I have some paragraphs for your ... I'm not sure. Really, these are just the oddest paragraphs.
From _Succeeding with Difficult Clients: Applications of Cognitive Appraisal Therapy_:
"Self-pity is ubiquitous in the United States today and perhaps elsewhere as well. A society strongly influenced by the "do your own thing" and "turn on and drop out" philosophy of the 1960s, coupled with the self-centered materialism of the 1980s, now finds itself entrenched in raising generations who are spoiled and feel entitled. An increasing number of parents defer to their children or treat them like mini-adults, to be reasoned and negotiated with. Consequently, these children become selfish, entitled, antisocial, and prone to addiction.
So too has the predominant philosophy in the United States reared legions who, when they don't get their way quickly and without having to work too hard or at all, feel victimized, enraged and sorry for themselves. Moreover, these individuals not only expect that life should be easy for them, but feel intensely angry and sorry for themselves if unlimited wealth and opportunity do not just fall at their doorstep. Complaining and whining have become the national pastime, replacing baseball, a game now replete with players who whine and go on strike over their multimillion dollar contracts."
For reference purposes, the authors of the book got their start on this theory they've invented when they noticed that the parent training (teaching adults to be better parents) they were doing wasn't having the desired outcome. I have not decided whether I'll finish the book. It is deeply flawed, and far more theoretical than I had anticipated; I've been spoiled by all the CBT books I usually read.
This next bit is from Piketty, explaining how in France they view the post WW2 world so differently from in the US and the UK:
“Continental Europe and especially France have entertained considerable nostalgia for what the French call the Trente Glorieuses, the thirty years from the late 1940s to the late 1970s during which economic growth was unusually rapid. People still do not understand what evil spirit condemned them to such a low rate of growth beginning in the late 1970s. Even today, many people believe that the last thirty (soon to be thirty-five or forty) “pitiful years” will soon come to an end, like a bad dream, and things will once again be as they were.”
“In North America, there is no nostalgia for the postwar period, quite simply because the Trente Glorieuses never existed there.”
You might think that I somehow got this out of context, but I really didn't. He really thinks that in the US, we think the good years were the Reagan Revolution. Shows who he hangs out with!
Piketty in general has a rhetorical tic that goes something like this. Hey, I've got this data set! It doesn't measure what I want to use it to analyze. And it has a bunch of problems. So you can't take it too seriously. Then he takes it completely seriously. He does things like say, look, here is the price level at this point in time in this place. Here is the price level 100 plus years later. So we'll just treat the price level as the same during that entire time period. Never mind multiple wars, suspension of convertibility, sharp inflation that lasted up to a decade (occasionally more) followed by coercive deflation to reestablish the peg. None of that mattes. He also thinks assignats were like the first paper currency. And that inflation is a creature of the 20th century, and previous periods of inflation somehow don't count the same. I'm not sure why he's not counting the Yuan dynasty, but not counting the 16th century in Spain seems like a degree of Franco-centrism that's a bit much, even for a diehard Parisian. (He does qualify his assertion by later saying "This was the case in all countries for which we possess long-run price series". Which is like, not very many, and nothing back before the late 18th century. But then why overstate in the first place? Just put the qualifiers on up front.)
Piketty, like Reinhart and Rogoff, seemed to think that US and UK monetary policy in the immediate post crash era was likely to lead to higher than 2% inflation.
Tell me again why this guy is such a hero of the left? Because he _sounds_ like a gold bug and one of those kooky inflationistas we so love making fun of because they were so relentlessly wrong for so many years in predicting increasing inflation.