Thursday, July 09, 2015

Gotta Love Thomas Piketty!

Thomas Piketty deserves a gold star - heck, he deserves a handful of gold stars ! He is Professor of Economics at the Paris School of Economics , and author of books on economic development and the distribution of income, wealth and inequality. (His CV here)

From an article by Tyler Durden at at Zero Hedge, including a translation of an interview with Piketty, when his views about the German stance on Greece's debt crisis were made clear:

....And while Piketty's book may have sold out in socialist France, it seems Germany did not leave a pleasant taste in the celebrity economist's mouth, and in an interview with Germany's Zeit magazine, translated into English, the Frenchman just made sure he will never sell another book east of the Rhine. Here is the reason why:

"When I hear the Germans say that they maintain a very moral stance about debt and strongly believe that debts must be repaid, then I think: what a huge joke! Germany is the country that has never repaid its debts. It has no standing to lecture other nations.

... Germany is really the single best example of a country that, throughout its history, has never repaid its external debt. Neither after the First nor the Second World War. However, it has frequently made other nations pay up, such as after the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, when it demanded massive reparations from France and indeed received them. The French state suffered for decades under this debt. The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice."

I love that Thomas Piketty has, as we used to say in Yorkshire "told 'em their name for nowt", regarding their stance on the Greek debt crisis issue. While I don't think a new generation of Germans should ever be judged on the horrendous wrong-doings of a previous generation, I do think they should be judged on this particular exhibition of bloody-mindedness, proving that national stereotypes do indeed contain elements of truth.

Thomas Piketty was born on 7 May 1971 at 8:45 AM in Clichy, France. His natal chart is at here. His Sun and Saturn are in Taurus, Mercury and Venus in Aries, Moon conjunct Uranus in Libra, Mars in Aquarius; Jupiter conjunct Neptune in Sagittarius, and Cancer rising. I like him!


Sonny G said...

Leave it to a Taurus to figure out where the money is and how it got spent:)
gotta love 'um...

JD said...

Every economic theory I have ever looked at works perfectly. Every sigle one, whether it be Adam Smith, Karl Marx, Milton Friedman, John Maynard Keynes and probably Thomas Piketty's as well (I haven't read it)
They all work perfectly..... in theory!!!
And they all fail for exactly the same reason - none of them take account of people. The economic system itself is more important than the people who live and work within and for the system.

The only economist who wrote with any common sense was Fritz Schumacher. In fact the sub title of his most famous book is "Economics as if people mattered"
But you need to read all three of his books to fully understand his ideas.

Dangerous nonsense, of course! We can't have people lying about doing nothing; that would never do, although Jesus did give a hint that lying about doing nothing was better than running around being busy-busy :)

Twilight said...

Sonny ~ Yep - and leave it to someone with Moon conjunct Uranus in Libra to speak out when nobody else will, and to say what needed to be said!

Twilight said...

JD ~ thanks for your thoughts on this. I'm a card-carrying ignoramus on theories of economics, but I know what I like when I see what I like. ;-)

I agree that what's missing in most political/economics set-ups is that they omit the fact that people are different (or they capitalise too much on it). People are very, very different; communally, national stereotypes are often proof of this and do carry a certain amount of truth. This is all natural - human nature's way of making things forever variable, unequal from certain perspectives. What I like to see are ways of easing extremes of inequalities of all types, and the results of same, so that all have basic necessities and a reasonable amount of opportunity according to ability, and type of talent (we all have some of that somewhere within us).

But it is also clear that left entirely untouched by public policy, the capitalist system will produce more inequality than is socially healthy or than is necessary for maximum efficiency.
Barney Frank

mike said...

Economics, like sociology and psychology, is a pseudo-science and they have similarities: they are empirical studies of human behavior. I do like Piketty's message and it's very similar to the "1% vs 99%" slogan of the past several years, but he is essentially repackaging socialism as a new invention based on his critical analysis and assessment. As JD said above, all of these economic theories have solidity in concept, but fail upon application due to the human element. That dirty, stinkin' selfish X-gene at play.

I'm fascinated by the "1% vs 99%" mantra heard from the disenfranchised 99% of the first-world countries. We 99% feel that our fair-share of resources has been sequestered by the 1%, yet we are blind to the fact that we 99% live in the upper echelons of the money grubbers of the globe. We 99%, recognizing the disparity of wealth, should feel obliged to recognize such and redistribute our wealth with the poorer third world countries (the majority of the global population), but we don't.

“We become slaves the moment we hand the keys to the definition of reality entirely over to someone else, whether it is a business, an economic theory, a political party, the White House, Newsworld or CNN.” B.W. Powe

Twilight said...

mike ~ Your idea and ideal of making the whole world equal would be a step for the far future, in an ideal world - which will not exist on this planet. Maybe on some other planet where beings have different elements within them, there'd be a chance. We'll have to work with what we've got, and continue going around in spirals, always hoping that st some point, once we've solved problems nationally, next within a union of some sort, and eventually globally....but it's all a pipe dream unless we can do it nationally first. (Just my economically uneducated opinion).

“If human equality is to be for ever averted — if the High, as we have called them, are to keep their places permanently — then the prevailing mental condition must be controlled insanity.” ― George Orwell, 1984

Sabina said...

Yes, Mike, and I'd add political 'science' to your list.

I think the EU internecine finger-pointing is extremely worrisome - no single country member, much less the WB, IMF or ECB, can escape some responsibility for the current imbroglio - precisely because it plays directly to the far right parties and their insular self-proclaimed superiority. It's that old saw that united we stand, divided we fall.

I stand in my belief that there can be another consensus reality on this planet and my belief is grounded in the fact that as yet over 50 per cent of the population, whose innate propensities are life-affirming, nurturing, and communal, has not achieved an equal voice nor vote in the direction of human affairs.

Top down application of theoretical solutions will never succeed, whether in economics or architecture or any other endeavour. The natural world flourishes around us as an example of a waste-free self-sufficient system. Solutions to human dilemmas will only grow from the healthy feeding and care of the 'grass roots'.

Q: Why did God create economists?
A: In order to make weather forecasters look good.

Twilight said...

Sabina ~ Thanks for your always wise words.

The problem has always been getting that 50% of people either the ability (in many cases) or the inclination (in many other cases) to achieve anything near an equal voice.

Re Greece - I like the @Tweet of God tweet from "God" today:
Greece owes Europe some money. Europe owes Greece Western civilization. Call it even?

Twilight said...

Ian Welsh has a fairly brief piece up on Greece etc. Depressing, but no use being blinkered.
"If Syriza Blinks"

mike (again) said...

Bernie said something similar at least a week prior to Ian Welsh's essay:

"Sanders, for his part, argues that the United States has an interest in helping Greece attain economic relief in order to safeguard the country’s democracy. He cites the rise of Nazism in Germany after World War I as an example of how austerity-stricken economies are susceptible to authoritarian takeovers.

'Let us not forget, after World War I, the Allies imposed oppressive austerity on Germany as part of the Versailles Treaty,' Sanders said in the statement to HuffPost. 'As a result, unemployment skyrocketed, the people suffered, and the policies of austerity gave rise to the Nazi Party. We cannot let a situation like that ever happen again.'”

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ Ah - well I knew I'd read something similar somewhere before, but couldn't remember where or by whom it had been said. Thanks - glad it was Bernie!

Now that we're at a slightly different stage of the story's development, it seems even more of a significant thing to keep in mind.