[Marxism] Thomas Piketty and His Critics - NYTimes.com

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed May 14 11:35:48 MDT 2014

It may be that Piketty is right that traditional liberal policies are 
largely ineffective. There are, however, grounds to challenge this 
pessimism. Support for this challenge can be found not only on the left, 
but also on the center-right.

Kenneth Rogoff, a Harvard economist, contends in a review of Piketty’s 
book that “the idea of a global wealth tax is replete with credibility 
and enforcement problems, aside from being politically implausible.”

Rogoff views evidence of growing inequality presented by Piketty and 
others as “persuasive” and he proposes a number of alternative, 
smaller-scale remedies to control disproportionate wealth accumulation. 
He suggests a shift to a “relatively flat consumption tax, with a large 
deductible for progressivity.” Consumption taxes apply to spending, as 
opposed to income taxes that are levied on wages, benefits, profits from 
sales, dividends and other gains. Why, Rogoff asks, should we “try to 
move to an improbable global wealth tax when alternatives are available 
that are growth friendly, raise significant revenue, and can be made 
progressive through a very high exemption”?



Researchers Finally Replicated Reinhart-Rogoff, and There Are Serious 

Apr 16, 2013

Mike Konczal

In 2010, economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff released a paper, 
"Growth in a Time of Debt." Their "main result is that...median growth 
rates for countries with public debt over 90 percent of GDP are roughly 
one percent lower than otherwise; average (mean) growth rates are 
several percent lower." Countries with debt-to-GDP ratios above 90 
percent have a slightly negative average growth rate, in fact.

This has been one of the most cited stats in the public debate during 
the Great Recession. Paul Ryan's Path to Prosperity budget states their 
study "found conclusive empirical evidence that [debt] exceeding 90 
percent of the economy has a significant negative effect on economic 
growth." The Washington Post editorial board takes it as an economic 
consensus view, stating that "debt-to-GDP could keep rising — and stick 
dangerously near the 90 percent mark that economists regard as a threat 
to sustainable economic growth."


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