By Thomas Piketty
What are the grand dynamics that force the buildup and distribution of capital? questions about the long term evolution of inequality, the focus of wealth, and the clients for financial development lie on the center of political economic system. yet passable solutions were difficult to discover for loss of enough facts and transparent guiding theories. In Capital within the Twenty-First Century, Thomas Piketty analyzes a special selection of information from twenty international locations, ranging way back to the eighteenth century, to discover key monetary and social styles. His findings will remodel debate and set the time table for the following iteration of thought of wealth and inequality.
Piketty indicates that glossy financial development and the diffusion of data have allowed us to prevent inequalities at the apocalyptic scale expected via Karl Marx. yet we haven't changed the deep buildings of capital and inequality up to we notion within the confident a long time following international warfare II. the most driving force of inequality—the tendency of returns on capital to exceed the speed of financial growth—today threatens to generate severe inequalities that stir discontent and undermine democratic values. yet fiscal tendencies aren't acts of God. Political motion has curbed harmful inequalities long ago, Piketty says, and should achieve this again.
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Additional info for Capital in the Twenty-First Century
I take this reference to spirit from Max Weber’s classic essay on the subject. ” This may be in part because he is interested only in the spirit of capitalism, so he defines spirit only concretely, in the form it takes as the capitalist spirit. He does not tell us what the term might mean more generally, what is the universal of which the capitalist form is simply one possibility. What Weber has in mind by the capitalist spirit is, however, clear enough. The capitalist spirit is the spirit of acquisition, the endless drive to make ever more money not so that it might be used to acquire things that can enhance the pleasure of living, but as an end in itself.
Marx speaks about this loss of subjectivity as the fetishism of commodities. In the fetishism of commodities, the relations between men adopt the form of relations between things and the owners of commodities imagine that their property becomes an animate object having the subjective qualities actually residing in its owner. In Marx’s words, “the products of the human mind appear as autonomous figures endowed with a life of their own, which enter into relations both with each other and with the human race” (1977/1867: 165).
Greed is desire without limit in use and consumption. Greedy desire for food is not a desire for a particular satisfaction afforded by a finite amount of a particular thing. For greedy desire, the needs and capacities of the body are not what matter; rather, it is the imagined self as a limitless container that must be filled. Greedy desire for things that are of use is not a desire to use them to do whatever they are intended to do, but rather to have in them a limitless potential to be and to do.