Saturday, May 24, 2014

Wealth Distribution: Days of Future Past

Chris Giles of the Financial Times -- hardly a conservative hack -- has found significant data problems with Thomas Piketty's Capital in the 21st Century. At Vox, Matthew Yglesias -- perhaps in a hurry to get some defensive click-bait posted before Vox readers head to their summer houses for the Memorial Day weekend-- provides a very brief overview of Giles' critique. So brief that he gets one part wrong --

For the US, Giles raises an objection to how Piketty deals with a data lapse between 1870 and 1910, but doesn't really say Piketty's data points are mistaken.

That data lapse for the US for the wealth of the top 10 percent is between 1870 and 1960. As for the UK, Yglesias simply kicks to touch on assessing whether Giles comprehensive critique is correct. Much like he kicked to touch after cursorily acknowledging that he did his Vox interview with Piketty in the bar of the St Regis hotel in Washington DC. Can you get any drink there for under $10?