias Apr 2014 #8
fasttense Apr 2014 #11
Donald Ian Rankin Apr 2014 #13
moondust Apr 2014 #16
nomorenomore08 Apr 2014 #26
moondust Apr 2014 #30
BlindTiresias Apr 2014 #23
JDPriestly Apr 2014 #37
fleabiscuit Apr 2014 #38
JDPriestly Apr 2014 #40
Donald Ian Rankin Apr 2014 #41
HughBeaumont Apr 2014 #14
rhett o rick Apr 2014 #35
Donald Ian Rankin Apr 2014 #42
rhett o rick Apr 2014 #56
Donald Ian Rankin Apr 2014 #57
rhett o rick Apr 2014 #60
JDPriestly Apr 2014 #36
Jamaal510 Apr 2014 #10
Initech Apr 2014 #15
DireStrike Apr 2014 #18
Jackpine Radical Apr 2014 #19
BlindTiresias Apr 2014 #22
quaker bill Apr 2014 #24
nomorenomore08 Apr 2014 #28
quaker bill Apr 2014 #32
fleabiscuit Apr 2014 #39
quaker bill Apr 2014 #51
WillyT Apr 2014 #17
SevenSixtyTwo Apr 2014 #29
Recursion Apr 2014 #44
Raksha Apr 2014 #33
JEFF9K Apr 2014 #34
Recursion Apr 2014 #43
BlindTiresias Apr 2014 #45
Recursion Apr 2014 #46
BlindTiresias Apr 2014 #47
Recursion Apr 2014 #48
dionysus Apr 2014 #49
Recursion Apr 2014 #50
dionysus Apr 2014 #59
randome Apr 2014 #52
Starry Messenger Apr 2014 #53
WhaTHellsgoingonhere Apr 2014 #54
marmar Apr 2014 #55
randome Apr 2014 #58
lame54 Apr 2014 #61

Response to n2doc (Original post)

Sun Apr 13, 2014, 03:14 PM

1. thanks for the read

::

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Sun Apr 13, 2014, 03:58 PM

2. Thank You For Sharing

eom

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Sun Apr 13, 2014, 04:18 PM

3. His "Global Tax On The Rich" needs to happen.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Sun Apr 13, 2014, 04:28 PM

4. Co-opting a reasonable thesis.

So the brains behind the legitimate work the article is trying to exploit is a guy who just wants to increase taxes on wealth. That puts him in the company of folks like Krugman. But the Guardian no-name flak decided he wanted the post to be anti-capitalist, and he thought he would get more clicks and links if he used Occupy in the headline. The Guardian flak advances his own agenda at the expense of both the economist being cited and Occupy. That's some pretty good co-opting.

Here he is admitting it:

But no matter. What have we learned? Capitalism is bad. Hooray! What's the answer? Socialism? Hope so. "It is not quite so simple," he says, disappointing this former teenage Marxist. "What I argue for is a progressive tax, a global tax, based on the taxation of private property.


Dang, the brainy guy said "private property." I guess the "Capitalism is bad. Hooray!" means that he wants us to think the guy with the brains thinks that. Sure. It's a little ways away from the "It's not quite so simple," but I'm thinking that clause applies.

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Response to gulliver (Reply #4)

Sun Apr 13, 2014, 05:00 PM

9. Actually

I am in possession of the book and Piketty states that capitalism naturally induces extreme wealth inequality which eventually destroys democracy. He advocates for a global wealth tax but he also says this is unlikely to happen via normal mechanisms because the influence of the rich is all encompassing and self-reinforcing. It is also the case that his research and conclusion on the phenomenon are distinct from his policy proposals. There is no reason why people couldn't take his research and conclusions regarding the phenomenon of capitalism and advocating for different solutions.

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Response to BlindTiresias (Reply #9)

Sun Apr 13, 2014, 06:30 PM

20. You can't say you are "in possession of the book"...

...and then not cite page numbers or provide a quote, unless "in possession of" means "did not read."

Republicans need to be wiped out at the polls. 2014 is our opportunity. Republicans have never in my lifetime had such a build-up of unethical sludge in their works. I can't wait to see the Kochs dragged into this so everyone can really get a good smell of them and their stable of dimwits.

