Saturday, May 31, 2014

Piketty's Charge

Krugman on the right's furious efforts to discredit Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century:

Brad DeLong links to the now extensive list of pieces debunking the FT’s attempted debunking of Thomas Piketty, and pronounces himself puzzled:

I still do not understand what Chris Giles of the Financial Times thinks he is doing here…

OK, I don’t know what Giles thought he was doing — but I do know what he was actually doing, and it’s the same old same old. Ever since it became obvious that inequality was rising — way back in the 1980s — there has been a fairly substantial industry on the right of inequality denial. This denial didn’t rely on any one argument, nor did it involve consistent objections. Instead, it involved throwing many different arguments against the wall, hoping that something would stick. Inequality isn’t rising; it is rising, but it’s offset by social mobility; it’s cancelled by greater aid to the poor (which we’re trying to destroy, but never mind that); anyway, inequality is good. All these arguments have been made at the same time; none of them ever gets abandoned in the face of evidence — they just keep coming back.