to read the 16-page introduction to Thomas Piketty's "Capital in the 21st Century," click on
"The distribution of wealth is one of today's most widely discussed and controversial issues. But what do we really know about its evolution over the long term? Do the dynamics of private capital accumulation inevitably lead to the concentration of wealth in ever fewer hands, as Karl Marx believed in the nineteenth century? Or do the balancing forces of growth, competition, and technological progress lead in later stages of development to reduced inequality and greater harmony among the classes, as Simon Kuznets thought in the twentieth century? What do we really know about how wealth and income have evolved since the eighteenth century, and what lessons can we derive from that knowledge for the century now under way?
These are the questions I attempt to answer in this book...
A Debate without Data?
Intellectual and political debate about the distribution of wealth has long been based on an abundance of prejudice and a paucity of fact...
The distribution question also deserves to be studied in a systematic and methodical fashion. Without precisely defined sources, methods, and concepts, it is possible to see everything and its opposite. Some people believe that inequality is always increasing and that the world is by definition always becoming more unjust. Others believe that inequality is naturally decreasing, or that harmony comes about automatically, and that in any case nothing should be done that might risk disturbing this happy equilibrium.
This is from the Harvard University Press who should be appreciated for their generosity.
more at www.nextnewdeal.net, www.foreffectivegov.org, www.therealnews.com, www.onthecomons.org, www.steadystate.org, www.storyofstuff.com and www.themetimeradio.com