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Capital, Ideology, and the Liberal Order

  • Nick Cowen EMAIL logo and Vincent Geloso
From the journal Analyse & Kritik


Thomas Piketty’s Capital and Ideology (2020) offers a powerful critique of ideological justifications for inequality in capitalist societies. Does this mean we should reject capitalist institutions altogether? This paper defends some aspects of capitalism by explaining the epistemic function of market economies and their ability to harness capital to meet the needs of the relatively disadvantaged. We support this classical liberal position with reference to empirical research on historical trends in inequality that challenges some of Piketty’s interpretations of the data. Then we discuss the implications of this position in terms of limits on the efficacy of participatory governance within firms and the capacity of the state to levy systematic taxes on wealth.

Corresponding author: Nick Cowen, College of Social Science, University of Lincoln, Lincoln, UK, E-mail:


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Published Online: 2021-12-22
Published in Print: 2021-11-25

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