Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century went on sale in the U.S. this week, and its central message can seem like a prophecy of doom. It is that capital tends to accumulate faster than the economy grows in the long run; wealth thus concentrates in the hands of a few; and the egalitarian, upwardly mobile America of the mid-20th century was more a historical aberration than the natural order of things. Through their research into income inequality, Piketty and his colleague Emmanuel Saez provided the “1% vs the 99%” narrative that drove the Occupy Movement.
But what’s often missed, as Quartz’s Tim Fernholz found out when he talked to Piketty, is that the 42-year-old French economist is actually rather optimistic. To those who say that a global wealth tax, his proposed solution to inequality, is something that Americans would never accept, he retorts that nobody in 1910 thought the US would ever have income taxes, or more recently, that Swiss bank secrecy could ever be broken. A wealth tax, he suggests, could replace a tax on property, making it popular with middle-class homeowners and giving politicians a lever to push it through.
But whether Piketty’s optimism is misplaced, or even whether he is right, matters less than the fact that, by framing the problem in these clear terms, he has enabled a public debate. “Piketty has transformed our economic discourse; we’ll never talk about wealth and inequality the same way we used to,” wrote Paul Krugman, who knows a thing or two himself about changing economic discourse. Another legendary economist, Paul Samuelson, once said, “I don’t care who writes a nation’s laws, or crafts its treatises, if I can write its economics textbooks.” If Piketty’s work influences the terms in which politicians fight their battles, he too may end up having more influence than many of them.—Gideon Lichfield
The Senior BFA photographers are —
Terrel Grant • Hannah Klotz • Kimberly Macdonald • Erin McPeek • Cassandra Mendoza • Katie Miles • Hannah Minor • Sydney Morris • Johanna Pirog • Erin Shaw • Natalie Titone • Christian Welsh
The use of punctum is based on its definition in the book Camera Lucida by Roland Barthes.
HARTFORD LOVES POETRY GRAND FINALE
A COMMUNITY CELEBRATION
Saturday April 9, 1-4
HARTFORD PUBLIC LIBRARY
500 Main Street, (860) 695-6300
Adelia Santa Cruz (Quechua)
Ahalya Desikan (Tamil)
Alisa Dzananovic (Bosnian)
Anetsiv Delgado (Spanish)
Bettina Viereck (German)
Donna Fleischer (English)
Esther McCune (Portuguese)
Francesco Martini (Italian)
Georgia Stathoulas (Greek)
Ildie David (Hungarian)
Isabel Calione (Spanish)
Jesse Marie Kavumpurath (Malayalam)
Lachu Acharya (Nepali)
Maha Darawsha (Arabic)
Maria Cristina Cuerda (Spanish)
Nilofer Haider (Urdu)
Nina Sakun (Ukrainian)
Noeet Bachar (Hebrew)
Rachna Ramya Agrawal (Hindi)
Regina G. Chatel (Polish)
Srinivas Mandavalli (Hindi)
Vjange Hazle (Jamaican Dialect/Patois)
Guest appearance by poet Joyce Ashuntantang
from Cameroon reciting in Kenyang.
SPECIAL THANKS for invaluable help in reaching out to immigrant communities in Connecticut, with heartfelt thanks to Dr. William A. Howe, Chair, CT Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission; Lynne Williamson, Director, CT Cultural Heritage Arts Program, Institute of Community Research; Dr. Shyamala Raman, Director of International Studies, University of St. Joseph; and Patricia Parlette, Administrative Coordinator, Dept. of Modern and Classical Languages, UCONN. Thanks to M. Susan Holmes, Arts Management Consultant; Rainwater Design; HPL Branch Managers and staff; Marketing Events and Cultural Affairs, City of Hartford. Special gratitude goes to all the community participants, who have donated their time and whose generosity and willingness to share poems from their countries has made today’s program.
Bessy Reyna, Festival Curator
O little root of a dream you hold me here undermined by blood, no longer visible to anyone, property of death. Curve a face that there may be speech, of earth, of ardor, of things with eyes, even here, where you read me blind, even here, where you refute me, to the letter.
All poems and texts on this site are copyright of the author(s) and should not be used or reproduced in any form without consent, yet ~
keeping in mind the words of the poet Pierre Joris, ". . . I make the arrogant claim that the poet is possibly the last, in Robert Kelly’s words, ‘scientist of the whole… to whom all data whatsoever are of use.’ . . . The prerogative of the poet is to steal directly whatever is of use, without needing to theoretically kowtow via analysis, explicatio, critical cloning or proof of pc allegiance."