[Marxism] The problem with Thomas Piketty: “Capital” destroys right-wing lies, but there’s one solution it forgets - Salon.com

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon May 19 07:34:13 MDT 2014

Piketty’s command of American political history is, quite simply, 
abysmal. He announces that the U.S. “never became a colonial power,” 
which would be news to the people of the Philippines, not to mention the 
Sioux. He describes Herbert Hoover as a “liquidationist” though that was 
Hoover’s own term for the policies that Hoover rejected. About the 
presidency of Franklin Roosevelt—ordinarily an important period for 
students of inequality—Piketty seems to know almost nothing, except that 
FDR used wage and price controls during World War II. At one point, he 
comes close to denying the existence of Rooseveltian liberalism 
altogether, writing that for we benighted Americans “the twentieth 
century is not synonymous with a great leap forward in social justice.” 
As for the great right turn of the Eighties, he asserts repeatedly and 
with virtually no documentary evidence that it happened because America 
was falling behind Germany and Japan in economic growth—in other words, 
that the galaxy of nutty anxieties that fuel modern right-wing politics 
can be easily deduced from a few lines on a graph.


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