Have you watched this 20-minute interview of Paul Krugman on Bill Moyers yet? It’s about Thomas Piketty’s - of the Paris School of Economics - thesis on inequality, particularly in American and French contexts. Piketty’s hypothesis is that we are drifting back to oligarchy that was so hard fought against (democratisation).
What I felt Krugman neglected to focus on was the global context, which Moyers picked up a little on in his ‘final thought’ through an American-lens, of course, is the issue of tax havens. For American scholars the comparison is so convenient, to idealise the ‘European tradition’ of taxing the wealthy. However, what they neglect is exactly Piketty’s point: the wealthy are so wealthy, we don’t even realise the extent of their wealth; they are invisible. Yes, footballers in the UK have up to 40% of their earnings taxed, but footballers aren’t the 1%. The 1%, the inherited capital that Piketty is talking about, are more clever, and this is what makes inherited wealth and oligarchy so dangerous.
Not only are the 1%, as individuals, almost invisible to ‘normal people’ because of the scope of their wealth, but their wealth, ever extensive in its reach, is hidden from authorities that, even if willing to tax them at a rate of 40%, would not be able to identify the true scale of their wealth. Such that, the world’s 1%, using their unlimited resources, are invisible as both entities of power but also as taxable capital.