Monday, June 22, 2015

The hits, they keep on coming

This time it's from University of Chicago's Casey Mulligan teeing off on Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-first Century;
One of the novelties of Capital relative to the literature is that it completely avoids even half-serious supply-and-demand reasoning by trashing the profession and stoking antieconomics prejudices with unsubstantiated claims such as the following: “The problem is that the price system knows neither limits nor morality” (p. 6). (Much later in the book, Piketty admits that terrible things happen when countries eschew the price system: “[P]rivate property and the market economy . . . play a useful role in coordinating the actions of millions of individuals. . . . The human disasters caused by Soviet-style centralized planning illustrate this quite clearly” [p. 532]. But, he says, the Soviet approach and other attempts to “abolish private ownership” should at least be admired for being “more logically consistent” [p. 531].)
We agree, Stalin was the ultimate logician of socialism. When you have total power in your hands, anything is possible. Then, a little closer to home;
Several factual errors come with Piketty’s claims that France since its revolution has cared more about equal rights and that Republican presidents of the United States have stood in starkest contrast to the French model. He fails to mention that the Polity IV database of political freedoms around the world consistently rates France as less democratic than the United States. There is of course, Napoleon, who gave his country of equal rights the unusual distinction of relegalizing slavery, and Polity IV rates the United States as more democratic in 176 of the 198 years after 1815 and equally democratic in the remaining 22 years.
Our bolds in the above, per usual.

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