The Rise of the Therapeutic State (The City in the Twenty-First Century Book Series)


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Thomas Piketty and public debt
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They should not be allowed to work in any credit or banking sector jobs any banks found to be guilty could have their banking license revoked , and should be given jail sentences if their actions deserve such punishment. Furthermore, the public authorities who committed to any illegitimate loans must be held legally accountable.

Thomas Piketty and public debt

A legal framework must also be established to avoid crises like the one that started in , and should include the following five measures. A State must be able to borrow so that it can improve the living conditions of its people, by improving public infrastructure and investing in renewable energies. Some of these projects can be funded by its current budget thanks to determined political choices, but government borrowing can make other more far-reaching projects possible. The CADTM argues that a transparent public borrowing policy must be established, and would like to make the following propositions: 1.

A distinction is made between real guarantees lien, pledge, mortgage, prior charge and personal guarantees surety, aval, letter of intent, independent guarantee. All public borrowing must contribute to a wealth redistribution process aimed at reducing wealth inequalities. The remainder of the population could purchase these bonds on a volunteer basis, and would be guaranteed a real positive yield Yield The income return on an investment.

Such affirmative financial action comparable to the policies adopted to fight racial discrimination in the United States, the cast system in India, and gender-based inequalities would help us to move toward more tax justice and a more egalitarian distribution of wealth. However, it is a useful utopia ….

Variant 3: downward adjustment, 0. This tax is complementary to what already exists, but it could be used to decrease the current tax payments or to reduce the national debt, note 1, p. It would result in a relatively small increase in current national incomes.

CENTRAL CONCEPTS

Even if it were very low, this tax would give authorities knowledge on the wealth of the inhabitants in the areas concerned. Instead, a programme with complementary measures must be created. A progressive tax on capital, along with the cancellation of illegitimate debt and a drastic reduction in the portion of public debt not found to be illegitimate, must be included in a comprehensive programme that would enable society to make a transition toward a post-capitalist and post-productivist system.

First implemented in one or two countries, such a programme should also have European and worldwide ambitions. It should put an end to austerity measures, reduce the amount of time worked by hiring new employees while maintaining wages, and socialise the banking sector. There must also be a general fiscal reform, measures to ensure gender equality, and the implementation of a well-defined policy that will ensure the ecological transition. Piketty is under the illusion that he will be able to convince others of the need to give highest priority to his proposition, whereas what would be truly effective and unite people would be to define a common platform, bringing together the maximum number of people in favour of radical democratic change that will foster social justice.

He proposes a progressive tax to redistribute wealth and save democracy, but he does not question the very conditions in which this wealth is produced or the consequences of the current system. His idea is only a solution for one of the negative effects produced by the system, but he does not tackle the true causes of the problem. First of all, i f a tax on capital were applied as a result of social struggle, the great danger is that its product would go up in smoke to repay illegitimate debt, if that debt is not first cancelled.


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  • Furthermore, can w e content ourselves just because the wealth produced by the system is shared more fairly, if this same system remains predatory, has no respect for people or common property, and destroys our ecosystems at an increasingly faster rate? Capitalism as a mode of production is not only the cause of more and more unbearable social inequalities. It is also a menace to our ecosystem, the justification for the plundering of common property, domination, exploitation, and alienation of the people through materialistic values, and a logic of accumulation that transforms men and women into spiritually enslaved individuals obsessed by material possessions to the detriment of the immaterial basis underlying our humanity.

    He is conscious that the people played a decisive role in the orientations taken since World War I, and denounces the repression of the miners in Marikana, South Africa in August, , but in the more than one hundred pages at the end devoted to his own propositions, which reflect on the solutions to the basic problems, no mention is made of organised citizen action, and no allusion is made to the Indignados movement, even if in the pages just before his propositions, he does mention the Occupy Wall Street movement.

    An Introduction to Thomas Piketty's Capital in the 21st Century- A Macat Economics Analysis

    Its members could be chosen from the finance and social affairs commissions of the national Parliaments, or appointed in some other way. Yet, we all know that fundamental change is necessary, and that it must include the abrogation of those treaties and the initiation of a constituent process with the production of registers of grievances by citizens united in action. His book gives us a very useful tool for understanding them, and will enlighten the debate on possible alternatives.

    Appendix 1. Capital in the Twenty-First Century: Valuable research despite some basic shortcomings. Piketty has gathered his data meticulously and provided a useful analysis of the unequal distribution of wealth and income, yet some of his definitions are somewhat confusing and even questionable. Piketty hereby proposes a scenario that suggests capital has been present from the origins of humanity.

    This major confusion continues in the heart of his analysis in Capital in the Twenty-First Century. However, they are wrong, because capital in our capitalist society is much more complex than these simple definitions. For example, below a certain level income from rent, interest on a bank account, or corporate shares should not be defined as capital.

    Likewise, personal wealth below a certain level should not be considered as capital either. Appendix 2. The struggle of the Ecuadorian people against illegitimate public debt. At first, the positions of this social movement were moderate and confused. In , they went to the Paris Club Paris Club This group of lender States was founded in and specializes in dealing with non-payment by developing countries. After waiting patiently for two years, they realised that the Paris Club did not have the slightest intention of renegotiating, and that it had only agreed to discuss the issue for public relations.

    These boats had hardly been used for their original purpose of fishing, instead they were made available to one of the countries wealthy banana producers to transport bananas. This concrete example illustrates how a campaign against debt can be started: by drawing attention to a specific debt, and linking to it the notion of illegitimate debt. We managed to work with the Norwegian organisation SLUG, and to introduce the idea of debt auditing to clarify what, if anything, Ecuador really owed. This campaign was managed against a background of social unrest between the end of the s and beginning of the s.

