309 Envisioning Europe's Economic Future from a Long-Term Historical Perspective

Thursday, July 9, 2015: 6:00 PM-7:45 PM
Boutmy (27 rue Saint-Guillaume)
Thomas Piketty's book Le Capital au XXIème siècle which came out in France in 2013 and in English at Harvard university Press in 2014 created quite a lively debate in the USA on income inequality, which then spread like a bonfire to every corner of the world, including Germany, the United Kingdom or the Netherlands. While reactions varied across European states, they allowed for a lively discussion of European integration, and the need for a new economic policy. The work is based on an impressive data base on the evolution of income distribution and the rates of return on the factor of production capital. For France, England, Sweden and the USA, continuous statistical series cover the period 1800-2007. This historical approach leads Piketty to propose policy solutions, notably fiscal reform and a world wealth tax.

Wolfgang Streeck will discuss Thomas Piketty's diagnosis and policy proposals from an historical-institutionalist political economy perspective. Wolfgang's Streeck's latest book originally written in German is Buying Time: The Delayed Crisis of Democratic Capitalism has been translated into at least thirteen languages. It accounts for the crisis of 2008 by placing it in three parallel and intertwined historical narratives that began after the end of postwar growth, moving from inflation to government debt, from there to private debt, and central bank debt; the transformation of the tax state into a debt state, and of the debt state into a consolidation state and the re-transformation of European integration as an engine of political-economic liberalization.

Virginie Guiraudon
Discussant :
Wolfgang Streeck
Thomas Piketty