J. Bradford DeLong has a witty take on the criticism thrown at Thomas Piketty’s controversial new book, Capitalism in the 21st Century, over on Project syndicate.com
To be sure, everyone disagrees with 10-20% of Piketty’s argument, and everyone is unsure about perhaps another 10-20%. But, in both cases, everyone has a different 10-20%. In other words, there is majority agreement that each piece of the book is roughly correct, which means that there is near-consensus that the overall argument of the book is, broadly, right.
Unless Piketty’s right-wing critics step up their game and actually make some valid points, that will be the default judgment on his book. No amount of Red-baiting or French-bashing will change that.
I’ll reserve judgement on Piketty until I finish my own copy (which I just got as it was sold out on Amazon for weeks), but so far I’m impressed with both his approach and Piketty’s gift for explaining complex ideas in simple ways. Stay tuned for a review when I’m finished.