I have a new post on Piketty on Pieria, pointing out potential problems interpreting his premises and propositions (sorry, it started organically):
I recently wrote about the numerous misconceptions over Thomas Piketty’s use and definition of capital in his book Capital in the 21st Century. Sadly, it seems there are a number of other common, equally important mischaracterisations of Piketty’s model floating around. Here I will consider 5 of the most widespread and show, using direct quotes from Piketty himself, why they are off the mark. The first 3 are simple errors of interpretation with regards to Piketty’s theoretical framework, while the latter 2 are problems with how people have responded to Piketty in general. Although the latter 2 are inevitably more subjective, they are still important for trying to understand and reframe the debate between Piketty and his critics.
Each point gives the common misinterpretation of Piketty’s work, and counters it. For example, one of the most important points (IMO) is this one:
2. ‘Fundamental laws’ of capitalism?
The claim: Piketty’s ‘fundamental laws of capitalism’ are not fundamental at all.
The reality: Although calling them ‘laws’ is misleading, at no point does Piketty claim that his laws are inviolable. They are instead tendencies (with the exception of the first law, which is just an accounting identity) which push capital’s share of income in a certain direction over time, but can be counteracted by any number of things, and only take hold over a long timespan.
Hopefully this will be a useful resource for when people who haven’t read the book (or worse, have read it but clearly either rushed or lack reading comprehension) repeat silly canards about it.