Monday, May 4, 2020

4/6/20 Piketty “Capital & Ideology” p. 103

This blog has been disused for a while. Hardly anybody ever read it, so I decided to hardly ever write for it. But now I’ve decided to use it, for a while at least,  to start posting comments on things I am reading, copied from my notebooks. These are not edited, and particularly not made to function as stand-alone essays. I.e., I have not tried to paraphrase the arguments from the books that I may be discussing. The first book I’m doing this with is Thomas Piketty’s “Capital and Ideology”. Page references are to the 2020, hardcover, English language edition, published by Belknap Press.

4/6/20 Piketty “Capital & Ideology” p. 103

French revolutionaries, like 19th Century Radical Republicans, were unable to conceive two ideas that could have led to more egalitarian societies, in each case:

  1. That centuries of exploitation – working the land for someone else’s benefit – might give people (peasant or freedman) a “property right” in the land greater than that of the titular owner who had been exploiting them, and,
  2. The idea of cooperative ownership, i.e., of former plantations in the U.S.A., or things like mills (“banalités”) in the French case.

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