Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone:
Thomas Piketty, the French economist whose 2013 bestseller Capital in the 21st Century awoke upscale Americans to the shocking news that their economic system was not working for everyone, has written a new paper exposing more uncomfortable truths.
Piketty’s new essay, called Brahmin Left vs. Merchant Right, studied electoral trends in three Western countries – France, Britain and the U.S. – dating back to the 1940s.
Even though the three countries have different systems, all three feature electoral showdowns for executive power that broadly come down to “left” versus “right” factions.
A remarkable feature is how mathematically balanced these elections have been over the years. Piketty notes that even in France, whose final votes involve coalitions of multiple minority parties, the widest disparity observed in recent history involved splits of ten points (De Gaulle vs. Mitterand in 1965) and eight (Mitterand vs. Chirac in 1988). More often, he notes, the splits have been 51-49, 52-48, etc.