Berfrois

Rent Transformation

Rent Transformation

Club for the retired sons of indulgent fathers, Rea Irvin, 1914 by Guy Standing The 20th century income distribution system has broken down irreparably. Recall the post-1945 consensus under which the shares of income going to capital and to labour were roughly stable, when workers and corporations shared the gains from productivity growth, and when…

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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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A Recipe for Oppression

A Recipe for Oppression

The Simpsons, Fox Broadcasting Company by Richard Murphy I said I would make no predictions for 2013. A few hours in and the weight of evidence makes me change my mind. In 2013 we will see political prevarication in defence of the status quo come to the fore, and government become gridlocked...

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