A Humanist Economics

”  I have long supported  Louis and Patricia Kelso’s  ground-breaking work ,
now newly relevant as automation and the digitizing of ever more sectors of
our economy proceed more rapidly.   We thank the Kelso  Institute for
sending us this fine article from THE HUMANIST,  Hazel Henderson, Editor”

 

 

A Humanist Economics

Louis Kelso and the Hope of

Broadened Ownership

by Luis Granados • 17 February 2015

http://thehumanist.com/magazine/march-april-2015/features/a-humanist-economics

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THOMAS PIKETTY grabbed the world’s attention last year with his magnum

opus, Capital in the Twenty-first Century. In hundreds of pages of dense prose

and statistics, Piketty delivers a mountain of proof for what most of us already

feel instinctively: that the rich are really rich, and getting steadily richer.

Incidentally, outrage over growing wealth inequality is what fueled the “Occupy”

movement that dominated headlines in recent years. We now find ourselves on a

course that, barring some major upheaval, will reproduce and then exceed the

record levels of ownership concentration experienced by europe prior to the

outbreak of World War I. Piketty demonstrates at great length how that

cataclysm, followed by thirty more years of chaos, annihilated the old fortunes

and produced the relatively level growth surge of the 1950s and ’60s. But the

inexorable tendency of capital to grow by itself, like mold in the refrigerator,

began marching us back toward wealth concentration. With a swift kick from

government in the Reagan-Thatcher years, the trend accelerated.

Piketty’s achievement is especially impressive because governments do not

produce handy, accurate statistics on wealth concentration. They did so even less

in the earlier parts of the three hundred years he studied. The research he’s done

to produce plausible results is astounding. Which is all the more reason for a

reader to be disappointed by everything that follows his “therefore… .” After all

that brilliance, Piketty’s solution is simplistic: let’s tax the hell out of them,

without any clear plan for what the government will do with all the money it

confiscates. And the tax, he sagely notes, must be global in character, or

notoriously fluid capital will simply escape to a lower-tax territory.

 

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