Sunday, August 10, 2014

Not another NYT opinion piece on "inequality"?

Yes. And no. It starts by talking about Thomas Pikety's book "Capital in the Twenty-First Century", which everyone is talking about and buying, but also not actually reading, apparently:

An Idiot’s Guide to Inequality
We may now have a new “most unread best seller of all time.”

Data from Amazon Kindles suggests that that honor may go to Thomas Piketty’s “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” which reached No. 1 on the best-seller list this year. Jordan Ellenberg, a professor of mathematics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, wrote in The Wall Street Journal that Piketty’s book seems to eclipse its rivals in losing readers: All five of the passages that readers on Kindle have highlighted most are in the first 26 pages of a tome that runs 685 pages.

The rush to purchase Piketty’s book suggested that Americans must have wanted to understand inequality. The apparent rush to put it down suggests that, well, we’re human.

So let me satisfy this demand with my own “Idiot’s Guide to Inequality.” Here are five points: [...]
I can't repeat the five points, without reproducing the whole article here, so you'll have to follow the link.

I don't normally post about these kinds of articles, because they are often filled with "class warfare" rhetoric and drivel. And this NYT opinion piece has it's share of that as well. It's ironic that the author chooses to call it the "idiots guide", when I think some of the things he says are pretty idiotic (especially the option about rich people and expensive cars. Isn't it possible that rich people by expensive cars, because they like them and can afford them? Duh!).

But the article does have some moderate views, and does have a lot of embedded links to back up it's arguments. So while I may not agree with the article as a whole, it doesn't mean that it doesn't touch on some interesting facts or ideas. I'm not against rich people. But if indeed only the rich are getting richer, it's worth looking at why, and understanding why and how. I don't believe in communist revolutions redistributing the wealth. But a rising tide that lifts all boats IS preferable to one that only lifts yachts. Most reasonable people would have no argument with that.


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