Reading Thomas Piketty: A Critical Essay

by Zoltan Zigedy I should perhaps add that I experienced the American dream at the age of twenty-two, when I was hired by a university near Boston just after finishing my doctorate… Here was a country that knew how to attract immigrants when it wanted to! Yet I also realized quite soon that I wanted to return to France and Europe… One important reason for my choice has a direct bearing on this book: I did not find the work of US economists entirely convincing… To put it bluntly, the discipline of economics has yet to get over its childish … Continue reading Reading Thomas Piketty: A Critical Essay

Human Rights: A Marxian perspective

by Zoltan Zigedy For nearly three hundred and fifty years, human rights have been important, if not dominant, instruments in the endeavor for social justice. For much of this history, contestants have cited universal rights as marking their position on the field of struggle. It is equally important to notice that before the seventeenth century, social justice was more often than not contested in a language other than rights-talk. If Froissart’s Chronicles are to be believed, the Jacquerie of the French countryside and the English peasantry of the 1381 uprising knew no full-blown notion of universal human rights. Instead, they … Continue reading Human Rights: A Marxian perspective

Taking notes 7: Human Rights or Imperial Partnership?

by Zoltan Zigedy Amnesty International has a bee under its bonnet. A human rights advocate, educator, and labor attorney, Dan Kovalik, mustered the audacity to challenge the world’s most prominent and highly regarded rights-based advocacy group. Claiming over three million members since its birth in 1961, AI is the poster child for modern “non-governmental organizations” or NGOs: The hundreds of thousands of hazy entities that play an ever-growing, influential role in international affairs. Despite AI’s sterling reputation among middle class liberals in the English-speaking world, Kovalik was troubled by AI’s stance on the war in Libya and its role in … Continue reading Taking notes 7: Human Rights or Imperial Partnership?

Getting serious about politics

by Zoltan Zigedy Economic relations clarify politics just as politics can return the favor. In truth, it is impossible to fully understand one without an understanding of the other, and especially without a grasp of their inter-relationship. No doubt that explains the wisdom of the classical economists (and Marx and Engels) in describing their studies as “political economy.” Similarly, the failure to systematically integrate the two social domains explains the frustration of the modern-day academic economists, even Nobel laureates, who fume about the politicians standing in the way of their ready solutions to the current global economic crisis. A case … Continue reading Getting serious about politics

Marxism: Dead or alive?

by Zoltan Zigedy  Twenty years ago Marxism was in retreat. Actually, it had been in retreat much earlier than the fall of the Soviet Union and Eastern European socialism a decade before the end of the twentieth century. But certainly the dissolution of the USSR marked a dramatic and, for many, a surprising finale. Communism, the revolutionary expression of Marxism, was the official ideology of states that contained roughly 40% of the world’s population as late as the nineteen eighties. At the same time, in many other countries, Communists were formidable political forces possibly in reach of political power or, … Continue reading Marxism: Dead or alive?