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皮克提所未见的知识

美国剑桥—理论框架是伟大的,因为它们用简化的用语让我们能够理解复杂世界的基本面貌,这一点如同地图。但是,也和地图一样,它们的作用是有限度的。比如,公路地图不会告诉你现在的交通状况或更新高速公路修补情况。

理解世界经济的一个有用办法是通过托马斯·皮克提(Thomas Piketty)在其著名作品《二十一世纪资本论》(Capital in the Twenty-First Century)所提出的优美框架。皮克提将世界分成两个基本成分——资本和劳动力。两者都用于生产并分享果实。

两者间的主要区别在于你可以购买、拥有、出售资本,并且从理论上可以无限地积累资本,就像超级富豪们所做的那样。劳动力是个人能力的使用,你可以有偿使用,但不能拥有劳动力,因为奴隶制早就已经终结了。

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