Democratie in de 21e eeuw

NEW YORK – De ontvangst van Thomas Piketty’s recente boek Capital in the Twenty-First Century in de Verenigde Staten en in andere geavanceerde economieën getuigt van de stijgende zorg over de groeiende ongelijkheid. Zijn boek geeft nog meer gewicht aan het al overweldigende bewijs dat het inkomen en rijkdom aan de top steeds verder omhoog schiet.

Bovendien biedt Piketty’s boek een ander perspectief op de ongeveer dertig jaar die volgden op de Grote Depressie en de Tweede Wereldoorlog, waarbij hij deze periode als een historische anomalie beschouwt, eventueel veroorzaakt door de ongebruikelijke sociale cohesie die cataclysmische gebeurtenissen kunnen veroorzaken. In dat tijdperk van snelle economische groei werd de welvaart breed gedeeld, waarbij alle groepen erop vooruit gingen, maar waar die aan onderkant een grotere percentuele vooruitgang maakten.

Piketty werpt ook een nieuw licht op de ‘hervormingen’ die in de jaren 80 door Ronald Reagan en Margaret Thatcher werden verkocht als aanjagers van groei waar iedereen van zou profiteren. Hun hervormingen werden gevolgd door een langzamere groei en een verhoogde mondiale instabiliteit en de groei die er al was bevoordeelde vooral de mensen aan de top.

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