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Response to gulliver (Reply #20)

Sun Apr 13, 2014, 08:23 PM

21. I'm summarizing

Didn't know you wanted specific quotes. This is from the concluding section of his book:

"The Central Contradiction of Capitalism: r > g

The overall conclusion of this study is that a market economy based on private property, if left to itself, contains powerful forces of convergence, associated in particular with the diffusion of knowledge and skills; but it also contains powerful forces of divergence, which are potentially threatening to democratic societies and to the values of social justice in which they are based.
The principal destabilizing force has to do with the fact that the private rate of return on capital, r, can be significantly higher for long periods of time than the rate of growth of income and output, g.
The inequality r > g implies that wealth accumulated in the past grows more rapidly than output and wages. This inequality expresses a fundamental logical contradiction. The entrepreneur inevitably tends to become a rentier, more and more dominant over those who own nothing but their labor. Once constituted, capital reproduces itself faster than output increases.
The consequences for the long-term dynamics of the wealth distribution are potentially terrifying, especially when one adds hat the return on capital varies directly with the initial stake and that the divergence in the wealth distribution is occurring on a global scale.
The problem is enormous, and there is no simple solution. Growth can of course be encouraged by investing in education, knowledge, and nonpolluting technologies. But none of these will raise the growth rate to 4 or 5 percent a year (BlindTiresias note: 5% is the rate of growth for capital investment). History shows that only countries that are catching up with more advanced economies- such as Europe during the three decades after World War II or China and other emerging countries today- can grow a such rates. For countries at the world technological frontier-and thus ultimately for the planet as a whole-there is ample reason to believe that the growth rate will not exceed 1-1.5 percent in the long run, no matter what economic policies are adopted.
With an average return on capital of 4-5 percent, it is therefore likely that r > g will again become the norm of the twenty-first century, as it had been throughout history until the eve of World War I. In the twentieth century, it took two world wars to wipe away the past and significantly reduce the rteurn on capital, thereby creating the illusion that the fundamental contradiction of capitalism (r > g) had been overcome."

He goes on to say that capital taxes could do the job but too much could destroy the “motor of accumulation”. In regards to progressive taxation and political viability he says:
“The right solution is a progressive annual tax on capital. This will make it possible to avoid an endless inegalitarian spiral while preserving competition and incentives for new instances of primitive accumulation” However, “The difficulty is that this solution, the progressive tax rate on capital, requires a high degree of international cooperation and regional political integration. It is not within the reach of the nation-states in which earlier social compromises were hammered out. Many people worry that moving toward greater cooperation and political integration within, say, the European Union only undermines existing achievemens without constructing anything new other than a vast market predicaed on ever purer and more perfect competition. Yet pure and perfect competition cannot alter the unequality r > g which is not the consequence of any market “imperfection” … the nation state is still the right level at which to modernize any number of social and fiscal policies and to develop new forms of governance and shared ownership intermediate betweenpublic ad private ownership., which is one of the major challenges for he century ahead. But only regional political integration can lead to effective regulation of the globalized patrimonial capitalism of the twenty-first century”

As you can guess he has received from very good criticism for suggesting a global wealth tax because its just not going to happen and is a naive suggestion.

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Response to BlindTiresias (Reply #21)

Sun Apr 13, 2014, 09:27 PM

27. Thanks

And I think it helps in debunking the anti-capitalism alleged by the OP's Guardian article. I don't know why you would attempt to undermine your own citation by saying that the author's wealth tax answer is "just not going to happen" and is "naive." Naive as opposed to what? Not going to happen compared to what?

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Response to gulliver (Reply #27)

Sun Apr 13, 2014, 10:05 PM

31. A global wealth tax?

Yes a global wealth tax is a very naive suggestion. Imagine the sheer scale of cooperation needed for every country to adopt a universal overlapping wealth tax so the highly mobile global elite can't simply just shift production elsewhere or creatively hide assets. You would need a universal governing body to regulate and enforce that kind of global tax model. I am not alone in suggesting this, btw: http://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/kapital-for-the-twenty-first-century

My critique of Piketty is not undermining my citation in any way, he is absolutely correct in the bulk of his argument, which is that capital investments nearly always overtake labor wages. I disagree with him in his proposed solution, as it is simply absurd to suggest that as politically viable.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Sun Apr 13, 2014, 04:31 PM

5. Recommend. nt

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Sun Apr 13, 2014, 04:36 PM

6. Well, apart from producing higher living standards at every centile than any other system ever...

The claim that capitalism has failed the world is just laughable.

