Thomas Piketty signing autographed copies of his bestseller. Paulo Slachevsky/Flickr

Piketty contra Piketty

BERKELEY – En su libro El capital en el siglo XXI, el economista francés Thomas Piketty destaca los contrastes llamativos en América del Norte y Europa cuando se compara la Edad de Oro que precedió a la Primera Guerra Mundial con las décadas posteriores a la Segunda Guerra Mundial. Durante el primer período, el crecimiento económico era lento, la riqueza predominante se heredaba, los ricos dominaban el ámbito político y la desigualdad económica era extrema (como también lo eran las desigualdades raciales y de género).

Pero todo cambió después de la conmoción causada por la Segunda Guerra Mundial. El crecimiento del ingreso se aceleró, la riqueza, en su gran mayoría, se ganaba (ya sea de forma justa o injusta), el ámbito político pasó a estar bajo el dominio de la clase media y la desigualdad económica era modesta (a pesar de aún quedaba un largo camino para alcanzar las igualdades raciales y de género).  El Occidente parecía haber entrado en una nueva era. Sin embargo posteriormente, durante la década de 1980, estas tendencias parecían estar cambiando constantemente, regresando hacia a la que fue la norma antes de la Primera Guerra Mundial.

La tesis central de Piketty es que no deberíamos sorprendernos por esto. Se debe esperar nuestro retorno a los patrones económicos y políticos de la Edad de Oro a medida que las economías de América del Norte y Europa regresan a lo que es normal para una sociedad capitalista.

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