Jason Palma made the following comment on my post-safari musings about Piketty: "Another thought - I have to wonder if Professor Piketty - like Jean-Jacques Rousseau did in his Discourse On Inequality - buried any explosive suggestions in his footnotes......." I was forced to confess that I had not in fact read the footnotes. Well, now I have -- seventy-six pages of small print! I would not go so far as to say there is anything explosive in the notes, but there are some tasty bits. Herewith a list of notes I found worth mentioning, for those actually reading Piketty.
Page 600 -- note 33 Why is Piketty always so careful to speak disparagingly of Marx?
page 601 -- note 11
Page 601 -- note 20
Page 606 -- note 30 for one of Piketty's many delicious digs at the American economic profession
Page 608 -- note 3 A technical dig at Gary Becker, whom Piketty admirably does not like.
Page 614 -- note 29 Another of P's delightful allusions to popular culture.
Page 616 -- note 7 Contra Becker yet again. Boy, P really does not think much of him.
Page 619 -- note 36 Nice merging of statistical data and literary allusions
Page 620 -- note 46 Very interesting historical contrast between 19th century France and America
Page 621 -- note 52 Good grief. P even watches Desperate Housewives. Where does he find the time?
Page 621 -- note 57 and the text Good example of Piketty's sardonic style. Quite lovely.
Page 627 -- note 46 One of many passages that could have been written by Marx. Why does P work so hard to distance himself from someone with whom he has such obvious filiations?
Page 630 -- note 17 A quietly devastating footnote about America's incarceration of Black men.
Page 636 -- note 20 Another pointed dig at the ideological rationalizations of ostensibly objective journals. P is really a pleasure to read.
Page 640 -- note 49 "Contrary to an idea that is often taught but rarely verified .." P really does a number on the [American] economics profession. They are going to find it hard to swallow this book or ignore it.
Page 640 -- note 55 This is a note to the following passage on page 514 of the text: "The experience of France in the Belle Ḗpoque proves, if proof were needed, that no hypocrisy is too great when economic and financial elites are obliged to defend their interests -- and that includes economists, who currently occupy an enviable position in the US income hierarchy. Some economists have an unfortunate tendency to defend their private interest while implausibly claiming to champion the general interest."
Page 650 -- note 33 So much for Google!
Page 653 -- note 49 P is no kinder to his own countrymen.
Page 655 -- note 2 [The last note of the book] The note reads: "When one reads philosophers such as Jean-Paul Sartre, Louis Althusser, and Alain Badiou on their Marxist and/or communist commitments, one sometimes has the impression that questions of capital and class inequality are of only moderate interest to them and serve mainly as a pretext for jousts of a different nature entirely." I do think that we must excuse Piketty for his negative feelings about Mar x, considering the collection of supposed Marxists among whom he grew up.