Richard Ebeling analyzes Piketty’s book

Economics professor Richard Ebeling examines the economics and philosophy of Thomas Piketty’s much-discussed new book in this essay.

I like this paragraph in particular: “Modern egalitarians like Piketty are locked into a pre-capitalist mindset when, indeed, accumulated wealth was most often the product of theft, murder, and deception. They, and the socialists who came before them, seemingly find it impossible to understand that classical liberalism and free market capitalism frees production and wealth from political power.”

Imagine how much worse off not only the poor, but most of society would be if we had embraced Piketty’s redistributionist ideas a century ago. Instead of accumulated wealth going into economic development and into philanthropy, it would have gone into the maw of the state, to be squandered on all of the things politicians like. True, we’d probably have less inequality, but almost everyone would be much poorer. There wasn’t much inequality among hunter/gatherer tribes either.


One comment

  1. …and social democracy frees society from the whims of the rentiers.

    Look, when you study economics, you’ll find that decision-making is governed by tradeoffs. Obviously all reasonable people can agree that 100% state ownership of capital will lead to stagnation, just as all reasonable people can agree that complete government divestment from society would produce chaos and misery. The challenge is to find a middle ground that will make the most the best-off. Arguing that such divestment would produce some sort of “free lunch” for society is the sort of thing that is easily prevented by an education in economics.

    Comment by Conscience Warrior on June 27, 2014 at 10:47 am

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