My most-recent column in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review is the first of several essays from me on some of the many problems with Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century and the Pikettymania that it has induced in some people. A slice:
The creativity and fortitude of entrepreneurs, the skillful risk-taking by investors and the insight and effort of managers are all strangely absent throughout Piketty’s performance. These very fonts of modern prosperity are at best assumed to play uninterestingly routine and unseen roles backstage. Onstage, capital — the stuff that is in fact created and skillfully steered by flesh-and-blood entrepreneurs, investors and managers — appears to grow spontaneously, without human involvement.
Piketty promotes the politics of envy, in which greater equality is a goal in itself — as opposed to the goal of helping out those at the bottom of the income distribution — and Piketty plainly states that the policies he recommends to reduce inequality would do so by pulling down those at the top rather than bringing up those at the bottom.
Indeed. It is truly – yet sadly – astonishing that attitudes and behaviors that rightly bring down punishment on children who exhibit them on the playground (envying the toys that others have and ganging up to take from those who are perceived to have more toys) are regarded as progressive, humane, and just when exhibited by adult voters and when encouraged in adults by adult professors, pundit, politicians, and preachers. Such attitudes are inexcusably uncivilized, destructive, immoral, and (contrary to “Progressives’” fancies) antediluvian.