Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Article and video for last week's Piketty symposium at NYU

The NYU Law School website now has an article here describing last week's Piketty symposium.

It also contains video of all of the sessions. Scroll about three-quarters of the way down, and you can find the video for the talk that Joe Bankman and I gave.  Piketty's response to Wojciech Kopszuk and us is right below.

A couple of quotes from the article:

Stanford’s Joseph Bankman and NYU’s Daniel Shaviro were the day’s oxymoron: a comedic duo of welfarist tax scholars. But they were serious about their topic, praising Piketty’s critique of the undue moralizing of “ability” as an explanation for high-end wealth concentration and exploring the constitutionality of a national wealth tax in the United States. (Piketty’s response to the latter: “I realize that this is unconstitutional, but constitutions have been changed throughout history. That shouldn’t be the end of the discussion.”)

Later on Piketty is quoted, from a post-event interview with the article's writer, saying the following:

“By and large, the problem you run into when economists or law professors study inequality is that they’ve benefited from rising inequality. They’re not in the top 1 percent, but they’re surely in the top 2 or 3 percent. I’m not going to say that determines their entire view, but you can’t say it has no impact. That makes them generally positive about the US economy, how it rewards talent, and what they think of wages.”

Now now, not very nice of him, eh?  Actually, it's fine.  Indeed, I very much agree with what he says here, and so indicated in my talk.  Joe and I also make a similar point in our article.

UPDATE: Having watched the video of my remarks (listed under "Bankman," but I go first), I can only say: my gawd but I talk fast.  It's kind of different when you're doing it, rather than watching it.  But I think it can be followed aurally, and it's reasonably coherent because I wrote it out in advance.

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