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Sunday Telegraph: "Is this recovery built to last, or just a Bullingdon bubble?"

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"[There's] no reason for the centre-Right to feel smug [about the issues in Thomas Piketty’s 'Capital in the Twenty-First Century']. The financial crash was a moment of profound importance – and peril – to parties that habitually assert the primacy of markets over governments. The collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008 and its consequences are better understood with reference to feeling than to statistics.

"Suddenly, the secular religion of capitalism looked unreliable, its priesthood useless and corrupt (rather than ruthless to the profit of all), and its lay order, the political class, deeply distrusted, even as it laboured to keep the chapels and churches open (in this case, cashpoints). What has followed is the first, faltering stages of a reformation.

"At the far end of the spectrum is the Occupy movement, which sees the system as beyond repair. But most voters simply want that same system to work better, to function reliably and to resume its function as an engine of hope rather than of anxiety. Martin Scorsese’s recent movie, The Wolf of Wall Street, touched a nerve because it captured a new popular suspicion that the so-called Masters of the Universe had been hedonistic lunatics all along. At least you knew where you were with Gordon Gekko."

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The Guardian:
"Thomas Piketty: the French economist bringing capitalism to book"

"The gist of Piketty's book is simple. Returns to capital are rising faster than economies are growing. The wealthy are getting wealthier while everybody else is struggling. Inequality will widen to the point where it becomes unsustainable – both politically and economically – unless action is taken to redistribute income and wealth. Piketty favours a graduated wealth tax and 80% income tax for those on the highest salaries.

"Lord (Adair) Turner, the former chairman of the Financial Services Authority, says Capital is 'a remarkable piece of work'. Turner, who has name-checked Piketty in his recent lectures, added: 'He is saying that we have a set of tendencies at work to which the offset has to be a degree of redistribution. I completely agree with him.'

"... The book has also created waves on the right. Allister Heath, writing in the Daily Telegraph, said the book was flawed but admitted that supporters of capitalism were being 'slaughtered on the intellectual battlefield' and needed to get their act together fast.

"The problem for Heath is that Piketty's book seems to explain the brutal world of the Great Recession and its aftermath rather better than trickle-down economics. Capital speaks to the Occupy movement; it speaks to the under-25s in Britain whose real wages are 15% lower than at the end of the 1990s; it speaks to Generation Rent.

"Piketty finds the right's hostility strange. Despite the title's echo of Marx's magnum opus, he is a mainstream European social democrat rather than a Marxist. His argument is that the world is reverting to the Belle Epoque of the late 19th and early 20th centuries when conservatives such as Bismarck and liberals such as Lloyd George, Keynes and Roosevelt knew that change had to come."

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