From my review of Thomas Piketty in Taki’s Magazine:
One of the surprises in Thomas Piketty’s best seller Capital in the Twenty-First Century is how grating the Frenchman’s prose style turns out to be.
Granted, Piketty has valid reasons for being perpetually outraged at his fellow economists’ ignorance and cupidity. … So Piketty’s peevishness is hardly unreasonable. But across 685 pages his irritability and arrogance start to sound like a 2002 Jonah Goldberg parody of Gallic intellectual stridency (perhaps mixed with Teutonic pedantry). To pick an example at random, on p. 85 Piketty dismisses some dubious bit of Information Age hype with his characteristic overkill:
“The plain fact is that this argument is often used to justify extreme inequalities and to defend the privileges of the winners without much consideration for the losers, much less for the facts, and without any real effort to verify whether this convenient principle can actually explain the changes we observe. I will come back to this point.”
The rare occasions when Piketty attempts to sound modest are comic in their insincerity and didacticism:
“To be frank, I know virtually nothing about exactly how Carlos Slim or Bill Gates became rich, and I am quite incapable of assessing their relative merits. Nevertheless, it seems to me that Bill Gates also profited from a virtual monopoly on operating systems …”
(By the way, Piketty appears to believe that Slim, who is the second largest shareholder of the New York Times, is a victim of “Western ethnocentrism.”)
Read the whole thing there.