Sunday, October 23, 2016

Thomas Piketty rocks the full Opera House Down Under

We are continually astonished at the life We are now leading, and how utterly implausible and improbable it is ...

This post was created over Summer and One Eyed Rye ale at the oldest pub the Lord Nelson and it was spirited by the Swedish Newsagency based in Sydney who happen to discuss the current state of the world laughable leadership at our revolutionary tables ... The revolution will happen ... it is unknown whether the next revolution will look more like the French as in red or more like the Bohemian as in velvet ...  

Toma in a nutshell, The super-rich could survive on a bit less

Oxfam, letter to The Guardian; Economists wrestle with tricky jobs data)

A World of Struggle: How Power, Law, and Expertise Shape Global PoliticalEconomy

“I feel deeply about poverty, but at least I believe in redistribution! I fight poverty by advocating for redistribution.” IS INCREASING INEQUALITY INEVITABLE? REFLECTIONS ON CAPITAL IN THE 21ST CENTURY THOMAS PIKETTY 23 OCTOBER 2016

Andrew Leigh introduced Toma to 2000 souls ... If Australia continues to become more unequal – as Piketty’s capital theory suggests it might – then it will become increasingly difficult to hang on to these values. A veneer of fairness might persist, but a shallow equality of manners would be a poor substitute for the deeper egalitarianism that has traditionally characterised our nation. How much should we let inequality grow? There is no right answer to this question, but we should not shrink from asking it... 

Thomas Piketty's  presentation was peppered with charts  and French humour aimed at 1% of rich Australians ...

Le Epilogue: Last night’s lateline interview with Thomas Pikettyl

Australia's level of inequality is at a historical high since the post-war period and public policy should be geared towards addressing the widening inequality, says French economist Thomas Piketty.

Addressing a nearly full Concert Hall at Sydney Opera house on Sunday, the author of Capital in the Twenty-First Century said meritocracy was a "fairy tale" perpetuated by the beneficiaries of the capitalist system.
"There is a western illusion about modern inequality as opposed to ancient inequality. Meritocracy is largely a myth invented by the winners of the system," he said, noting forces such as racial discrimination and access to finance and resources such as oil helped to create and sustain inequality.Professor Piketty said Australia had a tradition of being an egalitarian country with a small income gap between the wealthy and the poor compared to other countries. However, inequality has been on the rise and in 2013 Australia hit the highest level of inequality since 1951, he said.

"Relative to this tradition, the country has become more unequal in recent decades"
His observation comes as Australia is battling unaffordable housing in capital cities, bracket creep in the progressive income tax system and the Coalition's push for company tax 
During a question and answer session with shadow assistant minister Andrew Leigh, Professor Piketty said there was a danger rising inequality could lead to rising populism globally because populist leaders can blame foreign countries and immigration for rising levels of inequality.

"In the US by and large the bottom and middle social groups have been neglected and today we're paying to some extent the consequences of this neglect," he said.

Professor Piketty said the British economist Tony Atkinson's idea of giving capital endowment to all would allow people to build wealth at a time it is needed.

Every generation rallies around a singer, an actor, a writer, and – although less evidently – an economist. Thomas Piketty  is all the rage nowadays. Everyone has heard about him and everyone has an opinion on his theories, truly a feat in a profession where recognition is limited to academic circles. Piketty is the economist of this generation, having dethroned Paul Krugman — or perhaps sharing the altar with him, given their political 

How much do you need to save to build a 10 per cent deposit within 10 years, if property prices keep going up at the same rate?  Avocado economics for first-home buyers

I am neither a member of Syriza nor do I support the party. I am merely trying to analyze the situation in which we find ourselves. And it has become clear that countries cannot reduce their deficits unless the economy grows. It simply doesn't work. We mustn't forget that neither Germany nor France, which were both deeply in debt in 1945, ever fully repaid those debts. Yet precisely these two countries 
are now telling the Southern Europeans that they have to repay their debts down 
to the euro. It's historic amnesia! But with dire consequences.

Piking on the Piketty Sydney show

Achieving the SDG target to reduce inequality will require a huge shift in how economies and political systems operate right around the world. Some Latin American countries, such as Brazil, demonstrate that sustained reductions in inequality are achievable, when there’s a fairly explicit shift in the social contract, enabling politically difficult decisions to be taken and sustained over a long period. As Angus Deaton tells us, humanity has made amazing progress in reducing income poverty and raising health standards. The next big task is reducing inequality so that we can all enjoy a better life.
Reducing inequality in every country will be extremely difficult. But a growing tide of protest and its consequences (sometimes socially progressive and sometimes regressive) may persuade the 1% that they will not get the world they want for their grandchildren if business continues as usual How has billionaire Donald Trump become the voice of those left behind?​

Cato has produced an excellent little report which looks at 5 of the great myths about inequality in America in recent decades. By and large the American rich have made their own money, not inherited it for example. Look at the listings of rich people compiled by this very magazine for examples, they are dominated by those who made their own money, not those just spending grandpa’s. It’s also not true that the rich stay rich while the poor languish over the generations. Social mobility perhaps isn’t as high as we’d like it to be but it’s comparable with other nations, even with much more equal places like Sweden. We also have to note that inequality and poverty are simply not the same thing. It’s entirely possible to have a more unequal society which has less poverty in it than a comparator. The US is more unequal than Sweden for example, and yet the average living standard of the bottom 10% in each society is within a percentage point or two of being the same. The US is more unequal than Romania but has very much less real poverty. It’s also not true that inequality distorts the political process–not unless we’re going to start shouting that people offering untrue statistics on the subject do so.

But the one big one that they point to, the one most important to my mind, is the simple fact that inequality is not at an historical peak. Simply nowhere near being so. For:

Most claims that income inequality is at a record high in the United States, including Piketty’s, are based on a measure of “market income,” which does not take into account taxes or transfer payments (or changes in household size or composition). The failure to consider those factors considerably overstates effective levels of inequality.23
One Of The Five Great Myths Of American Inequality - Redistribution Has Risen

According to this week's magazines, France needs not just a new president but a complete change of presidential style. Are any of the current contenders sufficiently austere to take on the mantle of Charles De Gaulle? Economist Thomas Piketty says the presidency of François Hollande has been a disaster for France. And the world's very rich are getting poorer French weekly magazines review 23 October 2016 By Michael Fitzpatrick 

The Tax Code for the Ultra-Rich vs. the One for Everyone Else The Atlantic

Socrates set the bar too high. Sage, ascetic, gadfly: His purity of motivation is impossible for philosophers to sustain in modern capitalist society