Piketty’s Threat to Free Enterprise

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“We want capitalism and market forces to be the slave of democracy rather than the opposite.” – Thomas Piketty

The essential underlying elements of supply, demand, scarcity, and prosperity described in my first article in this series, The Forgotten Path to Prosperity, are keys to gaining a better understanding of what constitutes a well-functioning economy. In this article, I further consider those dynamics and within that context begin to evaluate why current economic growth is stagnating. My view necessarily advocates for a focus on supply-side economics: the talent, skills, and work that people do to acquire resources and how the resulting productivity growth from those endeavors most effectively relieves scarcity and poverty.

In his best-selling book Capitalism in the 21st Century, Thomas Piketty advocated for a mandated redistribution of wealth through a progressive global tax. His perspective of economics centers on the allocation of resources and making sure that it is fair and just. What is very clear from Piketty’s arguments is that he and a few other intellectual elites, so-called “Davos-men,” ultimately know better than the collective decision-making of the citizens of a nation about how resources should be allocated and what should be mandated as “fair and just.” Piketty and many other economists elect to ignore the fact that the world runs most fairly and efficiently when individuals are free to pursue their separate interests. Said differently, free-market capitalism, although imperfect, remains the single best means of relieving people from the ubiquity of scarcity. As we have repeatedly seen throughout history, nations that relinquish their liberties to oligarchs crumble from the inside-out.