Press Review April 22nd 2014

In an expansive New York Review of Books article, Nobel-winning economist Paul Krugman reviews the English translation of Thomas Piketty’s acclaimed Capital in the Twenty-First Century. According to Krugman, Piketty and a number of his colleagues “have  pioneered statistical techniques that make it possible to track the concentration of income and wealth deep into the past.” Using this approach, which focuses on the comparison between the after-tax rate of return on capital versus the rate of economic growth, Picketty tracks the inequality during the famed Gilded Age of the United States and Belle Epoque of Europe before the First World War, its gradual decline in the inter-war and post-Second World War eras, and subsequent rise again during the 1970s-80s. He shows that much of the wealth of the infamous “one percent” comes not from earned wages but rather return on capital and specifically inherited wealth. The predominance of this type of concentrated wealth, Picketty believes, leads to “a drift toward oligarchy” and what he calls “patrimonial capitalism”. Perhaps Picketty – and Krugman’s – most troubling conclusion is that we may be approaching a new Gilded Age once more.

A New Gilded Age - Income Shares. Courtesy of the New York Review of Books.
A New Gilded Age – Income Shares. Courtesy of the New York Review of Books.

Le Monde reports that Nigel Farage of the Euroskeptic United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) has refused to ally with Marine Le Pen’s Front National because of, he claims, “L’antisémitisme est dans l’ADN du [Front national]” – anti-antisemitism in the FN.

Poll Watch 2014 gives us its latest projected breakdown of the upcoming May 2014 European Parliamentary elections results.

On the 150th anniversary of the birth of Max Weber, Deutsche Welle speaks with Edith Hanke, editor of the complete works of Max Weber, on this pioneering thinkers lasting legacy in a number of social science fields including sociology, political science, and economics. Weber is among Germany’s greatest intellectual export, and Hanke discusses how Weber is received today in cultural contexts far beyond Germany’s borders.

In the Press Review section of the GovFaces blog you will find regular updates on important social, political, and economic issues of the day. Items presented here and in the Analysis & Opinion sections do not necessarily reflect the views of GovFaces.