Reading Piketty: Capital in the 20th Century

This is a 10-week seminar, starting on February 22, 2017

Moderator:                Kathy Campbell
Day and Time:         Wednesday, 9:30-11:30 AM
Format:                       Seminar
Location:                   UMass Renaissance Center Reading Room, Amherst
                                        (free parking on site)
Is this book sitting unread on your bookshelf?  Let’s read it together!  It is a goldmine for anyone with an interest in today’s economic and fiscal policy questions and a great read.

Despite its length, its occasional equations, and a lot of tables and graphs, Piketty’s 2013 tome is a readable and revolutionary book for anyone with an interest in today’s economic and fiscal policy questions.  We will read it to understand what he is saying, to help one another explore his data—all on line—and as a jumping-off point for discussions about economic history, how literature deals with economic inequality, current politics and future prospects.

Piketty covers the dynamics of returns to labor and capital, historically and at present; the underlying factors that tend toward the concentration of wealth; and prospects for countering the resulting trends in the twenty-first century.  All of this is offered not as dry statistics, but in a historical, literary and political context that richly rewards the reader’s attention. The readability of this remarkable book is attested to by the fact that it is possible to enjoy and learn much from the audio version, even without looking at the graphs and tables.

Role of participants:
Each participant will read through the chapters to be covered before they are discussed in the seminar.  Participants will choose a chapter to present, with considerable latitude in what they choose to emphasize.

Thomas Piketty, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, translated by Arthur Goldhammer, 2014 (Harvard University Press)

About the Moderator: Kathy Campbell moved to the area in 2012.  She has participated in a number of LIR seminars, and is currently LIR Treasurer and co-moderating “The Commons: Past, Present, and Future.”