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Financial Times: "Follow up on problems in 'Capital in the 21st Century'"

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"Ever since the Financial Times wrote articles pointing to data problems in professor Thomas Piketty’s best selling book, there has been quite a heated reaction online and in print. In this post, I will give what I hope are some more relevant details, address a few misunderstandings, and reply to some of the very legitimate questions that have been raised over the past few days.

... ...

"... The main criticism of the FT’s work from The Economist’s Ryan Avent, and the New York Times’ Justin Wolfers and Neil Irwin is that, although the FT has found problems with prof Piketty’s data, it does not really matter.

"This is a question of judgement. There is no doubt that the data the FT has questioned relate to just six charts in prof Piketty’s book, not his theory, nor his numbers on income distribution. Many others have commented on those.

"My point is that if someone is claiming to have found a fundamental contradiction of capitalism, predicts the result is a rising share of wealth inequality, and uses apparent recent rises in recent wealth inequality as evidence that his theory is correct, those data lie at the core of the book’s argument.

"Without the rising wealth inequality data across all advanced economies, I would submit that prof Piketty has a theory without all the necessary evidence."

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