Reading #Piketty (1)

I have been reading in the past couple of weeks Thomas Piketty’s “Capital in the XXI century” an amazing book full of interesting observations.

I will post here some who literally blew me away.

We live in a stagnant Universe

I, like many people, was raised with the myth of growth. Productivity and demographic growth which, added together, form the overall rate at which an economy (or the planet grows). There is no day where political discourse does not overflow with plans and proposals to return economic growth above 2 – 2,5%.

Well, high growth is an isolated incident in the very long term. Take demographic growth. We have 7.5 billion people on the blue ball; if the average growth rate had been 1% that would mean there were no more than 15 people alive on all the planet when Jesus was born: Him, the Twelve Apostles, Mary and Joseph.

This seems unlikely, so let’s assume the world (all the world) had about 100 million people living in it; to get to 7.5 billion today, the average growth rate must have been something like 0,2%, and if you push that hundred million back to the day Rome was founded, the overall average growth rate must have been no more than 0,15%.

A similar reasoning can be applied to the world’s wealth, yielding a slightly higher rate, maybe 0,35%.

The world’s history is therefore one where GROWTH was on average much less of what we consider “normal”, much closer to what we today would consider stagnation.

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