Missing bridges: a pluralist analysis of the debate on Capital in the Twenty-First Century
by Hannes Fauser; Felix Kersting; Finn Müller-Hansen; Alexander Sacharow
International Journal of Pluralism and Economics Education (IJPEE), Vol. 7, No. 3, 2016

Abstract: This article analyses the debate surrounding Thomas Piketty's book Capital in the Twenty-First Century and asks whether it can be characterised as pluralist, understood as a practice of mutual engagement between researchers from different schools of thought. We review the theoretical framework of Piketty and the responses his work received in the economics community, both mainstream and heterodox. We argue that Piketty's theory remains ambiguous. It builds on ideas of mainstream economics but creates a space for broader discussions by referring to non-mainstream concepts, mainly from other disciplines and not heterodox school of thoughts. Neither the book nor the discussion around it can be characterised as pluralist: Piketty, as well as his commentators, hardly build any bridges between different schools of thought, although the topic of inequality seems to be relevant for all of them. Therefore, this analysis serves as an example for habits and problems in the economic debate.

Online publication date: Fri, 30-Sep-2016

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