Thomas Piketty’s ‘patrimonial capitalism’ of the twenty-first century: political economy rediscovered or how to tame the beast?
Languages of publication
The core of market economy is misconceived when it is construed purely in economic terms (cf. Breuer 1999: 8). The purpose of this article is to hint at some possible alternative paths of deliberating the concept of capitalism which would not be dominated by classical economic paradigm. While recognising the multiple faces of capitalism stemming amongst others from historical, geo-political, ideological and even economic variables, the author conceives of contemporary capitalism in terms of a sum total of certain macro-features which differentiate this economic model from centrally-planned economies. The point of departure for the developed argumentation is the main trend recognisable in the recent decades (end of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st century) which consists in accumulation of primarily hereditary capital in the hands of the few, which phenomenon is referred to by Thomas Piketty as “patrimonial” capitalism. Since that development results in a limited or no opportunity of the majority of the world population to accrue wealth through their work, a question arises whether such economic system may be regarded as legitimate. In this context the author attempts to shed some light on the potentials and limits of the role of national, transnational and /or international governance to mitigate the negative impact of the unabashed divergence forces observable in the contemporary economy. The overall conclusion of the paper is that, however reluctant the national authorities may be to see further intervention of transnational and international entities in the organisation of global economy, it is necessary if the healthy foundations of the global market are ever to be achieved and as long as long as the states remain idle themselves.
- Alcidi C., Giovannini A., Piedrafita S. (2014), Enhancing the Legitimacy of EMU Governance, “Centre for European Policy Studies Special Report”, no. 98, http://www.ceps.eu [22.02.2015].
- Breuer R.-E. (1999), Offene Bürgergesellschaft in der globalisierten Weltwirtschaft, “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung”, 4 January 1999, No. 2, pp. 8-9.
- Bullmann U., Roth M., Schäfer-Gümbel Th. (2012), Von der Krisenunion zur Solidaritätsunion, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.
- Dieter H. (2012), Maastricht 2.0, “SWP-Aktuell”, no. 54, September 2012.
- Dworkin R. (2014), Gerechtigkeit für Igel, Suhrkamp Taschenbuch Wissenschaft, Berlin.
- Habermas J. (1973), Legitimationsprobleme im Spätkapitalismus, Frankfurt a.M..
- Hösle V. (1997), Moral und Politik. Grundlagen einer politischen Ethik für das 21. Jahrhundert, C.H. Beck, München.
- Piketty Th. (2013), Le capital au XXIe siècle, Seuil, Paris.
- Piketty Th. (2014), Capital in the twenty-first century, translated by Arthur Goldhammer, the Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
- Ramanna K. (2015), Thin political markets: the soft underbelly of capitalism, “California Management Review”, vol. 57 no. 2, pp. 1-16.
- Musacchio A., Lazzarini S.G., Aguilera R.V. (2015), New varieties of state capitalism: strategic and governance implications, “The Academy of Management Perspectives”, vol. 29 no. 1, pp. 115–131.
Publication order reference
2353 - 9119