piketty

The World Wealth and Income Database: data and visualizations from 110 researchers in 70 countries

Thomas "Capital in the 21st Century" Piketty endorses the World Wealth and Income Database, where you will find "open and convenient access to the most extensive available database on the historical evolution of the global distribution of income and wealth, both within countries and between countries" in English, with upcoming translations in Chinese, Spanish, Arabic and French. Read the rest

The Triumph of the 1%

Colin Gordon at Dissent summarizes new national income statistics for America's wealthiest, something that seems likely to worsen under Trump. Since Reagan, the US has been been edging toward income share levels not seen since before World War II. Read the rest

Politics got weird because neoliberalism failed to deliver

Ian Welsh says that the USSR collapsed because its promises -- "a cornucopia and a withering away of the state" -- conspicuously failed to materialize; now, neoliberalism's promises ("If the rich have more money, they will create more jobs; Lower taxes will lead to more prosperity; Increases in housing and stock market prices will increase prosperity for everyone; Trade deals and globalization will make everyone better off") are likewise being shown to be lies, and so we're in crisis. Read the rest

Portland proposes a special tax on companies where CEOs make 100X more than median employee

Environmental lawyer-turned-Portland City Commissioner Steve Novick has a cool use for the new SEC rules requiring companies to disclose executive pay starting in 2017: he's going to impose special taxes on businesses where the ratio of CEO pay to median worker pay exceeds 100:1 -- an increase of 10% for 100:1 companies, and 25% for 250:1 companies. Read the rest

Giving companies more money (loans, tax-breaks) only increases investor payouts, not expansion

Before the deregulation bonanza of the 1980s, corporations were expected to use debt and the public markets as the capital of last resort: they would pay "normal" dividends, then use the left over money to increase pay and fund expansion; but after the birth of "shareholder management," companies have acted like homeowners before the financial crisis: borrowing heavily to pay investors, at the expense of expansion and wages -- but unlike homeowners, corporate management gets to duck the bill when it comes due. Read the rest

Leonard Cohen wrote the perfect anthem for our times

I first heard it in Pump Up the Volume, a severely underrated movie about kids and rebellion that was always in my mind while I wrote Little Brother. Read the rest

Talking about Allan Sherman on the Comedy on Vinyl podcast

Jason Klamm stopped my office to interview me for his Comedy on Vinyl podcast, where I talked about the first comedy album I ever loved: Allan Sherman's My Son, the Nut. Read the rest

California's 40-year-old ban on property tax raises has made the rich a lot richer

In 1978, California ballot initiative Proposition 13 capped property taxes at 1% of assessed value and increases at 2% per year, creating a massive hole in the ability of cities to fund their operations, which has only been partially plugged by hiking sales taxes and utility rates, regressive moves that disproportionately shift the burden of civic services to low-income households. Read the rest

Bill Gates' net worth hits $90B, proving Thomas Piketty's point

When Thomas Piketty published his 2013 book Capital in the 21st Century, he said that capitalism's primary beneficiaries aren't those who make amazing things that improve the world (as its proponents claim) -- rather, it favors those who have a lot of money to begin with. Read the rest

A new Bloom County collection of Trump-inspired reboot strips

In the year since Berke Breathed came out of retirement to cover the 2016 election cycles with Opus, Bill, Milo and the gang, he's amassed enough material to fill a new 144-page collection: Bloom County Episode XI: A New Hope, which comes out in September. Read the rest

300 prominent economists call on world governments to end tax haven secrecy

Oxfam has published an open letter signed by hundreds of respected economists, including Thomas Piketty, which describes tax havens as "serving no useful economic purpose." Read the rest

Norway's titanic sovereign wealth fund takes a stand against executive pay

When Norway -- historically one of the poorest countries in Europe -- struck oil in the North Sea, the country put the proceeds into a "sovereign wealth" fund that invested it in other industries and used the returns to pay for an extensive welfare state that has given Norwegians one of the highest standards of living in the world. Read the rest

Forget the one percent, it's the 0.1% who run the show

The wealthiest one out of 1,000 US families -- the 0.1 percent -- comprise about 115,000 households whose net worth starts at $20M, and goes up and up from there, accounting for at least as much wealth as the poorest 90 percent of US households. Read the rest

Seminar on Jo Walton's Philosopher Kings novels

Jo Walton (previously) is one of science fiction's great talents, a writer who blends beautiful insight about human beings and their frailties and failings without ever losing sight of their nobility and aspirations. Read the rest

Thomas Piketty on Thomas Piketty

Crooked Timber's fascinating seminar on Thomas Piketty ran all through December, presenting arguments from economists, social scientists and political theorists from around the world on Piketty's seminal Capital in the 21st Century. Read the rest

Tax havens hold $7.6 trillion; 8% of world's total wealth

Cass Sunstein reviews The Hidden Wealth of Nations, a new book by UC Berkeley's Gabriel Zucman; and a new documentary, The Price We Pay, both of which map out the scale of international tax-havens, which are used by criminals and corrupt one percenters to hide money from their governments; and by corrupt governments to hide money from their citizens -- the havens are a critical part of the secret, parallel US tax system that lets the rich pay less of their income in tax than the poor. Read the rest

Thomas Piketty seminar on Crooked Timber

The Crooked Timber folks have assembled a distinguished panel to discuss Thomas Piketty's "Capital in the 21st Century, a must-read economics book (don't be scared by its brick-like appearance!). Read the rest

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