Rognlie vs Piketty: Which Capitalism To Blame

Abolitionist Dynamite

This article caught my eye. The author, Greg Ferenstein, concludes “it might be wiser to redirect anger towards those who get in the way of new housing, rather than rely on taxes to solve our problems.” Yes, and no.

Back up. What’s the general idea? Well, Matthew Rognlie found that “recent trends in both capital wealth and income are driven almost entirely by housing.” This is not entirely in contrast to the findings of Piketty, rather derived from Piketty’s data: “Also using Piketty and Zucman (2013)’s data, I find that a single component of the capital stock—housing—accounts for nearly 100% of the long-term increase in the capital/income ratio, and more than 100% of the long-term increase in the net capital share of income.”

This shouldn’t be a surprise. Individuals who are forced to spend almost all of their income on housing can’t save any money. We’re talking about people forced…

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About Damian Merciar
Damian Merciar is Managing Director of Merciar Business Consulting, http://www.merciar.com, a niche business economics consultancy founded in 1998. He has over twenty years experience in the areas of commercial Business Strategy. He is experienced in the transition environments of nationalized to private sector state utilities and the senior practice of commercial management, advisorial consultancy, and implementation. He has carried out policy advisory work for government ministries and been an adviser to institutional bodies proposing changes to government. He holds an MSc Economics from the University of Surrey’s leading Economics department and an MBA from the University of Kent. Also attending the leading University in the Middle East, studying International Relations and Language, for which he won a competitive international scholarship, and has a BA (Hons) in Economic History and Political Economy from the University of Portsmouth. He is currently based in London.

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