Readers of like-minded political bent will find Piketty’s arguments powerful, if a touch arid.

TIME FOR SOCIALISM

DISPATCHES FROM A WORLD ON FIRE, 2016-2021

The noted French economist makes the case for overhauling the global economy to provide greater equality.

“In a large-scale federal community, bound by agreements on the free movement of goods, people, and capital, it is logical to entrust a central government with the key role for the taxes, ensuring the greatest redistribution.” So writes Piketty in a statement guaranteed to induce howling fits in strict libertarians. Advocating a technocratic, even bureaucratic socialism in this collection of columns from Le Monde, the author builds a careful case. The world hasn’t become poorer, writes Piketty, but the world’s governments have, thanks to a widespread program of corporate tax breaks and other economic concessions to people who do not need them. This immiseration of government has significant effects, one of the most visible of which is an impoverishment of the educational system. Inequality results from the fact that private wealth has been rising far faster than public wealth has been declining. “There is absolutely no sense in making tax gifts to groups who are old and wealthy and have already done very well in recent decades,” Piketty argues sensibly. He urges governments to impose both hefty estate taxes and far higher graduated income taxes, and he also suggests that at the age of 25, young people be given outright grants of $150,000 or so to help lift them up in the marketplace and encourage innovation and economic diversity. With such a boost, it would be possible for those young people to start their own businesses and take risks instead of settling in desperation for whatever job comes along. Piketty’s arguments are piecemeal and sometimes written as if for fellow economists, with his proposed reforms coming one after another. Readers might have found it more useful had he used his columns as a mine for a more coherent argument rather than reprinting. Still, each page offers an interesting provocation.

Readers of like-minded political bent will find Piketty’s arguments powerful, if a touch arid.

Pub Date: Oct. 26, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-300-25966-7

Page Count: 360

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Aug. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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A satisfyingly heartfelt tribute to a thoroughly remarkable man.

A WILD IDEA

Investigative reporter Franklin recounts the life of the free-spirited millionaire entrepreneur who used his fabulous wealth in the fight to save nature.

One constant in the epic life of North Face founder Doug Tompkins (1943-2015) was his enduring love of the outdoors. The son of a successful antiques dealer, he grew up in the countryside of Millbrook, New York (Timothy Leary was a neighbor), where he cultivated his love of the natural world. His contrarian ways eventually led to his expulsion from high school just weeks before graduation. Tompkins headed West, where he baled hay in Montana, raced Olympic skiers in the Rockies, and took up rock climbing in California. He also “hitchhiked by airplane throughout South America.” Tompkins ended up in San Francisco, where, by the mid-1960s, the skiing and climbing supplies business he started with the help of Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard suddenly began to boom. He was a charismatic businessman, and every one of his ventures after that—from his wife’s Plain Jane dress company to his own Esprit clothing brand—was successful. But his Midas touch never changed his passion for travel and adventure—e.g., flying his Cessna, sometimes with his family, but often, to the detriment of his marriage, solo. In the early 1990s, Tompkins bought property in southern Chile and fell in love with its pristine beauty. His outrage over the resource extraction–based nature of the Chilean government’s policies fueled his desire to protect the land. In the years that followed, he became an outspoken, sometimes reviled conservationist dedicated to using his fortune to transform thousands of acres of Patagonia into national parks. The great strengths of this timely, well-researched book lie not just in the author’s detailed characterization of Tompkins’ complex personality, but also in the celebration of his singularly dynamic crusade to save the environment.

A satisfyingly heartfelt tribute to a thoroughly remarkable man.

Pub Date: Aug. 10, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-296412-0

Page Count: 336

Publisher: HarperOne

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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BEATING THE STREET

More uncommonly sensible investment guidance from a master of the game. Drawing on his experience at Fidelity's Magellan Fund, a high- profile vehicle he quit at age 46 in 1990 after a spectacularly successful 13-year tenure as managing director, Lynch (One Up on Wall Street, 1988) makes a strong case for common stocks over bonds, CDs, or other forms of debt. In breezy, anecdotal fashion, the author also encourages individuals to go it alone in the market rather than to bank on money managers whose performance seldom justifies their generous compensation. With the caveat that there's as much art as science to picking issues with upside potential, Lynch commends legwork and observation. ``Spending more time at the mall,'' he argues, invariably is a better way to unearth appreciation candidates than relying on technical, timing, or other costly divining services prized by professionals. The author provides detailed briefings on how he researches industries, special situations, and mutual funds. Particularly instructive are his candid discussions of where he went wrong as well as right in his search for undervalued securities. Throughout the genial text, Lynch offers wry, on-target advisories under the rubric of ``Peter's Principles.'' Commenting on the profits that have accrued to those acquiring shares in enterprises privatized by the British government, he notes: ``Whatever the Queen is selling, buy it.'' In praise of corporate parsimony, the author suggests that, ``all else being equal, invest in the company with the fewest photos in the annual report.'' Another bull's-eye for a consummate pro, with appeal for market veterans and rookies alike. (Charts and tabular material— not seen.)

Pub Date: March 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-671-75915-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1993

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