Expanded Description: We will read selections from Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century, close to all of Piketty’s A Brief History of Equality, segments of Isabel Wilkerson’s Caste and Derrick Bell’s And We Are Not Saved, and some additional relevant articles. The class will be a guided discussion of the readings along with some presentations intended to lead the class into the large questions being explored. Though we will read only about a third of Capital in the Twenty-First Century it’s a book students will want to own, and it is available new or used through bookfinder.com for less than $15. We will read the much shorter A Brief History Equality, which is available new or used for about $22 through bookfinder.com, in its entirety. We will read only about one-third of Wilkerson’s Caste but it too is a book students will want to own. New and used copies on bookfinder.com are widely available for less than $10. Other readings will be supplied as pdfs to students electronically.
Week 1: Getting to know Piketty. Introduction, Income and Output: Capital in the Twenty-First Century, 1-71. Introduction: A Brief History of Equality, 1-15.
Week 2: Growth: Illusions and Realities, The Metamorphoses of Capital, Rhenish Capitalism and Social Ownership, Shocks to Capital in the Twentieth Century: Capital in the Twenty-First Century, 72-150.
Week 3: The Capital/Income Ratio over the Long Run, The Capital-Labor Split in the Twenty-First Century: Capital in the Twenty-First Century, 164-234 (skim 217-223 which are technical and intended primarily for economists).
Week 4: The Movement Toward Equality, The Slow Deconcentration of Power and Property: A Brief History of Equality, 16-47.
Week 5: The Heritage of Slavery and Colonialism, The Question of Reparations: A Brief History of Equality, 48-94; And We Are Not Saved, The Racial Barrier to Reparations, 123-139.
Week 6: From Isabel Wilkerson’s Caste: An Old House and an Infrared Light, An American Untouchable, 13-35; Through the Fog of Delhi to the Parallels in India and America, The Nazis and the Acceleration of Caste, 78-88; and The Eight Pillars of Caste, 99-164.
Week 7: Revolution, Status, and Class, The “Great Redistribution; 1914-1980, and Democracy, Socialism, and Progressive Taxation: A Brief History of Equality, 95-174.
Week 8: Real Equality against Discrimination, Exiting Neocolonialism, Toward a Democratic, Ecological, and Multicultural Socialism: A Brief History of Equality, 175-244.