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Response to Donald Ian Rankin (Reply #6)

Sun Apr 13, 2014, 04:41 PM

7. We rank #16 globally

Fail.

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Response to n2doc (Reply #7)

Sun Apr 13, 2014, 05:24 PM

12. And America is the only capitalist country in the world?

How many of the 15 above you for whatever it is you're ranking are not capitalist countries?

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Response to Donald Ian Rankin (Reply #12)

Sun Apr 13, 2014, 09:25 PM

25. They're less purely capitalist than we are. That's the point. n/t

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Response to Donald Ian Rankin (Reply #6)

Sun Apr 13, 2014, 04:55 PM

8. The third world

Is capitalist too.

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Response to Donald Ian Rankin (Reply #6)

Sun Apr 13, 2014, 05:24 PM

11. Feudalism also produced a higher standard of living than slavery

Feudalism created unimaginable wealth for a handful of kings and royals and some living standard improvements for everyone else. At least the serfs were NOT slaves and had a few rights.

Capitalism made unimaginable wealth for a handful of uber rich and some living standard improvements for everyone else just like feudalism. Now it is time to evolve out of capitalism into a better economic model like we evolved out of feudalism.

By the way, private property is alive and well in just about every socialist country. Socialism does NOT do away with private property.

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Response to fasttense (Reply #11)

Sun Apr 13, 2014, 05:25 PM

13. Hence "at every centile".

By the way, capitalism is also alive and well in most socialist countries.

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Response to Donald Ian Rankin (Reply #13)

Sun Apr 13, 2014, 06:12 PM

16. But a different kind of capitalism.

A more egalitarian, civil, quality-of-life oriented, shared wealth kind of capitalism than the moneygrubbing, winner-take-all, anything goes, corporate, Wall Street, profits-over-people kind in the U.S.

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Response to moondust (Reply #16)

Sun Apr 13, 2014, 09:27 PM

26. Unfortunately, many of those countries are now trying to be more like us.

Let's hope they don't succeed.

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Response to nomorenomore08 (Reply #26)

Sun Apr 13, 2014, 09:50 PM

30. I've noticed that.

Particularly the austerity policies. No doubt there are some in Europe who are seduced by the Wall Street profits-over-everything model. But because they haven't allowed big money to totally corrupt their politics, and they have multiparty systems which are more difficult to game and corrupt, European governments will probably remain more responsive to voters and their brand of capitalism better regulated than the U.S.

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Response to Donald Ian Rankin (Reply #13)

Sun Apr 13, 2014, 08:36 PM

23. Uhh

Might want to look up the condition of the European social democracies. Regulated capitalism is being rolled back there as well.

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Response to BlindTiresias (Reply #23)

Mon Apr 14, 2014, 12:24 AM

37. The pendulum swings. Thatcherism did not work well in the United Kingdom.

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #37)

Mon Apr 14, 2014, 01:26 AM

38. A more coordinated effort than simply "Thatcherism" I think.

‘When Margaret Thatcher married Ronald Reagan two things happened; one was the assumption that government was evil, except when it regulated power to benefit the rich. It wasn’t a matter of smashing government, it was a matter of rearranging it, and reconfiguring it, so it benefited the wealthy, the elites, those who run large corporations. But Thatcher said something entirely different, ‘that there is no such thing as society, only families and individuals.’

Paraphrasing Henry A. Giroux discussing his book “Zombie Politics and Culture in the Age of Casino Capitalism”
~

Pretty well describes the current condition the Reps push in the US.

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Response to fleabiscuit (Reply #38)

Mon Apr 14, 2014, 02:15 AM

40. Yes, it does.

I revised my post. The problem is the advantage of capitalism is the great creativity it can promote. But when the rich take so much, as much as they are today, the poor and middle classes are so stifled that their creativity is lost. So at that point the advantage of capitalism vanishes and you are stuck with a terribly self-satisfied, arrogant wealthy class, an aristocracy if you will that mistakes its privilege for creativity, its advantages for superiority.

