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Quick Review: Capital in the Twenty-First Century

On a recommendation, this likely marks the start of a year or so of non-fiction, translated too, and it was far easier to read and less infuriating than I thought. Current Leftist views of economics are necessary, the first part explains well and the facts and figures and explanations, as well as some of the points made, remain positive aspects throughout. The attacks on economists, by an economist, were also rather refreshing, as was the statement that the current supposedly meritocratic justifications of inequality are worse than the past ones. And saying that refusing to deal with numbers, and I’ll add also politics, rarely goes in favor of the poor is a good ending.
However, some parts are too technical, many of each chapter’s, if not each part’s, points could have been made in a handful of pages, much space which could have been better filled with some of the things strangely left in an on-line “annex” seeming wasted, and part four seems rather a train of thought, even a mind dump, just pushing one idea and going this way and that around it. But the main problem is that, while pointing out the inherent flaws of capitalism, it clearly states, and proves throughout, that it doesn’t actually attack it, nor inequality in itself for that matter, instead aiming to just tweak systems that are inherently flawed and need replacing. It also focuses almost exclusively on the rich, barely mentioning the rest and the means of improving their situation. There are also indefensible stances, like repeatedly emphasizing the benefits of population growth, enough on its own for me to consider the author an opponent; continual, albeit weak, growth in general being seen as, well, possible; or repeatedly stating the positive effects of inflation, with too little attention paid to the devastating effects it can have on the savings and plans of regular people. Then again, what’s clearly indefensible is that it starts by basically praising subjectivity even when it comes to such fundamental matters that define a society… And including conclusions in the introduction is not a good practice either.

Rating: 3/5


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