Tom Cathcart offers the following comment and question: "Thanks, Bob, for turning me on to your paper on the future of socialism. Very interesting and thought-provoking--and depressing. Do you see any hope in the possibility that, just as racial, ethnic, and gender inequalities are mitigated by the unfolding logic of capitalism, perhaps extremes in income inequality will come to be mitigated in the same way? I guess I'm thinking of a macro, world-historical version of the [apocryphal?] meme we all learned as kids: Henry Ford paying his workers more than he had to so they could afford the Model A. In the present climate, one could add to the affordability issue the political risks of class resentment: i.e., the perceived threat to the top dogs of our electing a Trump or a Sanders. One thinks of the possibility that corporate America might support the efforts of a President Clinton to dramatically raise the minimum wage or defeat the TPP, etc. David Brooks, of all people, argues this morning that Republicans need to wake up and start supporting government interventions on behalf of workers. Maybe, a la your analysis in the paper, some hope lies in the logic of capitalism to save itself, as it did with the flattening of the business cycle."
This is a very interesting question, and it puts me in mind of a fine old  book, The Fiscal Crisis of the State, by James O'Connor. O'Connor argues that the state has two sorts of social expenditures: One category is expenditures that are designed to reduce the cost to capital of doing business -- for example, the costs of education for the workforce, which would have to be borne by the capitalist if the state did not pay them through state funded public education, or the costs of public transportation and so forth [not to speak of the costs of the military, which do capital's bidding overseas.] The other category is essentially bread and circuses to keep the working class sufficiently happy so that they do not revolt -- so-called social safety net expenditures, minimum wage laws, health and safety laws, etc. O'Connor's analysis led him to conclude that the second category was rising faster than capital could afford -- hence the title of his book, the fiscal crisis of the state.
Alas, he seriously underestimated how much poverty and misery the working class could be persuaded to accept, especially if race and religion were brought into the mix.
I think the capitalists could indeed be compelled to cast more crumbs, if not pearls, before those whom they consider swine. If David Brooks is starting to talk that way, then perhaps the billionaire class, as Bernie calls them, have noticed that the galley slaves are beginning to grumble. But Thomas Piketty's global analysis is not encouraging in this regard.