A lengthy tome devoted to the analysis of income data rushed to the top of Amazon’s best- seller list last year. Thomas Pikkety (43), professor at the Paris School of Economics is now a celebrity. ‘Capitalism in the Twenty-First Century’, concludes – on the best possible evidence – that the system is as dynamic as a dead horse and can only guarantee spectacular inequality and unemployment. This is inflammatory at a time when public consciousness of inequality has been swiftly transformed by the Occupy movement.
None of this is revelatory. But Doubting Thomas is not a Marxist and his analysis of capitalism is based on ‘The Top Incomes Database’ – “the single largest historical database on long-term inequality currently in existence.” In a fiefdom of philistines what is important depends on who says it and Pikkety cannot be impeached on grounds of class or methodology. For a while he is beyond the clutches of a fascist academic and media cabal intent on containment.
And so feel free to believe that under current arrangements the rich will inherit the earth by lying in bed. No special talent is required in a culture where war provides work making indirect cannibalism a way of life. The jubilee on cognitive dissonance will not last long so take full advantage.
The review of the book by John Bellamy Foster and Michael D.Yates at Monthly Review is superb.