Correcting Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century
|July 18, 2014||Posted by Staff under Editorials|
This 2014 excerpt of Squarely Rooted, Jly 14, is by M.
Land may be the key factor behind many of Piketty’s broader conclusions about capital, explaining why the returns to capital decline much more slowly than models with traditional assumptions would predict. E.g., progress hasn’t dampened the return to land on which computing-centric industries are based; quite the contrary (see Silicon Valley). Land (discounting structures) is a large share of national “capital”.
In a society where a handful of people control most of the wealth, even if that wealth is taxed at just-below-confiscatory rates, they still own most of the wealth. That gives them tremendous authority, first-and-foremost over the workplace, but also over politics and the media, and by extension an outsized role in dictating mores, norms, and values.
I deliberately capitalized “Economics” so at to distinguish it from “economics”. Capital-E Economics is a rigid dogma, complete with unchallengeable precepts and inscrutable texts whose minutiae are debated vigorously by devoted inner-circle keepers of the flame, that has stifled public debate about innumerable issues of overwhelming importance since the end of the Cold War.
Ed. Notes: Piketty wants to try tax the wealth the rich have piled up. Much more efficient — and fair — would be to deny them that wealth in the first place. That wealth that they are helping themselves to just happens to be our common wealth already anyway. So what are we waiting for? Let’s share it. As long as we don’t, as long as we leave it on the table for the more grasping among us to grab by hook or crook (or both), then we create the elite and the impoverished and all the problems that go along with an overly hierarchized society. Let’s get rid of corporate welfare and the rest of subsidies. Let’s get rid of taxes on our efforts. Instead, let’s pay in land dues and use that revenue to disburse “rent” dividends to us all. Sort of like Singapore does. That city state is hailed as a capitalist paradise but it’s pretty geonomic, too.