【英语财经】皮凯蒂回应英国《金融时报》批评 Piketty defends best-selling book from criticism

  • 【英语财经】皮凯蒂回应英国《金融时报》批评 Piketty defends best-selling book from criticism已关闭评论
  • A+
所属分类:双语财经

2014-5-26 14:56

小艾摘要: Thomas Piketty, the French economist who wrote a best-selling book on inequality, has defended his work against criticism by the Financial Times of shortcomings in his data.As leading international ec ...
Piketty defends best-selling book from criticism
Thomas Piketty, the French economist who wrote a best-selling book on inequality, has defended his work against criticism by the Financial Times of shortcomings in his data.

As leading international economists debated the findings, Prof Piketty said the FT was “being ridiculous” by questioning whether there was an upward trend in wealth concentration among the richest.

Professor Piketty’s 577-page work, a sweeping analysis of changes in wealth and income over two centuries, concludes that “the central contradiction of capitalism” is the tendency for wealth to become more concentrated in the hands of the already rich.

The FT last week reported transcription errors and incorrect formulas in the spreadsheets provided by Prof Piketty to back up his book “Capital in the 21st Century”. It also said some of the data appeared to be cherry-picked or constructed without an original source.

The FT’s report concluded there was “little evidence in Prof Piketty’s original sources to bear out the thesis that an increasing share of total wealth is held by the richest few”.

When contacted by the FT ahead of publication for his response to the findings, Prof Piketty said he had “no doubt that my historical data series can be improved and will be improved in the future?.”??But, he added he would be “very surprised if any of the substantive conclusion about the long-run evolution of wealth distributions was much affected by these improvements.”

In the wake of publication of the FT’s findings, Prof Picketty said the available data on wealth was “imperfect” but insisted there was widespread recognition that his central thesis was correct.

“Where the Financial Times is being dishonest is to suggest that this changes things in the conclusions I make, when in fact it changes nothing,” he told the French news agency, AFP. “More recent studies only support my conclusions, by using different sources.”

The FT’s critique of his data sparked intense debate, as admirers and critics of the work scrambled to assess the impact of the data flaws on his thesis that wealth inequalities are heading back up to levels last seen before the first world war.

Paul Krugman the Nobel laureate based at Princeton University who has hailed Prof Piketty’s work as potentially the most important economics book of the decade, said the author would need to answer the questions raised by the FT in detail. But he dismissed the FT’s finding that there was “no obvious upward trend” in wealth concentration among the richest people over the last 50 years as evidence that the FT itself was “doing something wrong”.

Writing in the New York Times, he said: “None of this absolves Piketty from the need to respond to each of the individual questions. But anyone imagining that the whole notion of rising wealth inequality has been refuted is almost surely going to be disappointed.”

Other experts said the inconsistencies uncovered by the FT underlined their concerns over Prof Piketty’s work. Martin Feldstein, the Harvard economist who is President Emeritus of the National Bureau of Economic Research said the French economist’s “claim of the inevitable increase in inequality in all countries rests on a false theory of how wealth accumulates in a market economy.”

Prof Feldstein argued that the concentration of wealth had been exaggerated in Prof Piketty’s analysis because it did not take into account the wealth individuals had for their retirement, including their social security and health benefits, and the income that would come from employer-provided pensions.

He also took issue with Prof Piketty’s estimate of the increased income inequality in the US, saying it was “based on a flawed interpretation of US income tax data”.

For Prof Feldstein, the French academic fails to recognise the impact on reported taxable income of the changes that have occurred in US tax rules since 1980.

He also criticised the analysis for omitting government transfer payments such as social security and food stamps which, he said, ”constitute a large and growing share of the personal incomes of middle- and lower-income households”.

