March 25, 2014

Thomas Piketty

Thomas Piketty

Paul Krugman christens Capital in the Twenty-First Century, by the French economist Thomas Piketty, “the most important economics book of the year—and maybe the decade.” Piketty argues for a world-wide tax on wealth, like an “an annual property tax,” John Cassidy explains in the New Yorker. In Bookforum, Doug Henwood finds much to praise in Piketty’s work, but is frustrated by the book’s temperate political vision: “For Piketty, the main problem with Marx is his unequivocal call for political confrontation. Having described a process of inexorable material polarization—and with it, increasing plutocratic power over the state—Piketty remains distressingly moderate as he sounds out some of the political implications of his analysis.” For those who need to brush up on their econ before dipping in, Verso helpfully provides a “post-crash” reading list.

Some five million Americans belong to book clubs, the Times estimates.

Politico reports that Ben Richardson has quit Bloomberg News to protest their handling, last fall, of an investigative story on Chinese elites. (According to the New York Times, editors killed the piece for fear of their employees being “kicked out of China.”) Richardson explains: “Clearly, there needs to be a robust debate about how the media engages with China. That debate isn’t happening at Bloomberg.”

In an interview with The Believer, Vivian Gornick talks about how she got involved with feminism, how she became an author, and the difficulty of first-person writing: “In memoir, you have only yourself to dramatize the whole thing. And that’s hard, hard work. To pull out of yourself something that resembles both consistency and drama. People think, Oh, it’s just me, I know me. But there’s nothing more seriously difficult than the familiar: to take control of it, understand it, shape it, make it mean something to the disinterested reader.”

Next month, Ira Silverberg will join Open Road Media, where he’ll work as a “strategic advisor for author brands.”

The Writers Guild of America East is lobbying for a bill that makes writers’ fees eligible for the state tax credit that applies to film and television production costs, giving producers more incentive to hire new or untried talent in New York.

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