Comrade Paine is going to give us a better-informed response to this book than I can manage. I have just begun reading it and although it is very thick and heavy, and a bit frightening on that account, it is also written in a lucid, jargon-free, down-to-earth and rather droll style. I am enjoying it very much.
Piketty asserts for himself a kind of coy non-Marxism, and I’m sure he’s not being dishonest. As far as I can tell, he approaches his subject without Marxist theoretical commitments. But he is respectful to the Moor, and suggests we might have something to learn from his way of approaching the matter.
His title — CAPITAL in the 21st century — is unmistakably an hommage to our old hero. The Belknap Press, his American publisher (alas, a tentacle of Harvard) has driven the point home with a lot of red on the cover. They’ve also printed it on nice paper, and the typeface is easy on the eye, which matters when you have 600 pages before you.
The book seems to be fresh, original, un-dogmatic, and rather impressively fact-based, unlike most economic writing. I kinda think it’s going to be pretty important. Not just a nine-days-wonder. Check it out.