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thanks for this review.  between galbraith's predominantly negative review and krugman's generally positive one, it's great to have a relatively "objective" forum like this one to understand the book's strengths and weaknesses.

interesting comment in this review (whoever Will Hutton is):

... the rich get ever richer and more detached from the societies of which they are part: not by merit or hard work, but simply because they are lucky enough to be in command of capital receiving higher returns than wages over time. Our collective sense of justice is outraged.

The lesson of the past is that societies try to protect themselves: they close their borders or have revolutions - or end up going to war. Piketty fears a repeat. His critics argue that with higher living standards resentment of the ultra-rich may no longer be as great - and his data is under intense scrutiny for mistakes. So far it has all held up.

Nor does it seem likely that human beings' inherent sense of justice has been suspended. Of course the reaction plays out differently in different eras: I suspect some of the energy behind Scottish nationalism is the desire to build a country where toxic wealth inequalities are less indulged than in England.

Capitalism simply isn't working and here are the reasons why
Economist Thomas Piketty's message is bleak: the gap between rich and poor threatens to destroy us

Point n'est besoin d'espérer pour entreprendre, ni de réussir pour persévérer. - Charles le Téméraire
by marco on Sun Apr 13th, 2014 at 12:54:54 AM EST
Yes, I feel that there is a lot of that.

Also, in some way, it's even worse:
"but simply because they are lucky enough to be in command of capital receiving higher returns than wages over time" is true, but it's not just by a law of economics (see how things were different in the decades after WW2), it's largelly by design.

No wonder our sense of justice is outraged.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Sun Apr 13th, 2014 at 02:39:45 AM EST
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I'd add that Scotland is particularly sensitive to wealth inequality because historically (and even today) a vast quantity of private land is owned by relatively few individuals...
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sun Apr 13th, 2014 at 04:56:20 AM EST
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From the Guardian name link:
Will Hutton has written a weekly column for more than 15 years: six years at the Guardian and nine years at the Observer. He is principal of Hertford College, Oxford, and chair of the Big Innovation Centre.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Apr 13th, 2014 at 09:57:30 AM EST
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