Thomas Piketty Gives Merkel a History Lesson

The economist Thomas Piketty, who gained fame last year as the author of Capital in the Twenty-First Century, reminds Merkel, “It was in the 1950s, he notes, that Germany benefited from a massive — and, in those days, surprisingly common — round of debt forgiveness that catapulted its rise into a peaceful economic power. Greece was one of the nations forgiving Germany’s debts. In other words, Piketty suggested, when it comes to how to handle Greece in 2015, the best argument against Germany might be … Germany, circa 1953.” Piketty is right, of course, but I doubt Angela Merkel will change her stance. She seems determined to punish Greece even if it makes things worse not just for Greeks, but for all of Europe.

Read Piketty’s history lesson here:  Thomas Piketty accuses Germany of forgetting history as it lectures Greece – The Washington Post.

“FILE – In this Feb. 27, 1953 file photo, the German Debts Agreement is signed in London. Though Germany is resisting Greece’s pleas for some relief, it should know better than most what it can achieve. After the hell of World War II, the Federal Republic of Germany – more commonly known as West Germany – got massive help from its former foes, among them Greece. The agreement, in which Greece and about 20 other countries effectively wrote off a large chunk of Germany’s loans and restructured the rest, is a landmark case that shows how effective debt relief can be. It helped spark what became known as the German economic miracle. (AP Photo, file)”

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Is Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century just a rehash of Marx’s Das Kapital?

When Thomas Piketty’s book Capital hit U.S. markets this year the response was both surprising and predictable. Surprising because a 700 page tome on economics became a bestseller! On the other hand the responses were predictable. The book received adulation from the Left and disgust from the Right. The polarizing effect of this book is immediately evident if one glances at the ratings of the book on Amazon.com. Out of 718 reviews 406 are 5 star reviews and 175 are 1 star reviews (viewed on June 26, 2014). Interestingly, the mean-spirted nature of the reviews was just as newsworthy as the book itself.

So I decided to take a look for myself. Like many comments on the internet, they were “nasty, brutish, and short,” to borrow Hobbes’ famous phrase. I only managed to make it about half way through the reviews, wishing that I had stopped sooner. The repetitive and spiteful nature of the reviews were making me nauseous. Here is just a sampling of some of the titles:

“Das Kapital Re-do”

“It’s Still Socialism/Communism/Facism[sic]”

“Don’t let this Marxist fool you.”

“Serious marx bull &&&&.”

“This book is nothing but re-hashed socialist BS”

“Das Kapital , by Karl Marx – has already been written , this is the same ideology !”

“Marxist propaganda”

“Piketty’s book would be better titled “The Communist Manifesto Lite”’

“Communist Propaganda at it finest”

“MARX Reincarnated”

“Karl Marx would love this book”

“Save your time and read Karl Marx’s Das Kapital instead”

“Communist Manifesto of the 20th century”

“Say Hello to the new Karl Marx”

“Karl Marx redux”

The content of these reviews didn’t add much to these titles (other than to flaunt the failures of socialism and demonize Piketty and liberals). The basic theme of these reviews was that Piketty’s book deserves a 1 star because it is pure Marxism.[1]

tea-party-rally socialism

Tea Party Rally

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Is Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century just a rehash of Marx’s Das Kapital?

When Thomas Piketty’s book Capital hit U.S. markets this year the response was both surprising and predictable. Surprising because a 700 page tome on economics became a bestseller! On the other hand the responses were predictable. The book received adulation from the Left and disgust from the Right. The polarizing effect of this book is immediately evident if one glances at the ratings of the book on Amazon.com. Out of 718 reviews 406 are 5 star reviews and 175 are 1 star reviews (viewed on June 26, 2014). Interestingly, the mean-spirted nature of the reviews was just as newsworthy as the book itself.

So I decided to take a look for myself. Like many comments on the internet, they were “nasty, brutish, and short,” to borrow Hobbes’ famous phrase. I only managed to make it about half way through the reviews, wishing that I had stopped sooner. The repetitive and spiteful nature of the reviews were making me nauseous. Here is just a sampling of some of the titles:

“Das Kapital Re-do”

“It’s Still Socialism/Communism/Facism[sic]”

“Don’t let this Marxist fool you.”

“Serious marx bull &&&&.”

“This book is nothing but re-hashed socialist BS”

“Das Kapital , by Karl Marx – has already been written , this is the same ideology !”

“Marxist propaganda”

“Piketty’s book would be better titled “The Communist Manifesto Lite”’

“Communist Propaganda at it finest”

“MARX Reincarnated”

“Karl Marx would love this book”

“Save your time and read Karl Marx’s Das Kapital instead”

“Communist Manifesto of the 20th century”

“Say Hello to the new Karl Marx”

“Karl Marx redux”

The content of these reviews didn’t add much to these titles (other than to flaunt the failures of socialism and demonize Piketty and liberals). The basic theme of these reviews was that Piketty’s book deserves a 1 star because it is pure Marxism.[1]

tea-party-rally socialism

Tea Party Rally

Continue reading