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Piketty mist de knowhow

CAMBRIDGE – theoretische kaders zijn mooi omdat ze ons in staat stellen fundamentele aspecten van een complexe wereld te begrijpen in veel simpelere begrippen, net zoals kaarten dat doen. Maar net zoals kaarten zijn ze maar tot op een bepaald niveau bruikbaar. Wegenkaarten vertellen je bijvoorbeeld niet de huidige verkeerssituatie en geven geen updates over wegwerkzaamheden.

Een bruikbare manier om de wereldeconomie te begrijpen is het elegante kader gepresenteerd door Thomas Piketty in zijn gevierde boek Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Piketty verdeelt de wereld in twee fundamentele zaken; kapitaal en arbeid. Beiden worden gebruikt bij productie en delen in de opbrengst ervan.

Het belangrijkste verschil tussen de twee is dat kapitaal iets is dat je kan kopen, bezitten, verkopen en in principe zonder beperkingen kan accumuleren, zoals de superrijken gedaan hebben. Arbeid is het gebruik van een individuele capaciteit die beloond kan worden maar niet bezeten door anderen, omdat de slavernij is afgeschaft.

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