    In and , several important popular movements succeeded in bringing down two neoliberal Presidents. There followed a transitional government with Rafael Correa in the office of Finance Minister in a period when oil prices were quite high. The question of the debt was important because the social movements had been conducting this campaign for 7 or 8 years. As Finance Minister, Rafael Correa allocated all the extra oil revenues to health and education spending, with no question of dilapidating them on foreign debt payments.

    About 21st Century City

    The debt was considered to be illegitimate, and the people must benefit from the export revenues and the taxes earned on them. It financed public and private projects in Third World and East European countries. It consists of several closely associated institutions, among which : 1.

    The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development IBRD, members in , which provides loans in productive sectors such as farming or energy ; 2. The International Finance Corporation IFC , which provides both loan and equity finance for business ventures in developing countries. The World Bank threatened to suspend its lending to the country if such measures were taken.

    However, Correa refused to be pushed around by the World Bank, and maintained this attitude before the rest of the Ecuadorian government. The interim President who replaced Correa decided to launch a debt audit commission, but with very limited powers. Nevertheless, the results of the study on Ecuadorian debt were interesting and contributed to raising awareness on the question of debt. Correa ran for President in the elections proposing a new radically different more democratic constitution, and putting an end to illegitimate debt.

    His objective was to regain Ecuadorian independence with a project for a democratic political system, constitutional change, abolition of illegitimate debt, national sovereignty and independence, and the closing of the foreign military base. Correa was elected in December , and immediately started a referendum campaign in February in favour of a new Constitution. He was victorious in spite of the opposition of all the big media.

    The next step, as from May , was to settle the debt question. Around the same time, Europe recovered fully from its devastation and went back to normal economic growth; Japan, which had been a bit more devastated, took another few years but then had its own bust and went back to normal or subnormal growth. Still, this is a persuasive model and one of the only ones I know that makes sense of the straight line graph above. All this is just exposition. Trust-fund kids who live off dividends from investments, landlords who live off literal rents from their properties, and aristocrats who lived off the profits from their estates are all rentiers.

    Although he presents tables of statistics proving this is the case, Piketty also urges us to consider Jane Austen novels for a more intuitive sense of the situation. In contrast to those two characters, who are on the whole worthy fellows, Vautrin is deeply wicked and cynical. He attempts to lure Rastignac into committing a murder in order to lay hands on a large legacy.

    Before that, Vautrin offers Rastignac an extremely lurid, detailed lesson about the different fates that might befall a young man in the French society of the day. In substance, Vautrin explains to Rastignac that it is illusory to think that social success can be achieved through study, talent, and effort.

    He paints a detailed portrait of the various possible careers that await his young friend if he pursues studies in law or medicine, fields in which professional competence counts more than inherited wealth. In particular, Vautrin explains very clearly to Rastignac what yearly income he can aspire to in each of these professions. The verdict is clear: even if he ranks at the top of his class and quickly achieves a brilliant career in law, which will require many compromises, he will still have to get by on a mediocre income and give up all hope of becoming truly wealthy:.

    Thank you very much.

    Part III - Public versus private capital dynamics

    If this profession disgusts you, consider another. Would Baron de Rastignac like to be a lawyer? Very well then! You will need to suffer ten years of misery, spend a thousand francs a month, acquire a library and an office, frequent society, kiss the hem of a clerk to get cases, and lick the courthouse floor with your tongue.

    But can you name five lawyers in Paris who earn more than 50, francs a year at the age of fifty? By contrast, the strategy for social success that Vautrin proposes to Rastignac is quite a bit more efficient. The conclusion is clear: he must lose no time in marrying young Victorine, ignoring the fact that she is neither very pretty nor very appealing.

    The ex-convict is ready to take on this task in exchange for a commission. As I will soon show, the structure of the income and wealth hierarchies in nineteenth-century France was such that the standard of living the wealthiest French people could attain greatly exceeded that to which one could aspire on the basis of income from labor alone. Under such conditions, why work? And why behave morally at all?

    Since social inequality was in itself immoral and unjustified, why not be thoroughly immoral and appropriate capital by whatever means are available? What happened? As their principal grows, so does their yearly income.

    The Rise of the Therapeutic State (The City in the Twenty-First Century Book Series) The Rise of the Therapeutic State (The City in the Twenty-First Century Book Series)
    The Rise of the Therapeutic State (The City in the Twenty-First Century Book Series) The Rise of the Therapeutic State (The City in the Twenty-First Century Book Series)
    The Rise of the Therapeutic State (The City in the Twenty-First Century Book Series) The Rise of the Therapeutic State (The City in the Twenty-First Century Book Series)
    The Rise of the Therapeutic State (The City in the Twenty-First Century Book Series) The Rise of the Therapeutic State (The City in the Twenty-First Century Book Series)
    The Rise of the Therapeutic State (The City in the Twenty-First Century Book Series) The Rise of the Therapeutic State (The City in the Twenty-First Century Book Series)
    The Rise of the Therapeutic State (The City in the Twenty-First Century Book Series) The Rise of the Therapeutic State (The City in the Twenty-First Century Book Series)
    The Rise of the Therapeutic State (The City in the Twenty-First Century Book Series) The Rise of the Therapeutic State (The City in the Twenty-First Century Book Series)
    The Rise of the Therapeutic State (The City in the Twenty-First Century Book Series) The Rise of the Therapeutic State (The City in the Twenty-First Century Book Series)
    The Rise of the Therapeutic State (The City in the Twenty-First Century Book Series) The Rise of the Therapeutic State (The City in the Twenty-First Century Book Series)

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