The Right’s Piketty Problem

Thomas Piketty's book Capital in the Twenty-First Century has quickly won widespread praise in the US. And, rather than offering substantive criticism of the work, many conservative reviewers have engaged in puerile, ad hominem attacks on its author.

BERKELEY – In the online journal The Baffler, Kathleen Geier recently attempted a roundup of conservative criticism of Thomas Piketty’s new book Capital in the Twenty-First Century. The astonishing thing to me is how weak the right’s appraisal of Piketty’s arguments has turned out to be.

Piketty’s argument is detailed and complicated. But five points seem particularly salient:

1. A society’s wealth relative to its annual income will grow (or shrink) to a level equal to its net savings rate divided by its growth rate.

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