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Piketty writes: "My problem with the FT criticisms is twofold. First, I did not find the FT criticism particularly constructive. The FT suggests that I made mistakes and errors in my computations, which is simply wrong."

Thomas Piketty responds to critics. (photo: CNN)
Thomas Piketty responds to critics. (photo: CNN)

This Is a Response to the Criticisms

By Thomas Piketty, Capital in the Twenty-First Century

29 May 14 your social media marketing partner


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+55 # 2014-05-29 13:40
Sad that the media will ignore and fail to report any of this and that the conservatives/T ea Partyers will continue to believe what they want. Not sure they would understand much of this, anyway.

Anti-intellectualism reigns.
+5 # RLF 2014-05-30 05:52
Many of the right will not understand but many on the left won't either. You have the problem, though, and when the democrats realize that it is not the facts but the slogan that sells an idea, they might start winning more elections. They have the greatest and historical slogan slapping them in the face but refuse to use it because it steps on the toes of their benefactors...a nd that is the f#*king rich have all of the resources and are not pulling their own weight.
+43 # charless 2014-05-29 14:10
Dr Picketty is an impressive intellect who has done a masterful job of marshaling an immense amount of data which is less complete than it will, one hopes, become, on a subject of monumental importance to the progression of human welfare and happiness.

In my book, as one lucky to be highly educated and greatly more comfortable than nearly all my fellows, humanity owes this man a great deal for nourishing intelligent consideration of a vital and hitherto inadequately addressed core question the rich and powerful don't want to hear about. It is a matter not only the less advantaged will pay a heavy price for not taking seriously.

Charles Scarlott, Tucson Arizona
+36 # Seadog 2014-05-29 14:17
Here's how the Neo-Fascist media will report Prof. Picketty's response to the FT critique of his book. Right, they won't even publish his response, because they don't want really want a debate, what they want is to defame and discredit him on their own authority and once this has been done, the good Prof. is no longer considered credible.
+21 # PaineRad 2014-05-29 15:35
That appears to be the real motivation behind the FT criticisms.

I am a little surprised that so many economists (not merely the arch-conservati ve ones) did so little reading of all his data and did not debunk those criticisms that were obviously inept.
+9 # janla 2014-05-29 16:03
So we have to spread this as widely as we can.
-3 # Billsy 2014-05-29 16:37
All I see is a blank page. I assume this not to be some intended irony.
+5 # Henry 2014-05-29 17:02
Billsy, there's a little box in the upper right with an arrow. If you click on that it leads you offsite to Piketty's appendix in a better (larger) format:
+6 # banichi 2014-05-29 17:38
Given the FT's readership and its funding, which is mostly conservative, the criticisms of Piketty's book is inevitable. But that just proves the point of the book, does it not? And the publicity it generates for his book and support for reading it, is priceless.

So I would say, 'Bring it on!' - the more controversy, the better!

The Koch brothers probably own a copy by now, even if they might die of apoplexy trying to really understand what he has to say. But they would probably hire someone else to summarize it for them....I bought the Kindle version so I can work through it no matter where I am.

And if anyone wants to watch the conversation between Piketty and Elizabeth Warren scheduled to take place on June 2, 8:30pm ET, you can sign up on I don't know if the RSVP link will work, but here it is if you want to try:
-7 # moreover 2014-05-29 20:54
This is addressed to the editors: Lousy article. Requires a preface that tells us what it is about and what the acronym FT means.
(I have no beef with the article itself).
+6 # tomslockett 2014-05-29 23:15
The Financial Times decision to criticize Thomas Piketty is equivalent to the decision of Donald Sterling to take on Magic Johnson.
+4 # RMDC 2014-05-30 07:00
Data, graphs, and all this quantitive stuff just does not impress me very much. I know social scientists like Piketty are deep into data and it seems very significant to them.

For me, the best evidence of the growing crisis in wealth inequality is actions and narratives. The stories we read about how the Koch Bros use their money is to me proof that they have too much money and ordinary people don't have enough. I look at the work of ALEC which is supported by bilionaire corporations and holds a completely criminal influence over state legislatures.

Giant banks run the Treasury department. The last 8 or 10 secretaries of the Treasury have come from banks like Goldman Sachs. That tells me a lot.

Statistics and data are things I just don't care about and the fighting over data strikes me as a way to distract us all from the point -- wealth inequality is out of control. It is the direct result of Reagan's supply side economic theory or otherwise called neo-liberalism by people like Milton Friedman of the Chicago/Austria n school. Their intent was to create a super-wealthy class which could use its money to control governments in ways that would transfer even more money to the plutocrats. We are now at the end of this process. We can't take any more of the wealthy ruling elites.
+3 # tclose 2014-05-30 12:36
Prof Piketty responds to the inevitable attacks from the conservative financial press in a coherent and rational way. Which is befitting his thoughtful approach to this large and now very important topic.

I read over his book, a long treatise (close to 700pp) and not easily comprehensible to the non-expert (that would be me). Read some parts, skimmed over others. A marvelous book though, giving a revealing account of the history of wealth from the 18th century to the beginning of WW1, then the turbulent era from 1914 to 1989 (when the Soviet Union dissolved), and the years since then, discussing the impact of various governmental interventions during those periods. Then his ruminations about what that has resulted in (systemic inequality) and what options there are to deal with it "if democracy is to regain control of capitalism".
0 # Jingze 2014-05-31 12:40
The political world has no interest in what is honest, truthful, or reasonable. Such things have nothing to do with governments, and definitely little to do with people. If this were not so, the world would be in far better shape. Humankind is simply irrational and violent. People are happiest when they're killing one another. The evidence is quite clear.
+3 # DurangoKid 2014-06-01 17:23
As Noam Chomsky says, 'governments are not moral agents.'

I would add:

They're about the projection of power for the sake of capital accumulation. As they would monopolize violence, so they seek to control the terms of debate in order to make it difficult to mount a countervailing opinion against current policy. Through the concentration of media it is also possible to control the terms of debate by omission. Opinions that don't serve the state and corporate sector are by definition not newsworthy. In fact, they're quite dangerous. An informed and vibrant public debate means their efforts at propaganda have failed. You can apply these principles to any issue that's important to the 99% that even mildly threatens the 1%.

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