针对英国《金融时报》批评《21世纪的资本》(Capital in the 21st Century)存在数据缺陷,法国经济学家托马斯?皮凯蒂(Thomas Piketty)为自己的书进行了辩护。这是一本论述财富不平等问题的畅销书。

就在全球主流的经济学家们就英国《金融时报》的指出的数据缺陷展开辩论之时,皮凯蒂表示,《金融时报》对财富集中于最富有人群的现象存在上升势头的质疑,是“荒谬的”。

《21世纪的资本》全书共577页,该书全面分析了两个世纪以来财富和收入的变化,结论是:“资本主义的核心矛盾”是财富越来越向富人集中的趋势。

《金融时报》上周报道,皮凯蒂教授用以支持书中观点的表格存在抄写错误和公式误用的问题。《金融时报》还表示,书中的部分数据似乎是经过精心挑选,或者是在缺乏原始数据的情况下虚构的。

该报道得出结论,“从皮凯蒂教授的原始数据中几乎找不到证据支持他的论点,即最富有的少数人在社会总财富中占有的越来越多”。

在发表以上结论之前,英国《金融时报》曾联系过皮凯蒂教授以征求他的意见。当时皮凯蒂教授表示:“我毫不怀疑我的历史数据存在改进的空间,而将来也将会有进一步改善。”不过他补充说,“如果数据改善会对有关财富分配长期演化的实质性结论产生重大影响”,他将会“非常震惊”。

在英国《金融时报》报道了自身的发现结果之后,皮凯蒂教授表示,目前能收集到的关于财富的数据“不够完美”,不过他坚称人们普遍承认他的核心论点是正确的。

他告诉法新社(AFP):“英国《金融时报》的不诚实之处在于,该报暗示这个问题会改变我所得出的结论,事实上它什么也改变不了。近期更多依据不同数据来源的研究全都支持我的结论。”

英国《金融时报》的批评引发了激烈争论,该书的支持者和反对者争相评估数据缺陷对皮凯蒂论点——财富不均现象正重返一战前水平——的影响。

普林斯顿大学(Princeton University)诺贝尔奖得主保罗·克鲁格曼(Paul Krugman)称,皮凯蒂的著作可能是近十年来最重要的经济学著作,他表示,作者有必要详细回答英国《金融时报》提出的问题。不过,对于英国《金融时报》认为财富向最富人集中的现象在过去50年“并无明显上升趋势”,克鲁格曼不以为然,他认为这恰好证明英国《金融时报》本身“错了”。

他在《纽约时报》(New York Times)上的文章中写道:“这些无一能免除皮凯蒂回应每一个问题的义务。但认为关于财富不平等加剧的观点被整个推翻的人,也基本肯定是要失望了。”

还有些专家表示,英国《金融时报》所揭示的问题凸显出他们对皮凯蒂教授这部著作的关注。哈佛大学(Harvard University)经济学教授、美国国家经济研究局(National Bureau of Economic Research)名誉局长马丁?费尔德斯坦(Martin Feldstein)表示,皮凯蒂“关于各国不平等现象都不可避免地加剧的主张,所依据的是市场经济中财富累积的一个错误理论”。

费尔德斯坦教授认为,皮凯蒂的分析夸大了财富集中现象,因为他未将个人为退休安排的财富,包括社保和医疗福利,以及雇主提供的养老金计算在内。

他也不同意皮凯蒂教授对美国收入不平等增加程度的估计,表示这一估计是“基于对美国所得税数据的错误理解。”

费尔德斯坦教授认为,这位法国学者不了解1980年以来美国的税制改革对所得税申报额的影响。

他还批评皮凯蒂的分析遗漏了政府转移支付项目,如社保、食品救济等,他称这些“构成了中低收入家庭个人收入中的很大一部分,而且这个比例还在上升。”

译者/何黎

本文关键字:财经英语,小艾英语,双语网站,财经双语,财经资讯,互联网新闻,ERWAS,行业解析,创业指导,营销策略,英语学习,可以双语阅读的网站!
  • 我的微信
  • 这是我的微信扫一扫
  • weinxin
  • 我的微信公众号
  • 我的微信公众号扫一扫
  • weinxin