Crooked Timber Book Seminar on Thomas Piketty, Capital in the Twenty-First Century
If solutions to the problem of inequality are to be as radical as reality now demands, what is instead required is a reimagining of what would be involved comprehensively to tame capitalism through democratic means. This will involve much further development of the kind of plurality of institutional and policy proposals sketched by Meade, and will involve both the private and public – individual and collective – forms of capital predistribution that Meade advocated. Piketty, like Meade, sees the need for both redistribution and predistribution, and both see that the institutional means necessary to create a more equal society will involve pursuing a plurality of parallel paths. It is closely in keeping with the spirit of Piketty’s Capital that the political and intellectual agenda ahead will be one that economics on its own cannot hope to encompass. It’s a vital agenda, with high stakes, and presents challenges to both academic researchers and political activists. On the success of this endeavour depends nothing less than the prospects for legitimate continuation of our economic system.