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Thoughts On Where We Are, and Where We're Going
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(09-17-2018, 07:39 PM)Bob Butler 54 Wrote:
(09-16-2018, 06:16 AM)pbrower2a Wrote: Piketty sees history as a succession of elites, with the size of the elite creating the oppression instead of the autocratic character of a leader. Elites are highly selective in nature, selecting for either morality of some standard -- or, if Donald Trump exemplifies America's elite of ownership going in a vile direction, amorality.

We seem to have different perspectives on Piketty.  Reading the first few chapters of Capitol, I can see how his economic views are positive.  He bases his system on the many years of tax information gathered by the Europeans, not the simplistic assumptions that leave the present schools of economics in perpetual deadlock.  That much is positive.

Any commitment to autocratic systems would be problematic, but even so his empirical treatment of the economy by looking at real data could present an improvement.

But I am not that much of an economist.  The old schools went nowhere.  They each offer 'proof' of whatever you want to believe.

Piketty begins optimistically, recognizing that economic growth is possible so long as the system fosters investment in productive enterprise.  But he also recognizes that the rise of elites leads to those elites grabbing more of the economic output, gutting investment, and demanding more of the proletariat. If the economic elites are small in number, the system is fine. But let them become more than about 1%, and troubles arise.

Elites can be aristocratic rentiers (whether feudal landlords or urban landlords), capitalists, an intellectual caste, bureaucratic administrators, or even gangsters. If they are small enough as a whole in number then the economy can work to serve the common man. If those elites are relatively large and powerful, then the focus of the economy becomes the enrichment, indulgence, and power of those elites. Growth falters, human investment fades, and even infrastructure decays as the political system works largely to funnel income to those elites and enforce harsh arrangements.

But even Marx said of capitalism that to his time, no system had created so much prosperity for so many. Marx' complaint was that the capitalists were getting too much and were sweating the defenseless worker ever more for the gain and indulgence of the capitalist elite.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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RE: Thoughts On Where We Are, and Where We're Going - by pbrower2a - 09-18-2018, 07:38 AM

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