Video: Piketty, Krugman, Stiglitz, and Durlauf on ‘Capital in the Twenty-First Century’







“The French economist Thomas Piketty discussed his new book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century at the Graduate Center. In this landmark work, Piketty argues that the main driver of inequality—the tendency of returns on capital to exceed the rate of economic growth—threatens to generate extreme inequalities that stir discontent and undermine democratic values. He calls for political action and policy intervention. Joseph Stiglitz, Paul Krugman, and Steven Durlauf participated in a panel moderated by Branko Milanovic.”

This piece is cross-posted from Economist’s View with permission.

2 Responses to "Video: Piketty, Krugman, Stiglitz, and Durlauf on ‘Capital in the Twenty-First Century’"

  1. wastewater1   April 29, 2014 at 9:34 am

    Inequality in society will always exist…despite the obviously good intentions of such a community of recognized scholars, such discussions will have no effect whatsoever on global society for the human heart is naturally selfish, inherently vain, hearts and minds who crave power and preeminence, hearts deceptive and wicked in every way….

    The sly, the insidious and silppery will always grip humanity and while your introductions of such scholarly accolades are a shared "feeling good among you" – some may refer to Christopher Tingus as a cynic despite his decades in global project development and as "facilitator" in identifying investor funding from the more accomplished, those knowledgeable and accomplished, motivated and yes, often wealthy –

    As a 2nd generation Hellenic American born in Boston and with far reach into the energy and technology space, the spirit of innovation is certainly among us, however while you talk about the distribution of return, best you reference Jeremiah 17:9 gentlemen for governments like this present US executive WH and countries and governments spanning the continents lie, cheat and deceive and given humanity's inattentiveness to the lessons of history, War looms ahead! It is comfortable among you as colleagues to talk nicely and be impressed with one another….however it is Saturn's nature as it has been for generations and generations which will always prevail and it is not your knowledge of economics or your intentional dismissal of what it takes in risk and entrepreneurial zeal which you have little knowledge which brings accomplishment and monies and unfortunately, no one deserves any of the income another earns –

    The only cure to a better environment for all would be in seeing the Spirit of God, the devine power mankind has been bestowed upon and all the infirmities of mankind would be healed, however the sly and insidious will always prevail and so that I am not misconstrued in any way, not all those who have accumulated great wealth are the desperately wicked you seem to suggest….

    As stewards of Mother Earth, we have much to do when some one billion fellow humans have little or no access to a clean glass of water, yet your ideas of income distribution, well, impress yourselves together in your incestuous applause of one another, however you have not a clue as to the anguish mankind will again contend with for much like we saw Hillary Clinton and Barry Obama standing shoulder to shoulder at the "Benghazi Massacre" in blatant lie and self-serving way, deceit and lust for power will always prevail –

    Inequality and injustice towards every culture and the hardships so many have had to endure even in the gas chambers – let us look at the history of mankind and fully understand that inequality and income distribution is only important in discussion among you only because the hopelessness and the divisiveness promoted by this "Chicago-Washington-Hollywood" charade depicts just such deceitfulness….out right lies prompting outbursts in calling for arrest and Barry Obama and Hillary Clinton being held in suspicion for breach of faith – treason!

    God Bless humanity for 1890, 1914, 1939 and today, so, so many enslaved by an ever imposing government which will lead shortly to War!


    Christopher Tingus

  2. wastewater1   April 29, 2014 at 9:35 am

    Kindly note:

    "…everyone would surely agree that if a man borrows weapons from a sane friend, and if he goes mad and asks for them back, the friend should not return them, and would not be just if he did." (Republic – 5). In this text, among others, Plato, through Socrates, touches on the subjects of equality and justice. Plato suggests in this instance, that, although a man borrowing something from another man, would not give it back, it is okay because the borrower can determine whether or not the loaner is sane. In this aspect, sensing an inequality is presumably simple. Plato never focuses on what exactly gives the borrower the right to even judge the loaner, let alone his level of sanity. With this in mind, it is hard not to follow in line with the works of Howard Zinn and Jacques Rancière, who, upon evaluating Plato's works, came to the conclusion that the Platonic philosophy justifies inequality.
    "You must either persuade or obey its orders, and endure in silence whatever it instructs you to endure, whether blows or bonds, and if it leads you into war to be wounded or killed, you must obey" (Plato – 51). In this excerpt, Socrates is explaining to Crito why he cannot escape from his cell. Socrates explains that, one must never forcefully question authority. One may only attempt to persuade them to change their minds, but if they should fail, they are morally obligated to live out their punishment. Zinn finds this particular reasoning to be flawed, and one of the examples of Plato's justified inequalities, "Why not insist that the state persuade us to do its bidding? There is no equality in Plato's scheme: the citizen may use persuasion, but no more; the state may use force" (Zinn – 117). Zinn then elaborates more in this topic, and says, "It is curious that Socrates was willing to disobey the authorities by preaching as he chose, by telling the young what he saw as the truth, even if that meant going against the laws of Athens. Yet, when he was sentenced to death…he meekly accepted the verdict, saying he owed Athens obedience to its laws" (Zinn – 117). In this instance, Zinn is criticizing Socrates' change in manner. Before, Plato and Socrates were all about spreading the truth, regardless of the consequences, but now, Plato is scheming inequality between a government and its people. Zinn further explains this in the next paragraph, saying, "And so it is that the admirable obligation human beings feel to one's neighbors, one's loved ones, even to a stranger…becomes confused with blind obedience to that deadly artifact called government"(Zinn – 117). In this instance, the inequality Plato is justifying is the government's totalitarian rule over its citizens. Plato is suggesting, like Zinn said, that we can initially be disobedient, but when it comes time to pay the punishment for our miss-deeds, we are morally obligated to pay the punishment, regardless of how just or unjust the law is, just because it is our Government issuing the punishment. Zinn asks, "Why is it all right to disobey the law in the first instance, but then, when you are sentenced to prison, start obeying it?" (Zinn – 119). The real question is, where is the equality among Government and its citizens? According to Zinn, there is none. To further implant his ideas, Zinn cites Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous "Letter from Birmingham City Jail", in which he said, "I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and willing accepts the penalty by staying in jail to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustices, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law" (Zinn – 119). Zinn then elaborates with, "To be 'one who willingly accepts' punishment is not the same as thinking it right to be punished for an act of conscience" (Zinn – 119). This solidifies his theory (with King's help), that Plato systematically justifies the inequality among the Government and its people.

    "Plato recounts stories which prescribe the way in which those who belong to a condition must live it. That is, he inscribes 'poetic' productions within a framework such that they are lessons, where the poet is a teacher of the people, good or bad. This is to say that for Plato, there is no 'aesthetics'(Rancière). Rancière recites Plato's philosophy surrounding more inequality. In this instance, the inequality is the resounding control the poetic productions and lessons teach the people, whether these lessons are good or bad. Rancière continues later on, saying, "Thus sociology enters into a polemical complicity with the Platonic ethical project. What it refuses, and what the philosopher declares, is that inequality is an artifice, a story which is imposed" (Rancière). This directly states that inequality is an artifice, a "story which is imposed". This relates back to Plato's recounted stories where poetic productions were heralded as the teachers of the people – stories which are imposed.

    Christopher Tingus