Tuesday, March 25, 2014
The Implications Of Capitalism In The 21st Century
Thomas Piketty's book has been receiving the attention that it deserves in America now that it has been published in English. The book is over 700 pages and it is filled with data that are used to reach the conclusions made by Piketty that growing inequality is inevitable under our current form of capitalism. John Cassidy provides us a service by summarizing Piketty's book without bogging the reader down with many of the details. Moreover, Piketty did not write the book to make the case that nothing can be done about the rapid rise in inequality. He shows how politics and economics are necessarily connected. The seeds of growing inequality have been determined by the political choices that we make. We could choose to have less income inequality if we could overcome the powerful forces that have shaped our current form of capitalism. Piketty discusses some of those changes in his book. The debate is no longer about whether inequality is growing. The question is what can be done about it if we would prefer a more equal and democratic society. We can't have rising inequality and democracy as well. Democracy is not defined by running elections. This is especially true when running for office requires huge sums of money provided by those who benefit from our current form of capitalism.