Thomas Piketty: The Market and Private Property Should Be the Slaves of Democracy

Well I guess I have particular sympathy for people born in the 1970s and for them wealth is going to have a different structure than for the baby boom core. Namely we see in recent decades a return of the relative importance of wealth as compared to income which we didn’t have for the baby boom core. And the reason is that until WWI we lived in societies that I call in the book patrimonial societies, where the total quantity of wealth was very large with respect to income. So typically the ratio of total wealth to income was about six to seven years. Then this dropped tremendously to about two/three years in the 1950s and this has been going upward again particularly in European countries and in Japan back to five/six years of national income today. And what this means is that for the post war baby boom core there was relatively little to inherit from the past.This was because of the destruction, the inflation and taxation due to the financing of the war which reduced the quantity of private wealth that was to be transmitted in the ’50s,’60s. Now we are back a relative importance of wealth that is going in the direction of pre World War I societies with lower concentration of wealth. You know, it’s important to emphasize that today there is a middle class in wealth that did not exist one century ago. So having a lot of wealth per se is certainly not bad. If you have the middle class and if you have an equal sharing or at least a spreading of wealth then it is better to have more wealth than to have only debt. So it’s all a matter of whether we manage to make the middle class in wealth expand rather than shrinking which is what we’ve had unfortunately in the recent decades.

via Thomas Piketty: The Market and Private Property Should Be the Slaves of Democracy.

Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.
%d bloggers like this: