Thomas Piketty has now published his detailed reply (dated 28th May) to two withering attacks by Chris Giles, the Financial Times’ economics editor, on his data and use of data, in particular in relation to the proportion (over time) of wealth-ownership of the top 1% and 10%. On most points, Piketty has answered the points in a reasonable (and to me generally persuasive) way.
It is an old truism that politics and economics are inseparable, but these days we tend to accept the connection submissively, giving little serious thought to how the link could be used to improve our economic plight. This is a grave mistake, for we democratically elect our governments, and the thoroughly bad politics that underpins our economy is ultimately our responsibility.
Like Catholics organising a conference on Protestantism and excluding Protestants, the Cambridge organisers of a conference to ‘celebrate the 75th anniversary of the publication of Keynes’s General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money’, have excluded Keynes scholars. By contrast, most of those who will address the conference subscribe to the ‘classical’ theory that Keynes thought he had defeated.
I was on Newsnight this week, to comment on the Budget. (You can watch it with the BBC’s iPlayer..our slot is about 35 minutes into the show.) Newsnight’s Jeremy Paxman posed a question to the panel, which included Lord Lamont, ex-Chancellor, and Irwin Steltzer. He asked: is George Osborne a radical Chancellor?” Radical, according to the dictionary definition means: “desiring or advocating fundamental or drastic reforms”.
Blame for unemployment lies much more with finance than with industry. Mass unemployment is never the fault of the workers; often it is not the fault of the employers. All widespread trade depressions in modern times have financial causes; successive inflation and deflation, obstinate adherence to the gold standard, reckless speculation, and overinvestment in particular industries.
We are launching our network of economists - PRIME - today, the 75th anniversary of the publication of John Maynard Keynes’s General Theory. To remind mainstream economists of how central monetary policy and in particular Keynes’s theory of the rate of interest is to the General Theory, we have written the article below for Bloomberg.