…capitalism in literature and culture…

Thomas Piketty’s, Capitalism in the Twenty-first Century, continues to command attention.

For some entertaining reading, we have Tim Fernholz over at quartz who shows how Piketty uses literature and popular culture to explore and analyse inequality. Everything wrong with capitalism, as explained by Balzac, “House” and “The Aristocats”

Of course, especially relevant are those classic literary works such as Victor Hugo’s, Les Misérables. Or Charles Dickens’, Oliver Twist.

At the policy level in the US and the UK, the expectation is that action to reduce inequality will be as concerted as it presently is, lively banter in the media or at the social functions of the 1%. And as for the rapid progress made in those Latin countries where inequality has been historically high? Too uncomfortable for the corporate MSM to report on.

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…to the manor born and to the hovel sentenced…

Upstairs, downstairs. As the world turns, things seem to turn not for the better – for the great unwashed? Inequality, so evident and so little remarked on by most public officials, and worse, not even perfunctorily acted on. 

When Pope Francis in late November 2013 delivered his apostolic exhortation on inequality and the role of unfettered capitalism in its continuing increase, that famous exceptionalist politician was quick to seek to co-opt the issue. Inequality would be declared with ‘gravitas’ to be ‘…the defining challenge of our time…’ He would then recommend a measly minimum wage of US10.10/hour for some workers in the US and all would be well – no need to mention the slashing of some social programmes and extended unemployment benefits. Problem solved and subsequent substantial personal wealth assured. And the dutiful MSM moved on – but others in the US and elsewhere chose not to, as we shall see. Read the rest of this entry »