Thomas Piketty

23 May 2014: Financial Times claim that their exposure of errors in Thomas Piketty’s 577-page analysis of inequality, Capital in the 21st Century, strikes a blow against its “central theme”:

“The central theme of Prof Piketty’s work is that wealth inequalities are heading back up to levels last seen before the first world war. The investigation undercuts this claim, indicating there is 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.

11 November 2014: Thomas Piketty wins the £30,000 Financial Times and McKinsey business book of the year award:

“The FT has in the past questioned some of the French economist’s research for Capital, but the book has provoked a fierce debate about growing inequality and the means to tackle it. “While not everyone agreed on the policy prescriptions, we recognised the quality of the scholarship,” [FT editor] Mr Barber said on behalf of the judges.

The right were cock-a-hoop when Piketty was accused of cherry-picking data.

But it turned out that Chris Giles’ botched takedown failed to account for the methodology used to collect disparate historic datasets — and even introduced “serious errors of his own”.

  1. Fair play to the FT for ‘coming clean’ (albeit indirectly) on this one, I think — journalism is after all only ‘a first draft of history’. And congrats to Mr Picketty for a richly-deserved win (NPI!).

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