Friday, May 30, 2014

Simon Wren-Lewis — What the Financial Times got (very) wrong

 So the mistake the Financial Times made was not that they allowed one of their best investigative journalists to look at Piketty’s spreadsheets (which Piketty had, to his great credit, made publicly available). As I said in my earlier post, a FT article that looked at the alternative sources for UK wealth inequality data, and questioned the idea that wealth inequality was inevitably rising in most countries, would have been an interesting piece. [1] The paper’s mistake was to write the story as an exposé.   

Why did the Financial Times want to run a ‘gotcha’ piece in the first place? Of course Piketty has become something of a celebrity, and tabloids love to knock celebrities down. But the FT is no tabloid, and to think it was just about celebrity may be politically naive. As Henry Farrell and Mike Konczal noted in a typically acute pair of posts, a focus on inequality as a central issue in economics is very threatening to some, and many of those who feel threatened will read the Financial Times.
Headline: Oxford professor calls the Financial Times political hacks.

Mainly Macro
What the Financial Times got (very) wrong
Simon Wren-Lewis | Professor of Economics, Oxford University

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