The new book by Thomas Piketty, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, is receiving a great deal of international attention, at least in part because it reinforces the (spurious, in my opinion) views on inequality already held by much of the Western intelligentsia. While almost everyone seems to commend Piketty for his heroic efforts to compile good data on this question (although even that has been called into question by Cornell’s Richard Burkhauser, among others), the book has received much criticism for his unfounded assumption that economic inequality is destructive and undesirable.
Although he’s careful to note that he has not yet read the book (which he bought but subsequently misplaced and which is now sold-out), Dalrymple makes the same criticism (under the assumption that the reviews he’s read are accurate representations of Piketty’s argument). He also takes on Piketty’s call for a global wealth tax:
…Piketty is right to say that it must be global, for otherwise there would be capital flight or very severe local restrictions on capital movement, neither of which
would be economically productive or conducive to equality. A global tax on capital, however, would require a global authority to raise, collect, and enforce it, a kind
of giant European Union in fact. I am glad I shall not live to see it, but I doubt that anyone else will live to see it either, born or unborn, if only because the
governors in the world government would need a tax haven in which to put their own money.