Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
If Piketty is coming from a Marxist or Marxist informed background, which may be possible given his nationality and academic traditions there, then it is not at all surprising that he consistently favored structural explanations to policy explanations.  

A key point in traditional Marxism is economic determinism, that the underlying dynamics of capital are the ultimate driver of history.  Politics is secondary.  This is, obviously, a point that has been greatly contested within Marxist circles, but it has never been rejected or conclusively disproven in any manner.  Now, that doesn't mean much, as proof and disproof in the realm of grand theories for all of human history is a somewhat intangible matter.  But still.

by Zwackus on Thu Apr 24th, 2014 at 08:18:23 PM EST
Well, he spends a lot of time at the beginning of the book distantiating himself from any theory of inevitability.

Of course, the fact that he observes the same thing everywhere can point towards structural issues. But we have had a worldwide movement towards freedom of capital, which is a policy choice with major consequences for the relative bargaining power of labour and wealth.
Also, the Eastern bloc collapsed at about the same time, unions had been weakened, the memory of the war aftermath was getting lost... All that seem to have helped a general movement of policy rightwards. With the consequences that we see.

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

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Fri Apr 25th, 2014 at 02:13:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]


Occasional Series