That's when you have the very final stages of capitalism. After that, the flow of money that Piketty talks about (can't spell his name right even when I try) slows to a trickle and the system breaks down.

The very wealthy have the opportunity to set a healthy economy in motion again. It's up to them to take the initiative. Because we in the middle and impoverished classes cannot do it on our own. We don't have the wealth that it takes to keep a healthy economy moving.

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Response to BlindTiresias (Reply #23)

Mon Apr 14, 2014, 03:10 AM

41. All of which are very much capitalist countries. N.T.

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Response to Donald Ian Rankin (Reply #6)

Sun Apr 13, 2014, 05:50 PM

14. Yes, when it's heavily regulated and has a strong social safety net backing it.

Minus those two entities, Capitalism As Is, or late-20th-21st Century Capitalism has pretty much failed the world.

http://www.amazon.com/Rich-Dont-Always-Win-Plutocracy/dp/1609804341/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1397425801&sr=1-1&keywords=the+rich+don%27t+always+win

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Response to Donald Ian Rankin (Reply #6)

Sun Apr 13, 2014, 11:11 PM

35. If you have an argument that favors capitalism, you havent revealed it. I think Haiti is a great

example of what capitalism can do.

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #35)

Mon Apr 14, 2014, 03:12 AM

42. I think that the whole of Europe, America, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Japan etc are.

I also think that, while China is still appalling, the improvement in living standards there since it switched from communism to kind-of-sort-of-capitalism-ish is fairly conclusive.

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Response to Donald Ian Rankin (Reply #42)

Mon Apr 14, 2014, 12:19 PM

56. That's like saying that the Koch Bro are an example of the overall benefit

of capitalism. Capitalism divides the rich and the poor, and without regulations would continue with the inequity until it totally crumbles. China is a great example. The gains in wealth come directly from the USofA middle class. While some wealth can be created (or exploited) most wealth is a zero-sum game. As Mit Rmoney gets richer, someones are getting poorer.

The greatest economy we've had in this country was the period where we tightly constrained capitalism.

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #56)

Mon Apr 14, 2014, 12:35 PM

57. No, wealth is not even remotely a zero-sum game! That's insane!


Wealth is, very (very very) roughly, the amount of stuff (goods and services, primarily) being produced and consumed.

That's not even remotely zero-sum - reducing unemployment and better technology are obvious ways of increasing the amount of wealth.


Slightly less roughly, wealth is the value of stuff being consumed to the people consuming it.

If I have lots of bananas but no fish, and you have lots of fish but no bananas, trade can very easily increase both our wealth, without actually creating any objects, just by moving them to places they are more valued.


The great boast of capitalism is that it leads to the production of much more wealth than any other system. If wealth *were* a zero-sum game, or close to it, then clearly that would be an empty boast. But, as it isn't, it isn't.

What capitalism *doesn't* do, obviously is do anything about the distribution of that wealth, which is why the more heavily taxed and regulated - but still 100% capitalist - economies of Western Europe tend to produce higher living standards at the lower centiles than America's less regulated one.

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Response to Donald Ian Rankin (Reply #57)

Mon Apr 14, 2014, 05:11 PM

60. So if fish are traded for bananas, wealth is increased? What happens when they are traded back?

An economic system that tightly controls the capitalists and has socialistic safety nets, is not a "capitalistic" system.

I dont appreciate it when you respond by using "insane".

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Response to Donald Ian Rankin (Reply #6)

Mon Apr 14, 2014, 12:17 AM

36. We are still in the ascending part of the capitalist phase.

Last edited Mon Apr 14, 2014, 02:02 AM - Edit history (2)

I would never have agreed with Piketty 50 years ago when I was in college. But after what I have seen over the past 50 years in terms of a very, very few accumulating enormous wealth, wealth nearly unimaginable 50 years ago, I think he is correct.

I don't like to have to admit that, but capitalism is enriching a very, very few at the very, very top and slowly but surely impoverishing more and more people.

At this time, we still have housing, running water, heat and lights. Many of us have small things like computers and television sets. But very few people own property. Very few people own anything. Personal debt is the present and future for most Americans.

So, I think that he may be right and probably is right.

