Here is my book review of Capital in the Twenty-First Century [Review of Capital]. I have tried to avoid other reviews, so that I can give a perspective based on my own reading of the book – the only bits I’ve noted before now are these discussions, this twitter post, these “reviews”, and this interview. As a result, I have probably covered a lot of ground that has already been covered, just in a less informed fashion – my apologies!
My review is very long (20 pages). Although it is still written as a blog post there are no hyperlinks or links to other blog posts, I’ve tried to go directly to literature instead. Here is a pdf version of the review [Review of Capital]. So if, instead of reading this online, you’d prefer to make yourself a coffee, grab some dark chocolate, lie down on a bearskin rug in front of a roaring fire, and fall asleep to something, then this review should do the trick.
I will put down a cut down (and more accessible) version at some point well in the future – it already exists but is promised to other people. In this post I will just put the “summary” section, if you want to read the full review you will have to click on the pdf version of the review. My review is not very accessible, and I’m sorry about that. However, I didn’t feel that I could discuss Piketty’s argument as “one thing” when it is very multifaceted – I hope this is clear from the summary at the start. Going through the argument in the way I have, and then discussing assumptions involved individually, helped me to understand what is going on – so I may as well still share it 🙂
Note: In the review there were two things I directly said, but I’m not sure if my language was clear enough – but as I can’t access the file prior to posting I’ll just stay here. 1) In the example, the higher MPL from higher K drives up w and drives down r, that is why I state w/r is higher – my language isn’t quite clear enough in it. 2) when discussing the average as the minimum wage worker, the point is that in reality individuals/households “move between” income deciles a lot, making this an awful benchmark – again my language may not be clear enough.
If you catch logical mistakes in the review, I’d love to hear from you – the reason I wrote this without reading anything else was to ensure that I gave the book an honest appraisal, on the basis of my actual understanding. I’m more than happy to learn where my understanding is wrong. Here is the introduction and summary: