I have now reached the point in Piketty's book where he lays out his plans on how to deal with the problems of capital which he documents so well. I will likely find this the section with which I have the most disagreement. Piketty is not a Marxist, surely not a communist. I am. However, I can now say this without hesitation. Anyone who is at all concerned with capitalism, with inequality, and who has the time and the means to read this book - should. I don't really care if you do or you don't and I am not really interested in taking the time to write some long opinion piece, review, critique, but I can tell you that almost everything I have read which is critical of the book sounds as if it comes from people who never bothered to read it, are economist jealous of what Piketty has accomplished, or have a dogmatic ax to grind. Again, Piketty does not claim to be a Marxist. However, Marxists should surely read his book. This book provides real data, real evidence, real research which will be invaluable to those of us involved in the fight against capital for a long time to come.
It does seem that everyone from everywhere on the political spectrum is writing something about Thomas Piketty’s book, Capital in the Twenty-first Century. I am not sure how many are actually reading the whole thing, but everyone seems to have an opinion about it one way or the other. I actually am reading the thing and so far, I have to say, while I obviously will and cannot agree with his proposed path, or with his political theory (which seems to me to be a version of social democracy and Keynesian economics), I am impressed.
I have a long way to go yet and will be plowing through this for some time to come.
I have read many reviews and a variety of different analysis's of this book, but one of the best comes from a self described Marxist-Leninist by the name of Zoltan Zigedy. The website Philosophers for Change describes Zigedy this way:
I am an autonomist Marxist and communist, not a Marxist Leninist, but this does not mean I reject any such analysis like this out of hand, or an unable to learn something from it.Zoltan Zigedy is the nom de plume of a US based activist in the Communist movement who left the academic world many years ago with an uncompleted PhD thesis in Philosophy. He writes regularly a tZZ’s blog, and on Marxist-Leninism Today. His writings have been published in Cuba, Greece, Italy, Canada, UK, Argentina, and Ukraine.
One obvious point of disagreement between myself and Zigedy which does relate to this analysis is his view of the Soviet Union. There are many places where we part ways as well, but again his analysis is worth reading and contains much useful information for someone deciding whether or not to bother with the book, and for anyone plowing through it.
I will add here that it is way past time that someone attempt to do what Piketty has done, gather the data, put it together, try to make heads or sense of it, analyze it. Now, the rest of us can look at this and make of it what we will. This is a very useful book, a very useful endeavor. Too many of us have been operating on air, developing nice thoery and analysis, based on...well, not a whole lot really. This doesn't mean that all we have done over the years, since, say, Marx and Engels, is not worthwhile, it is, but now maybe we can do more and base it on some reality...know what I mean?
So, in the end, I advise you to read this review and the book itself with a grain of salt, a critical and open mind, and, maybe, some cookies on the side.
So for Theoretical Monday at Scission and taken from 21 Century Manifesto, I give you READING THOMAS PIKETTY: A CRITICAL ESSAY.