Of course, the right-wing think tanks will come up with data (false data or irrelevant data) to disprove his theory. But the facts remain what they are.

I remember a time when there was very little homelessness in the US. Now ----------- just look around you. Donations for the poor from middle class people who want to help will not solve the problem of the homeless in America.

Of course, maybe I see more homeless people because I live in a working class area of Los Angeles, but I know that even in small towns in the Midwest, more and more people are seeking food from the food bank. And whereas as recently as the late 1980s, we had thriving middle-class department stores, today the stores that draw the big crowds are Walmart and the dollar stores.

His theory fits with my personal experience. I see the failing middle class in my city. I also see the extremely wealthy and the supermanagers that he writes about. I think he is mostly right.

I have to add that I think that capitalism is the most creative economic form we have known thus far. It would be a shame to lose that great advantage. So it depends on the self-control of the very, very rich and privileged. Can they care enough about civilization, about society, about something other than their bottom lines and their personal wealth to take less and to give a lot, a lot more back to keep the flow of money moving among those who at this time are not worth a lot of money? That is the question.

it's one of those "to be or not to be" moments. Will we continue to be a capitalist society that permits upper mobility and creativity by people who weren't born rich, or will we turn into an oligarchy in which the ease and excessive consumption by the financial aristocrats of our day suck the financial oxygen out of the dream of opportunity for the 99% who weren't born rich.

Which would you choose if you were rich? Enjoy your wealth for the moment and let future generations fight over the injustice they will experience? Or beg for a taxation system that keeps every child, every person in the game and that gives the creativity that occurs in a society that provides everyone an opportunity and the security to be creative.

The gift of creativity cannot be bought. It is God-given. It is the surprise that comes from the middle class, the poor and rich alive. And it is creativity that makes our lives better every day.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Sun Apr 13, 2014, 05:00 PM

10. I sort of disagree,

and would argue that it has actually been unregulated capitalism that has failed. To me, it is still possible for a capitalist system to succeed as long as it is done in moderation, and doesn't do what America has been doing for the past several decades. Where this country screwed up was once Reagan popularized trickle-down economics, and once regulations for corporations were loosened.

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Response to Jamaal510 (Reply #10)

Sun Apr 13, 2014, 06:02 PM

15. Beens saying that for a long time!

Capitalism works when it's regulated and checked regularly. When it doesn't work is when everything is deregulated with zero government insight or accountability. That's when you get the scumbag billionaires like the Koch Brothers in charge.

The Scumbag Billionaires by the way, just added to the lineup for Bonnaroo.

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Response to Jamaal510 (Reply #10)

Sun Apr 13, 2014, 06:22 PM

18. The systems BECOME unregulated because of the increasing wealth and power of the rich

Not having read the book, but only the article, the problem with Piketty's analysis seems to be that, as he admits, he is ignoring politics.

Economics and politics are deeply intertwined. Any model that can offer real solutions must take that into account.

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Response to Jamaal510 (Reply #10)

Sun Apr 13, 2014, 06:23 PM

19. But I guess I would argue that monopolies are the end-state of capitalism, and

the monopolies invariably result is a concentration of wealth that permits them to buy out the government and deregulate themselves, leading to a fascist outcome.

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Response to Jamaal510 (Reply #10)

Sun Apr 13, 2014, 08:31 PM

22. Piketty's argument

Is that regulated capitalism eventually becomes unregulated capitalism and furthermore that even the conditions of our "regulated capitalism" was predicated upon a highly unusual period of wealth destruction involved in two world wars. He is essentially saying that capitalism naturally induces extreme wealth disparity and thus always moves in an anti-democratic direction so what we are actually seeing is a return to the normal state of capitalism.

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Response to Jamaal510 (Reply #10)

Sun Apr 13, 2014, 09:25 PM

24. Not a good choice

There is no such thing as unregulated capitalism in this country. There is a capitalism that is less regulated than it used to be. Some of it is poorly regulated in precisely the wrong direction.

It actually takes strong government intervention to make capitalism sort of work. Maynard-Keynes patched it a bit with high tax rates and wealth redistribution by the creation of social insurance (social security and unemployment insurance) whole cloth without an existing trust fund for either. This combined with strong labor unionism, aggressive anti-trust prosecution, and massive public works and war expenditures held the bear at bay for a bit.

