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Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty

‘Wealth of Data, Poverty of Theory’

In: Historical Materialism
Author: Michel Husson1
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Thomas Piketty’s book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, provides a monumental database for the history of capitalism. But the author’s interpretation of these data is based on an inconsistent theoretical framework that constantly oscillates between two definitions of capital: either capital as accumulated drawing rights on the value created; or capital as a factor of production in the neoclassical tradition. Capital as a social relation is forgotten and the history of capitalism appears as an accounting mechanism.

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