Home > corruption, The Economics Profession > Piketty’s response to Mankiw et al.: “and some consume academics.”

Piketty’s response to Mankiw et al.: “and some consume academics.”

from David Ruccio

I didn’t attend the most recent American Economic Association/Allied Social Sciences Association meetings in Boston. But, according to Chuck Collins, several sessions focused on the sensation of French economist Thomas Piketty and his 2014 book on inequality, Capital in the Twenty-First Century.

As an outsider to academic economics, I was struck by just how compartmentalized and smug the field appears. At one point, [Gregory] Mankiw even put up a slide, “Is Wealth Inequality a Problem?” Any economist who ventures across the disciplinary ramparts will, of course, find a veritable genre of research on the dangerous impacts of extreme inequality.

We now have over two decades of powerful evidence that details how these inequalities are making us sick, undermining our democracy, slowing traditional measures of economic growth, and turning our political system into a plutocracy.

Mankiw, at another point in his presentation, had still more embarrassing comments to make. Piketty, he intoned, must “hate the rich.” Piketty’s financial success with his best-selling book, Mankiw added, just might lead to self-loathing.

These clearly well-rehearsed quips, aimed at knee-capping the humble French economist, fell flat. Mankiw’s presentation, entitled “R > G, so what?,” came across as little more than an apologia for concentrated wealth.

And Piketty’s response?

Piketty’s one poke back at the nitpickers came in response to their unanimous support for a progressive consumption tax as an alternative to any other progressive income or wealth tax. “We know something about billionaire consumption,” Piketty observed, “but it is hard to measure some of it. Some billionaires are consuming politicians, others consume reporters, and some consume academics.”

  1. January 17, 2015 at 1:37 pm

    Reblogged this on matteo frate.

  2. originalsandwichman
    January 17, 2015 at 5:06 pm

    Some billionaire has consumed and excreted Mankiw.

  3. Marko
    January 18, 2015 at 1:23 am

    Think tanks , NBER , Congress – the shopping malls of the truly elite.

    I wonder how long before it’s all available on Amazon.

  4. yboris
    January 18, 2015 at 3:58 am

    Reblogged this on YBoris.

  5. Hepion
    January 18, 2015 at 5:19 am

    We should call spade a spade.

    Mainstream economists are not scientist. They are members of a Liars Club. They seek to exploit every single logical fallacy human mind is prune to fall to, for political reasons.

  6. charlie
    January 18, 2015 at 4:47 pm

    Economics is a religion … the unseen hand … defended by true believers … justified by the ideology of maintaining and supporting the existing establishment nobility as religions always have. Mankiw is just the high priest from Bostons brahmins.

    Ecological science should be the model for building a science for human social and ‘economic’ inter-relationships.

  7. Paolo Leon
    January 20, 2015 at 8:21 am

    evidently Mankiw has a guilty complex: he is also rich, due to his deplorable textbook; rather, he was rich, because that textbook has become illegible, in the meantime, and envy is a bad counselor.

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