Two years after the publication of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century, this international best-seller is still the object of a great deal of discussion and criticism. While its author is now listed among Time magazine’s 100 most influential figures, the economist Frédéric Lordon ,author of Willing Slaves of Capital has written a robust attack on Piketty’s book for this month’s Le Monde diplomatique. Its title – ‘Thomas Piketty, no danger to capital in the twenty-first century’ gives some idea of the kind of critique he is making.
Frédéric Lordon’s article sticks out like a sore thumb from the media consensus praising the quality and political depth of Piketty’s book; and well-aware of his both insightful and iconoclastic views on major contemporary debates, Frédéric Taddei invited Lordon onto his programme Ce Soir (ou jamais!), together with Piketty. The question that the two men debated was ‘Should we put capitalism straight?’
Frédéric Lordon, author of Willing Slaves of Capital follows his considered analysis of Syriza's "fork in the road", focussing on the difficult choices the new government face in power.
We knew that the Syriza experience would provide an object lesson in politics, with all the fundamental bases of power and sovereignty being laid bare as the legal and financial niceties evaporated. And here we are: even sooner than we expected.
This Sunday, 25 January, Greeks will vote in parliamentary elections of potentially historic importance, with Alexis Tsipras’s Syriza coalition currently ahead in the opinion polls. But according to Frédéric Lordon, Germany’s grip on the situation and the Greek radical Left party’s own inconsistencies might condemn it to some painful acrobatics.
For a long time Europe has been caught in a constitutional trap of its own making, with its neo-liberal treaties offering just two ways out of the current impasse: 1) the financial collapse of the European project, under the weight of its own internal contradictions; or 2) some political mishap coming along that will overthrow the whole system. The ECB’s announcement of the OMT programme  has avoided the first of these eventualities – for now – which leaves the second. And that’s the reason why the ‘European-institutional party’ has come to see democracy not as a normal state of political life but rather as a permanent source of threats – and it thinks itself justified in using any means necessary to stamp them out.