In corollary, the Reagan Revolution, cut the bear loose and baited it on. But the bear was always there and cannot be left unattended, and even when attended to, just makes progress more slowly.

Wealth in a capitalist system is like fuel load in a pine forest. If you don't burn it off regularly then when it lights on its own the fire is massive and destructive.

Burning it off regularly resets the ecology and basically benefits everything. Capitalism can work, but only with frequent and recurrent wealth destruction. A heavy inheritance tax would only be a good start.

We need to learn that the people who "create jobs" are not rich, they just want to become rich. The truly rich simply rent their money out to others and live off the passive gains.

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Response to quaker bill (Reply #24)

Sun Apr 13, 2014, 09:33 PM

28. "Capitalism can work, but only with frequent and recurrent wealth destruction."

Interesting point. I'll try to remember that one.

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Response to nomorenomore08 (Reply #28)

Sun Apr 13, 2014, 10:14 PM

32. Every time it sort of works well for a bit

wealth is taken from the top and pumped back in at the bottom. It takes a number of economic cycles to get back to the top where it stagnates. For that number of economic cycles, things seem far better. Now if you keep it continuously pruned back, things might seem good for quite some time.

The argument is made that however assertively you try, sooner or later enough of it accumulates in few enough hands to purchase sufficient political influence for the system to fail. This is likely true and a constant. The only question is how long it takes between cycles of plutocratic instability.

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Response to quaker bill (Reply #24)

Mon Apr 14, 2014, 01:42 AM

39. Well quaker, if it isn't one thing being "regulated" something else is.

Perhaps if we referred to the current situation as the 'church of capitalism' we could more easily understand its' faith based system.

Perhaps we might start to think a scientific approach is more logical?

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Response to fleabiscuit (Reply #39)

Mon Apr 14, 2014, 07:10 AM

51. As a scientist, even science is a guess at some level

As scientists we attempt to make our guesses reasonably predictive based on empirical analysis, but you still have to run the experiment to get the result.

This is different, in that the experiment has been run over and over for 200 years. Mr. Picketty has reportedly looked at the data for the results in a new and deeper way. It is not that people have not been looking at much of this data for a long time. It is apparently that they left out the mega rich from their analysis as simply pre-determined as not relevant to real world economic interactions. This new analysis tosses them in the mix and comes up with a very different result.

It has been broadly assumed for most of a century that wealth creation was either a social good of itself or at least a harmless side effect of a well managed economy. This book apparently concludes that it should more be seen as the build up of plaques in the arteries that happen on the way to a heart attack. Same data, different analysis, radically different conclusion.

In fact, Reagan was precisely wrong. Not "a swing and a miss" wrong, but the precise opposite of correct, a running the football perfectly to exactly the wrong end zone mistake.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Sun Apr 13, 2014, 06:13 PM

17. HUGE K & R !!! - Thank You !!!


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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Sun Apr 13, 2014, 09:48 PM

29. Capitalism is a wonderful thing.

 

As long as the working class are also free to participate in the free market and bargain individually or collectively for the price of labor. Pure Capitalism is as dangerous as pure Socialism. It needs to be a balance of both. We have that here in the US. It's just leaning a bit too far right at the moment and for the past few decades. It's up to the working class to wake up and turn it back around. Occupy was a symptom of that strain. As is the fiasco at the VW plant in Tennessee. People should be getting tired of being trickled on.

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Response to SevenSixtyTwo (Reply #29)

Mon Apr 14, 2014, 03:29 AM

44. Yes, that's crucial. When labor has a voice in capitalism, the system can be amazing (nt)

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Sun Apr 13, 2014, 10:17 PM

33. K & R, bookmarked. n/t

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Sun Apr 13, 2014, 10:20 PM

34. GREAT LINKED ARTICLE!!

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Mon Apr 14, 2014, 03:28 AM

43. Oh I don't know. It's a mixed bag.

The mixed-economy social democracy regulated capitalism model seems to be best, overall.

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Response to Recursion (Reply #43)

Mon Apr 14, 2014, 03:34 AM

45. Perhaps

But how do you prevent it from being rolled back? Eventually the rich will roll it back and keep it there.

