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DOLLAR: Binswanger Torpedoes Piketty

Thomas Piketty’s latest book, “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” has had its fair share of criticisms.  The political right continues to bludgeon the latest critique of capitalism by challenging the veracity of the book’s mathematics, formulas, and quantitative reasoning.  But Harry Binswanger understands that the basis for every attack against capitalism is grounded in the idea that capitalism is inherently immoral.  Therefore, any defense of capitalism cannot, and should not, be grounded in statistics, but must challenge the existing moral premises that permeate today’s society…

“Capital in the Twenty-First Century” offers up the same failed, blood-soaked doctrines as its forbearer, “Das Kapital.” But in our Twitterized culture, yesterday’s disgraced notions, now forgotten, can be re-Tweeted as revelations.

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Evil cannot be combated by offering counter-statistics, as many conservatives are doing. No one is concerned with the statistics, only with the moral narrative. And the book’s opening epigraph gives us that, via a quote from France’s 1789 “Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen”:

“Social distinctions can be based only on common utility.”

In quiet, understated language, that statement lays down the formula for total collectivism. It cuts the ground out from under individual rights, substituting “common utility” as the standard for state action. It demands the yoking of the individual to the group.

M. Piketty doesn’t mention that four years after that ill-named Declaration of Rights came the Reign of Terror. The sequence is logical: the Declaration appealed to the raw envy of the mob, whose instrument became the guillotine.

The whole thing can be read here.

  • writeby

    Ayn Rand’s Code of the Producer (i.e., the Capitalist) vs. Piketty’s Parasitic Code of Common Utility:

    “The creator requires independence – he neither serves nor rules. He deals with men by free exchange and voluntary choice. The parasite seeks power. He wants to bind all men together in common action and common slavery. He claims that Man is only a tool for the use of others. That he must think as they think, act as they act, and live in selfless, joyless servitude to any need but his own.

    “The creator stands on his own judgment. The parasite follows the opinions of others. The creator thinks, the parasite copies. The creator produces, the parasite loots. The creator’s concern is the conquest of nature. The parasite’s concern is the conquest of Man” –Roark’s Courtroom Speech (from the film); The Fountainhead.

    And from where does Piketty snitch his morality? The same place he snitches his Social Constructivism and his pragmatism of emotionalism.

    The primacy of consciousness religious metaphysics of Neo-Platonic Idealism (evasion), the religious epistemology of faith & hope (emotionalism) and the ego hating Judeo-Christian ethics of self-sacrifice (rationalization) make possible the irrational politics of a secular supernaturalist totalitarianism.

  • David Lloyd-Jones

    Sigh.

    Most reviewers of Piketty comment on him and Kuznets, showing that, like the people who illustrate Adam Smith with pins and pin heads, they have read page one.

    Derron Matthews, by contrast, bases his review on an epigraph which appears even before the Introduction to Piketty’s book, and is not by Piketty. Indeed the whole of his review shows no evidence that he has read even the first page of the book, “La répartition des richesses…” on page 15, after the front matter, let alone the book itself, “Le 16 août 2012, la police sud-africaine intervient dans le conflit …” which would be the Adam Smith’s pins for him, the start on page 71.

    Poor anonymous “Writeby,” in his self-satirical comment below, attempts to savage sad lost Matthews by taking an even more extreme and uninformed view of things. Writeby hasn’t even taken it on board that the epigraph is a quote, and is very far from expressing the content of either the book or Matthews’ review that he’s attacking.

    -dlj.