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自分が読んで興味深く感じた英文記事を中心に取り上げる予定です

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厚い本を読める今のうちに

 


ピケティ教授の新刊の英訳Capital and Ideologyが先月発売されました。さらにパワーアップして1,000ページを超えるボリュームになってパワーアップしています(汗)『21世紀の資本』というドキュメント映画を見てピケティ教授を思い出したのですが、冒頭のBBCのキャスターの力強い言葉を聞くと彼の主張の重要性を一層感じます。時事の記事がどのような本なのかを伝えてくれています。



2020年01月02日09時00分
 ◆経済評論家・岩本 沙弓◆
仏経済学者トマ・ピケティ氏の「21世紀の資本」(2013年)が学術書としては異例の世界的ベストセラーになったことで、所得・資産格差問題が大きくクローズアップされた。

 その前著を受けて、ピケティ氏の新刊「資本とイデオロギー(Capital et ideologie)」が2019年9月にフランスで発刊となった。
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今回も主軸にあるのは、歴史を通じて経済状況の理解を俯瞰(ふかん)して捉え直す分析だ。

 歴史に出没するさまざまな価値観や考え方などのまとまりをなすイデオロギーを、数世紀にわたり考察。経済的不平等は自然の成り行きではなく、イデオロギーの正当化や政治による、としている。

 経済的不平等が宿命ではない以上、その是正・解消は可能だとする内容が、さっそく欧州メディアなどで物議を醸している。

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新刊では、不平等解消の具体策として、土地の私的所有権の法的規制強化、相続税・所得税の累進強化、資産に対する累進課税の導入、企業取締役会への被雇用者代表の参加、株主1人の議決権を10%以下に制限、25歳の青年全員に一律約1400万円の一時金支給などに踏み込んでいる。



今回の本のポイントは不平等を生み出す体制はイデオロギーが大きな役割を果たしているのではということのようです。こちらのインタビュー記事では今では社会民主主義国家の成功例とみなされるスウェーデンが戦前は不平等的な体制だったことを例にして話しています。

We talked to the French economist about his new book Capital and Ideology, his thoughts on Covid-19, and more.
By Daniel Steinmetz-Jenkins MARCH 26, 2020

DSJ: In Capital in the Twentieth Century you argued that there are “Fundamental Laws of Capitalism,” and in particular claimed that inequality tends to rise when the average rate of return on capital exceeds the economy’s growth rate. By imputing a kind of law-like necessity to capital you gave the impression to some that there is little that can be done to change the institutions that produce inequality aside from taxing them. But the new book, it seems to me, tries to resist such a reading by insisting that “inequality is neither economic nor technological; it is ideological and political.” What do you mean by this?

TP: In my previous book, I indeed stressed the role played by the rate of return on capital, but I did not intend to take a deterministic approach to this. In particular, I emphasized the fact that the rate of return obtained by large wealth portfolios in global financial markets has been far greater than the world economy growth’s rate in recent decades, and the need for policy actions—including progressive wealth taxes—in order to curb these inequality trends. This theme also plays a role in my new book, and indeed top billionaire wealth has kept increasing at a very high rate over the past ten years, which probably contributes to explaining why democratic candidates like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren now advocate sharply progressive wealth taxes, which was not the case a couple of years ago.

I now take a much broader look at how the ideological transformations of the legal, fiscal, and educational systems have defined and redefined inequality regimes across space and time. Take the case of Sweden. Today, many people look at Sweden as intrinsically egalitarian and sometime attribute this to some kind of permanent Swedish “culture.” But that’s not so: Until the beginning of the 20th century, Sweden was a highly unequal country, and in many ways much more unequal than other European societies, particularly in its way of organizing the political domination of the nobility and the property owners over the rest of society. Between 1865 and 1911, the Swedish constitution applies a very imaginative system, whereby only the top 20% property owners can vote. Members of this group have between one and one hundred votes, depending on the amount of their property and taxes. In municipal elections, there was no upper limit (and corporations have the right to vote), so that in several dozen Swedish municipalities more than 50 percent of the votes were held by a single vote. Following an intense (but relatively peaceful) mobilization by trade unions and the Swedish social-democratic party (SAP), things changed at a speed that nobody could have imagined at the time. Universal suffrage was imposed, the SAP took power in 1932, and Sweden’s administrative and state capacity was put to the service of a completely different political project. The careful registration of property and income was used to make people pay progressive taxes in order to finance education and health for all (rather than to distribute voting rights in relation to wealth). Throughout my book, whether I talk about Sweden, India, the US, France or China, I try to show that the level of equality or inequality is shaped by sociopolitical mobilization and ideological changes, rather than by permanent and deterministic factors.



先程のFinancial Timesの動画は2月だったのでコロナウィルスの言及はなかったですが、こちらの動画は3月下旬のものなので38分15秒あたりからピケティが登場し、コロナにも絡めて語っています。以下はNationのインタビュー記事。

DSJ: COVID-19 has caught the world off guard, and the coming economic consequences of the pandemic appears to be a global crisis the scale of which is difficult to predict. What must be done to adequately address the situation, and to what extent is the ability of political and economic actors limited by the institutional arrangements that have exacerbated growing inequality in recent years?

TP: Times of crisis are times when existing conceptions about the economy are being challenged and when new political-ideological trajectories can arise. COVID-19 illustrates the fact that public authorities can choose to regulate economic forces if they so wish. The question is whether we’ll be able to act strongly in order to address global warming or rising inequality. Together with the 2008-2012 bank bailout and money creation, the 2020 health crisis will challenge long-standing discourses about laissez-faire and will feed social demand for other intervention. For now, however, the only issue is survival: we need to do everything we can to avoid a dreadful rise in the number of casualties.

不平等を生み出す体制がイデオロギーだとしても、彼が提案する処方箋については異論が出ているようです。クルーグマン教授の書評はやはり読んでいて面白いですね。

By Paul Krugman March 8, 2020

自粛明けまでに読み終わったとご報告できるようにしたいです。。。
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