Saturday, May 03, 2014

Thomas Piketty and Michael Hudson on neo-feudalism

In the UK the soaring support for UKIP might be partly explained by voter frustration that no-one is doing anything about the 1% who seem to own and run the world. I'm not sure if this is what UKIP is into (after all Nigel Farage is an ex-city man), but Hey! a protest vote is a way of bloodying noses without causing serious permanent damage. Even government ministers wring their hands and seem unable to stop bankers' bonuses on their stellar flight. Then along comes economist Thomas Piketty who has written a book: Capitalism in The Twenty-First Century. This book would injure you if it were to be flung at you (685 pages), but will it do anything serious if dropped into the capitalist wealth machine? 

According to Philip Aldrick (The Times 3 May 2014) Piketty's solution to the inherent unfairness of capitalism is 'a global tax on wealth'. I don't know if this does justice to all 685 pages, which most reviewers see as a tour de force. On Amazon 317 reviews have been posted after merely 3 weeks and the majority of rankings are 5 star. Words in the first review by Aguadito include ' invaluable.. meticulous...important data...groundbreaking'. So Aguadito liked it a lot.

But a 'Global Wealth Tax? Why does a serious economist come to such an impractical conclusion (if that is the major one)? Why not something more possible such as  Prof Michael Hudson has been advocating for grappling with wealth imbalances. Hudson arrives at the same neo-feudalism conclusion as Piketty but he campaigns for money reform and land value tax on a national basis.  The snag is these would work and the establishment who run things on behalf of the 1% who provide their bread and butter, wouldn't like them as they might really change things. 
posted by Charles Bazlinton. Author of The Free Lunch - Fairness with Freedom

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