I have begun reading Thomas Piketty’s new tome (1093 pages) on Capital and Ideology, hoping that it would indicate a revision in his thinking. That does not seem likely, nor is it likely I will read the whole thing.
On page 12, Piketty announces:
If I can communicate to you, the reader, a little of my educated amazement at the successes of the past and persuade you that knowledge of history and economics is too important to leave to historians and economists, then I will have achieved my goal.
Is that called belaboring the obvious? Am I supposed to be impressed that an academic has become aware of common sense?
Earlier in the introduction, Piketty assumes that inequality is a social goal or even a desideratum that prompts ideological justification and warns against considering it “natural,” when, in fact, since every human being is unique, inequality is a given.
Perhaps he meant the unequal distribution of natural resources and man-made assets, but he did not say that. Indeed, as in his earlier tome, Piketty does not define his terms.
In any event, Piketty is concerned with a consequence or effect, not the behavior or process that produces it. Which leads me to the question why academics seem incapable of looking at anything but effects. Perhaps process is not accessible to the academic accumulative mind. Perhaps we should assign the economy to the engineers—household engineers.
P.S. When I sent my Notes from the Household to an editor (ages ago), the reply I got was that the work was missing references to other writers with a similar take on the issues. In other words, there is no place for novel perspectives. I suppose the use of “novel” for fiction might be a clue.
Actually, I entitled it “Wellspring of the Economy” and it can be found here