Scholars pick at holes in Thomas Piketty in new tome
After Piketty is a sympathetic appraisal of what the French economist got right and what he got wrong
Around the world, more than 2-million people bought a copy of Capital in the Twenty-First Century by French economist Thomas Piketty. The long academic treatise was the biggest publishing surprise of the year when it came out in English in 2014. It’s not clear how many people actually made it to the end, or even past the first few pages, but buying a copy was a sure sign that you cared about inequality (bad) and serious scholarship (good). Now comes After Piketty, a book that, at 678 pages, is almost as long and almost as weighty. Released on May 8 in the US, it’s a sympathetic appraisal of what Piketty got right and what he got wrong. I have read the introduction, the retrospective by translator Arthur Goldhammer and bits and pieces of some of the essays following that. It’s clear from a cursory look that the scholars who contributed to After Piketty regard Capital as a landmark in economic analysis, even when they disagree with it. Among the contributors are Nobel laureate economi...