The Contradictions of Capital in the Twenty-First Century
The Piketty Opportunity
Edited by Pat Hudson, Keith Tribe
"This excellent volume effectively exploits and builds on ‘the Piketty opportunity’: the contested new terrain created by Thomas Piketty’s challenge to mainstream economics and economic history. With their deep knowledge of the history of the study of inequality in various regions of the world and in the discipline of economics, the contributors engage critically with Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century to provide a plethora of new insights and important alternative policy proposals. This volume demonstrates why public policy-makers need to pay full attention to historians in grappling with the political trilemma of our age posed by Piketty: democracy, capitalism and inequality." – Simon Szreter, Professor of History and Public Policy, University of Cambridge
"This splendid book validates Thomas Piketty's Capital precisely through its lucid, comprehensive and in places devastating critique of his capital theory and empirical methods, with rich detail on France, Germany, Sweden, the UK and the US, as well as Japan, Africa and India. As companion reading or on its own, Contradictions is a landmark, a model of scholarly engagement at the highest level." – James K. Galbraith, Lloyd M. Bentsen, Jr. Chair in Government/Business Relations, University of Texas at Austin
“Drawing in a critical and reasoned manner on the work of Thomas Piketty, this clear and rigorous book assembles leading specialists in the field to propose a global analysis of inequality. In remarkably illuminating fashion, it evokes the tragedy of inequalities in the dynamic of capitalist systems in the long term and places into stark relief the urgency for well informed action.” – Philippe Minard, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales
This volume of essays builds upon renewed interest in the long-run global development of wealth and inequality stimulated by the publication of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century. It brings together an international team of leading economic historians and economists to provide an overview of global developments in the theory and reality of inequality and its salience in the modern world order.
The contributors take stock of the key concepts involved in contemporary debates capital, wealth and income distribution, economic development, private and collective assets, financialization, global liberalisation and evaluate the evidence for both common and contrasting historical trends in national statistical data sources. To the developed economies upon which Piketty drew are added contributions covering Latin America, Africa, India and Japan, providing a global perspective upon a global phenomenon.
The book seeks to provide readers with a deeper awareness and understanding of the significance of inequality in economic development, the varying pace and nature of economic change around the world, and the manner in which this process of change affects the distribution of incomes and wealth in diverse economies. The collection marks an important step in the process of developing Piketty’s analytical framework and empirical material, overcoming some of their limitations and helping to cement a lasting place for inequality in the future agenda of economics and economic history.
Pat Hudson and Keith Tribe
Part I: Concepts and Models
2. Capital and Wealth
G. C. Harcourt, University of New South Wales and Keith Tribe
4. Models, Money and Housing
Avner Offer, University of Oxford
Part II: Piketty in Western National Contexts
5. French Idiosyncracies
Gauthier Lanot, Umeå University
6. Fact or Fiction? Complexities of Economic Inequality in Twentieth-Century Germany
Jan-Otmar Hesse, University of Bayreuth
7. Collective Wealth Formation: Conflict and Compromise in Sweden, 1950-2000
Ylva Hasselberg and Henry Ohlsson, Uppsala University
8. A Confusion of Capital in the United States
Mary A. O'Sullivan, University of Geneva
9. Distributional Politics: The Search for Equality in Britain since the First World War
Jim Tomlinson, University of Glasgow
Part III: Piketty: Global Commentaries
10. Looking at Piketty from the Periphery
Luis Bértola, Universidad de la República, Uruguay
11. The Differences of Inequality in Africa
Patrick Manning and Matt Drwenski, University of Pittsburgh
12. Income Distribution in Pre-War Japan
Tetsuji Okazaki, University of Tokyo
13. Piketty and India
Prasannan Parthasarathi, Boston College
Part IV: Prospect
14. Goals and Measures of Development: The Piketty Opportunity
15. Wealth and Income Distribution: New Theories for a New Era
Ravi Kanbur,Cornell University and Joseph E. Stiglitz, Columbia University
Keith Tribe taught economics at Keele University in the 1980s and 1990s before taking early retirement in 2002. Since then he has continued to write, translate and teach. He is currently teaching the history of economics at the University of Birmingham. His books include Governing Economy (1988), Strategies of Economic Order (1995/2007) and The Economy of the Word (2015).
Pat Hudson is Emeritus Professor of Economic History at Cardiff University. Her books include The Industrial Revolution (1992) and History by Numbers: An Introduction to Quantitative Approaches (second edition 2016). Recently, she coedited (with Francesco Boldizzoni) The Routledge Handbook of Global Economic History (2016).