Berfrois

Piketty’s Response

Piketty’s Response

This is a response to the criticisms - which I interpret as requests for additional information – that were published in the Financial Times on May 23 2014. These criticisms only refer to the series reported in chapter 10 of my book Capital in the 21st century, and not...

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Modern finance is human and intellectual waste…

Modern finance is human and intellectual waste…

Mammon and His Slave, Johann Jacob Weber, 1896 From London Review of Books: One of the most adroit things about Flash Boys is the size of its frame: Lewis tells his story and then lets the reader draw her own conclusions about its meaning and consequences. He keeps the...

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A Second Belle Époque

A Second Belle Époque

From The New York Review of Books: Thomas Piketty, professor at the Paris School of Economics, isn’t a household name, although that may change with the English-language publication of his magnificent, sweeping meditation on inequality, Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Yet his influence runs deep. It has become a...

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Is work about doing what you hate?

Is work about doing what you hate?

The focus of conventional employment policy is on creating ‘more work’. People without work and in receipt of benefits are viewed as a drain on the state and in need of assistance or direct coercion to get them into work. There is the belief that work is the best...

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A Call for National Food Sovereignty

A Call for National Food Sovereignty

Farmer in Brittany, Axel Törneman, 1905 From Monthly Review: In human terms, land grabs mean real people and families are dispossessed. When people lose access to their land, they also lose their means to obtain food, their communities, and their cultures. … The commodification of land—that most basic of...

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Freeze!

Freeze!

Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze, Batman & Robin, Warner Bros., 1997 From 3:AM: Conservatives favor the free market as the best solution to economic problems. Conservatives also insist that people have the right to what they have earned. Together the market and the right to keep what one has...

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‘The euro has survived’

‘The euro has survived’

Photograph by Julian Herzog From London Review of Books: All quiet on the euro front? Seen from Berlin, it looks as though the continent is now under control at last, after the macro-financial warfare of the last three years. A new authority, the Troika, is policing the countries that...

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Germany is not poor, but many Germans are…

Germany is not poor, but many Germans are…

Europa regina, Sebastian Munster, 1570 by Paul De Grauwe and Yuemei Ji A recent ECB household-wealth survey was interpreted by the media as evidence that poor Germans shouldn’t have to pay for southern Europe. This column takes a look at the numbers. Whilst it’s true that median German households...

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Why did the capitalist counter-revolution of the late 20th century prove to be so successful?

Why did the capitalist counter-revolution of the late 20th century prove to be so successful?

While there are a number of plausible labels that might be attached to the 20th century, in terms of social history it was clearly the age of the working class. For the first time, working people who lacked property became a major and sustained political force.

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Logan K. Young on The Replacements

I, myself, was barely six months old when Twin/Tone put out The Mats’ Let It Be. The day, they say, was Orwellian: Tuesday, October...

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Tyranny Is a Growth Industry by Vladimir Savich and Zachary Bos

Tyranny is a growth industry. Each day brings exciting new developments. These events imprint themselves upon the world in the form of newspapers, magazines,...

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Tjoa Shze Hui: 1920s

Of the many witticisms that make up The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, one voiced by Picasso really gets under the skin. He says...

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Elias Tezapsidis on Lorentzen, Batuman, Lerner, Smallwood and Stein

Contemporary narrators feel entitled to their own realities now more than ever. The internet has created this fascinating binary, one in which individuals can...

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Henry Giardina on Bob Hope

All mythical creatures need an origin story. The Bob Hope character springs into being, Athena-like, from out of the head of Preston Sturges in...

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Mattilda B. Sycamore: Yearning From Spurning

One problem with gentrification is that it always gets worse. But then I go into a Hooters, and it’s a vintage clothing store. A...

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Alexander McGregor
Alexander McGregor: Trauma

Following World War II, the German philosopher Theodor Adorno wrote, “Nach Auschwitz ein Gedicht zu schreiben, ist barbarisch”: to write poetry after Auschwitz is...

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John Crutchfield: Chords

But music, even bad music, is a symptom of hope, is it not? Naturally one would prefer the music to be good, but any...

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Menachem Feuer on Robin Williams

Regardless of whether you are from Europe, the United States, Asia, or Africa, we can all agree that there is something special about the...

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Reality Principles: Berfrois Interviews Frank Smecker

I don't know if I ever wanted to become a theorist. I struggle with this position. For me, it's a hystericized — and therefore...

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Albert Rolls: Which (Side) Are You On, Man?

James Parker begins his review of Inherent Vice with the quip, “If Thomas Pynchon were a stand-up comedian, and Inherent Vice his newest routine,...

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Keith Doubt
Keith Doubt on Serbia

The intellectual integrity of cultural anthropology is based largely on its commitment to cultural relativism as a principled notion. Cultural relativism is the principle...

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A Gosse in Woolf’s Clothing by Andre Gerard

On May 31, two weeks after his death, and the day before Orlando was sent to the printer, Woolf noted his death as follows:...

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Andrew Gallix: Let’s Go!

Retro-futurism, as we now call it, came out of the closet in the late '70s due to the widespread feeling that there was indeed...

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