Naturally, I can’t ignore this book by French Economist Thomas Piketty that is #1 on Amazon right now. The thing is I haven’t read it yet, although I read multiple reviews (even by those criticizing it who haven’t read it).
Conservatives are foaming at the mouth, attacking a book’s message, but their attacks do not go beyond calling Piketty a Marxist, even though he himself shuns the label. He merely points out the dysfunctional aspect of present-day capitalism to which many conservatives/neo-liberals simply have no coherent counter-argument. Thus, the shrieks and name-calling. Branding someone a “Commie” or a “Marxist” or a “Socialist” used to be all that was required to end the discussion about economics in the olden days, because one could always point at the Soviet Union. But Soviet Union is long gone and kids these days don’t give those labels the weight the conservatives routinely assign to them. Now, not only they would actually have to explain why is it bad, but they would also have to provide an alternative. But in all the AEI (American Enterprise Institute), Heritage and other right-wing “think-tanks” one won’t find anything other than Reaganomics and “trickle-down”. They are out of ideas. And when you’re out of ideas your only refuge is to scream louder and call your opponent names.
Piketty, in other words, scares the shit out of American right.
For Douthat and his tribe, the proposition that unfettered capitalism marches toward gross inequality is not a conclusion based on carefully collected data, strenuous research and a sweeping view of history. It has to be a Communist plot.
The very heft of Piketty’s book is terrifying to the Douthats, and no wonder they don’t dare to read it, because if they did, they would find chart after chart, data set after data set, and hundreds of years worth of economic history scrutinized.