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Response to BlindTiresias (Reply #45)

Mon Apr 14, 2014, 03:36 AM

46. According to your avatar, its dissolution is an unavoidable consequence of intrinsic contradictions

I'm not personally a dialectical materialist, so I don't buy that, but just guessing from your avatar choice, I might answer "you don't".

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Response to Recursion (Reply #46)

Mon Apr 14, 2014, 04:40 AM

47. I respect Marx

I'm not doctrinaire about his work though. I was more asking you how you thought we could prevent this because someday the rich as a class will possess the technical means to make serfdom permanent.

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Response to BlindTiresias (Reply #47)

Mon Apr 14, 2014, 04:43 AM

48. Well, as far as that goes, I think Marx has a point

The large-scale direction is towards mass agency, and that probably explains the otherwise paranoid rantings of the current 1%.

Technology is decentralizing the means of production, rather quickly. That changes a lot of what it means to be bourgeoisie to begin with.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Mon Apr 14, 2014, 04:58 AM

49. fair, well regulated capitalism is fine by me. that means real competion, a fair deal.

New Deal capitalism made us the best economy for 3 decades, for everyone, until thieves began to destroy it when Reagan got in.

the "free market" today is just a rigged shell game. it used to be, even the titans of industry has some sense of decency, with pensions and health benefits (and even they were colossal assholes of their time).

here's how I see the ebb and flow of politics;


rethugs knew they could come in, make some sweetheart deals by kissing big money ass, it'd fuckup the economy, but not that bad enough, Democrats would get in and fix it. next time they got into office, they'd do it again, but never fully break the system. Dems would always turn it around. RWers would skim off the top, but make sure they didn't ruin everything

this current crop, esp with the teabagger mongoloids... they'd kill the goose that laid the golden egg, just to spite Obama (and greed). they don't want to skim some money, they want ALL the money, and if they kill the golden goose they don't even care anymore.

Obama? super-liberal he is not, but a decent man who probably spends a lot of time thinking why he signed up for this job when his own party isn't particularly loyal and doesn't have his back.

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Response to dionysus (Reply #49)

Mon Apr 14, 2014, 05:02 AM

50. True dat

Planned economies and laissez faire hellscapes both suck. Let's keep avoiding them.

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Response to Recursion (Reply #50)

Mon Apr 14, 2014, 04:46 PM

59. what the rethugs call "Free Market", is just a rigged shell game to steal.

we've always had rich greedy people fucking things up, but never to this level.. it'll be a killing the goose that laid the golden egg scenario.

they weren't satisfied with skimming like before, they used to be patient and let the Dems fix the economy after they stole from it...

they stole, but never enough to ruin the system. then a Dem would get in, fix stuff, and when the rethugs got back in, they resumed skimming

now their mindset isn't about skimming, they want to steal ALL the dough and fuck it... but you can only do that once before it gets real ugly...

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Mon Apr 14, 2014, 07:34 AM

52. This is one of the most civil and productive threads of the month.

Maybe, in addition to DUzy's, we should have a vote for most informative/civil thread of the week.



Sometimes it seems like the only purpose in life is to keep your car from touching another's.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Mon Apr 14, 2014, 07:44 AM

53. k&r

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Mon Apr 14, 2014, 12:11 PM

54. Paul Krugman: This is a book that will change both the way we think about...

...let me say right away that Piketty has written a truly superb book. It’s a work that melds grand historical sweep—when was the last time you heard an economist invoke Jane Austen and Balzac?—with painstaking data analysis. And even though Piketty mocks the economics profession for its “childish passion for mathematics,” underlying his discussion is a tour de force of economic modeling, an approach that integrates the analysis of economic growth with that of the distribution of income and wealth. This is a book that will change both the way we think about society and the way we do economics.


http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2014/may/08/thomas-piketty-new-gilded-age/

Great Find, n2doc!!!

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Mon Apr 14, 2014, 12:15 PM

55. k/r

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Mon Apr 14, 2014, 12:38 PM

58. The Conservative party in America has failed the world.


I'm always right. When I'm wrong I admit it.
So then I'm right about being wrong.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Mon Apr 14, 2014, 05:33 PM

61. You mean Michael Moore was right...

Capitalism: A Love Story - 2 years before Occupy


Sicko kicked off the Health Care Debate

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