|CAPITAL IN THE 21ST CENTURY.|
For the majority of economists, economic commentators, bankers, politicians, Treasury officers, Tax officials, wheelers, dealers, brokers, investors and business men and women, the French economist Thomas Piketty is stating the 'bleedin' obvious' in his best selling book CAPITAL IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY. And we all wish that we had written it, whether we agree with the author or not. 200,000 copies sold in its first month is a phenomenal success for a book of economic statistics - that might normally have been expected to sell 100 copies a year, until decades after the author's death when it would be bought for all college libraries and included in all economics courses - making the Frenchman posthumously wealthy - and celebrated.
But in this case, the glittering prizes are being heaped upon Thomas in his own lifetime; and will continue to be heaped upon him and his heirs for the foreseeable future. Careful Scholarship Rules - OK!
I haven't bought a copy yet. I will buy one later today at Blackwell's Bookshop, Oxford along with the latest edition of the UK's incomprehensible Taxes and Companies Act(s), to keep me bang up to date. Numbers, Tables and Laws: I can hear you yawning loudly already. (Update - Bought the last copy of CAPITAL - Blackwells have sold out twice. It has 685 small-print pages - I must get out more). So, briefly, what I understand 42 years old Thomas Piketty to be telling the world is that 1% of us own (at least) 70% of the global goodies - and 99%, the worker bees, are becoming relatively poorer. I think most of us know this; but the big plus factor in the 577 pages of CAPITAL IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY is that it collates and publishes reliable tables of current and historical data, from many countries, which prove the point.
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Piketty also tells the world that the trend, constantly accelerating since Thatcher, Reagan and the Madness of Monetarism, to screw the poor and reward the rich, is unsustainable. In other words, it needs fixing or the global system will break down - and bloody revolutions will ensue. Maybe the second French Revolution and the second Russian Revolution will sweep unchecked across the world. So, the capitals of capitalism, the United States of America, The City of London and other citadels of the 1% and their mercenary armies of bookkeepers, lawyers and bankers, who record our wealth on bits of paper and in electronic traces, may now be trembling.
Piketty might also have said - I wonder if he does say - that the famous invitation from America, exemplified by the French gifted Statue of Liberty "Give us your poor and huddled masses...etc " has been turned on its head. The oppressed and crushed populations of France, Russia, Britain, Poland, Ireland, Scotland, Spain and of all nations, were indeed encouraged to flee from aristocratic tyrants to The Land of The Free and the Land of Opportunity; but what was and is not advertised is that the wicked aristocrats got there first - claimed all the land - killed the natives - slaughtered the herds - and scoured the world for talented cheap labor, who built the richest nation on Earth. Good for them. Well done America.
But, the embedded aristocrats then activated their instinctive agenda - and since 1980 have crushed the 99% of American peasants, holding down wages for 30 odd years, and have enriched themselves enormously with unearned incomes. A major part of the 1% aristocrats' strategy is to siphon as much (paper) wealth as they can to the world's 70 tax-havens and to bury it there. This diminishes the money in global circulation and so drives up the value of flexible capital over deep frozen wages - and so buys more cheap police, armies, wage-slaves, drudges, sycophants, media PR and private islands. The most visible impact of hiding the surplus cash is the huge unemployment total - particularly among the world's youth. Unemployed, part-time, zero-hours contracts, below the Living Wage (subsidizing mean employers with our tax dollars), homeless, shoe-less, on Food Stamps - the list goes on; and is darkly mirrored in almost all OECD countries.
|M. Guillotine's invention for a more humane|
execution - compared to blows with an axe.
Another symptom of hoarding cash offshore is manifest in the current USA Pfizer $75 billion offer to buy UK Astra-Zeneca. The cash is offshore and if Pfizer take it home to America, billions in tax will be payable - jobs will be created - schools, roads, bridges, infrastructure will be repaired, and government programs will be financed - benefiting the 99%. The 1% don't like that. It stinks of fairness, decent pay and wealth re-distribution. The American nation mustn't share in the accumulated profits; they belong to the global 1%, the cunningly disguised, arrogant aristocrats.
The aristocrats have won again. The French and Russians did not kill off their wicked, obscenely greedy aristocrats - they exported them to America, from where they have spread their destructive, selfish creed around the world. We live in a time of Milton Friedman's Monetarism; an evil system that converts all our fixed assets and "monetizes" the goodwill of all good people, into flexible cash - so the aristocrats can gouge it out for themselves and take it offshore, at the rate of $1 trillion a year - $32 trillion to date. Their system depends on the interpretation and application of the law.
Laws can be changed. Thomas Piketty asks how things can be changed - to prevent global economic calamity. Here's how:-
1) Repatriate the $32 trillion from 70 tax-havens and re-boot the world economy.
3) Bring back 1950's Surtax and Super-tax rates of up to 98% on immense incomes.
Or - we can suffer the bloodiest social revolution of all time. The end of days.