From Michael Barone at National Review- Equality at the Expense of Prosperity:

Economist Tyler Cowen takes issue with another of Piketty’s assumptions, that the rich can earn 4 to 5 percent on their wealth “automatically, with the mere passage of time, rather than as the result of strategic risk-taking.” The French economist,Cowen says, has “a notion of capital as a growing, homogeneous blob” when in fact “sudden reversals and retrenchments are inevitable.”

Piketty concedes this is true for people with ordinary incomes. He opposes personal investment accounts in Social Security because there is too much risk of making bad investments. His assumption that wealthy investors face no similar risks may have seemed plausible in the generation after World War II, when the Fortune 500 list of major companies remained remarkably stable. But it has made little sense in recent years, when General Motors has gone bankrupt and Google, founded in 1998, is one of the world’s most highly valued companies.


Piketty wants it both ways- capital growth is faster than wage growth- yet he feels capital investment is too risky for private social security accounts.  He wants to deny the working people the inevitable advantage of capital.