Piketty vs. the Classical Economic Reformers

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As published in the Real World Economics Review #69 - Special issue on Piketty’s Capital Thomas Piketty has done a great service in collating the data of many countries to quantify the ebb and flow of their distribution of wealth and income. For hundreds of pages and tables, his measurements confirm what most people sense without needing statistical proof. Across the globe the top 1% have increased their share of wealth and income to the steepest extreme since the Gilded Age of the late 19th and early 20th century. The Federal Reserve’s 2013 Survey of Consumer Finances shows that economic polarization has accelerated since the 2008 crash. The 0.1% of Americans have pulled even further ahead of the rest of the 1%, ...

The Social Economics of Thorstein Veblen

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Book Review as published at the Economic History Association David Reisman, The Social Economics of Thorstein Veblen, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2012, vii + 338 pp. $150 (hardcover), ISBN978-0-85793-218-1. Those who wish to understand the many and deep contributions of Thorstein Veblen to economics will find that this offering falls short of the mark. The title promises to treat the social policy content of Veblen’s economic thought. Describing the ways in which markets were being distorted by predatory finance and other special interests, Veblen was read by every socialist leader and most progressives in early and mid-20th century America. Written in a popular sarcastic style, his books showed how the behavior of ...