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Thomas Piketty


  • Originally published 09/24/2013

    Scot who saved American buffalo subject of film

    He is little known in his home country, but the Scot credited with saving America’s buffalo from being hunted to extinction is now the subject of an award-winning film.

  • Originally published 09/24/2013

    The Unsung Hero Who Coined the Term "Genocide"

    Michael Ignatieff

    If the history of the western moral imagination is the story of an enduring and unending revolt against human cruelty, there are few more consequential figures than Raphael Lemkin.

  • Originally published 06/13/2014

    A Soviet Devil in the Capitalist Details

    Liberty and Power

    The other day I began scrutinizing Thomas Piketty’s data on capital to national income ratios and particularly the twice-published Figure 5.8/12.4. This graph provides an important piece of evidence for Piketty’s theoretical argument in Capital in the 21st Century, and particularly his contention that “a country that saves a lot and grows slowly will over the long run accumulate an enormous stock of capital (relative to its income), which can in turn have a significant effect on the social structure and distribution of wealth.” This “law” of capital accumulation, along with Piketty’s much quoted formula r>g, is supposed to demonstrate the central argument of his book wherein returns on capital outpace income, leading to sustained wealth disparity.

  • Originally published 06/08/2014

    Data Problems with Piketty’s Capital/Income Ratios

    Liberty and Power

    The post that follows is a bit more technical than my other posts on the data problems with Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century. It also involves a more complex piece of his data, though one with significant implications to his general theory about a hypothesized inherent tendency of capital returns to outpace other earnings.

  • Originally published 06/07/2014

    5 remaining problems for Thomas Piketty in the wake of the FT controversy

    Liberty and Power

    In the past few days Thomas Piketty and a number of his less scrupulous defenders have taken to declaring the data dispute around Capital in the 21st Century a settled matter since the publication of Piketty’s retort to Chris Giles of the Financial Times.

  • Originally published 06/06/2014

    About that new “study” that supposedly vindicates Piketty…

    Liberty and Power

    Robert Murphy has an excellent post up today following a conversation about the new Saez-Zucman (2014) “study” of US wealth inequality that Piketty iscurrently trumpeting (see p. 7) as something of a vindication of his highly problematic and as-of-yet still unexplained Figure 10.5.

  • Originally published 06/06/2014

    Remember the War Revenue Act of 1898!

    Liberty and Power

    The federal revenue situation of the late 19th century United States presents a somewhat case study in constitutional political economy, owing to a fairly restrictive constitutional restraint on the means of raising revenue for the federal government. The U.S. Constitution provided Congress with the “Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises” as its primary means of taxation, yet it also provided that “No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken.”

  • Originally published 06/06/2014

    Remember the War Revenue Act of 1898!

    The federal revenue situation of the late 19th century United States presents a somewhat case study in constitutional political economy, owing to a fairly restrictive constitutional restraint on the means of raising revenue for the federal government. The U.S. Constitution provided Congress with the “Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises” as its primary means of taxation, yet it also provided that “No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken.”

  • Originally published 06/06/2014

    Remember the War Revenue Act of 1898!

    The federal revenue situation of the late 19th century United States presents a somewhat case study in constitutional political economy, owing to a fairly restrictive constitutional restraint on the means of raising revenue for the federal government. The U.S. Constitution provided Congress with the “Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises” as its primary means of taxation, yet it also provided that “No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken.”

  • Originally published 06/06/2014

    Remember the War Revenue Act of 1898!

    The federal revenue situation of the late 19th century United States presents a somewhat case study in constitutional political economy, owing to a fairly restrictive constitutional restraint on the means of raising revenue for the federal government. The U.S. Constitution provided Congress with the “Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises” as its primary means of taxation, yet it also provided that “No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken.”

  • Originally published 06/06/2014

    Remember the War Revenue Act of 1898!

    The federal revenue situation of the late 19th century United States presents a somewhat case study in constitutional political economy, owing to a fairly restrictive constitutional restraint on the means of raising revenue for the federal government. The U.S. Constitution provided Congress with the “Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises” as its primary means of taxation, yet it also provided that “No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken.”