Title: Missing bridges: a pluralist analysis of the debate on Capital in the Twenty-First Century

Authors: Hannes Fauser; Felix Kersting; Finn Müller-Hansen; Alexander Sacharow

Addresses: School of Business and Economics, Free University Berlin, Boltzmannstraße 20, 14195 Berlin, Germany ' Institute of Economic History, School of Business and Economics, Humboldt University Berlin, Spandauer Str. 1, 10178 Berlin, Germany ' Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Telegrafenberg A31, 14473 Potsdam, Germany; Department of Physics, Humboldt University Berlin, Newtonstraße 15, 12489 Berlin, Germany ' Hertie School of Governance, Friedrichstr. 180, 10117 Berlin, Germany

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.

Keywords: pluralism; inequality; capital; Piketty; schools of economic thought; income distribution; wealth distribution; growth theory; economic debate; economics.

DOI: 10.1504/IJPEE.2016.079693

International Journal of Pluralism and Economics Education, 2016 Vol.7 No.3, pp.300 - 322

Received: 01 Dec 2015
Accepted: 25 Apr 2016

Published online: 30 Sep 2016 *

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