People are talking about Capital in the Twenty-First Century Author: Thomas Piketty, Translator: Gabriel Zucman.
The author maintains that the main driver of inequality–the tendency of returns on capital to exceed the rate of economic growth–today threatens to generate extreme inequalities that stir discontent and undermine democratic values.
Here’s my comment on the discussion at Eschaton
Just as Marx’s notion of Communism has never been tried, Adam Smith’s notion of capitalism has never been tried. Smith argued that capital would find the most efficient route and be the best for all but, and it is a huge BUT, labor has to be as free to move as capital. This is not possible in actuality since a worker cannot move from a job on the factory floor in Detroit to a high tech job in San Jose as easily as a dollar can move from one investment to another.
Marx reasoned that as the people were brought together in factories etc they would organize to force better conditions. For awhile this seemed true in “our” form of capitalism. However, many unions became corrupt institutions which gave the members of the economic elite the excuse to pull their teeth.
Our form of capitalism, where the production of goods is not done by the person who enjoys the profit but rather is done by people paid, ultimately, by the profit taker(s) began when craftspeople (who had produced goods because they were born into a family that produced those goods) became literate, and especially numerate and could track many apprentices rather than those few that they lived with.