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Honoré de Balzac - The Guardian's Economic Guru

Scott Walker's real agenda in Wisconsin | Michael Hudson and Jeffrey Sommers | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk

Economics textbooks, along with Fox News and shout radio commentators, spread the myth that fortunes are gained productively by investing in capital equipment and employing labour to produce goods and services that people want to buy.
One need only to turn to the 19th-century novelists such as Balzac to be reminded that behind every family fortune lies a great theft, often long-forgotten or even undiscovered.

Honoré de Balzac was a highly conservative Royalist; in many ways, he is the antipode to Victor Hugo's democratic republicanism. Nevertheless, his keen insight regarding working class conditions earned him the esteem of many Socialists and Marxists. He was the favorite writer of Engels.

An old dead French playwright is a better economics teacher than the textbooks. I think that is the problem of letting Guardian columnists loose with their crayons on anything other than the arts pages.

Comments

When I read the line "behind every family fortune lies a great theft, often long-forgotten or even undiscovered" I immediately thought of the Kennedy family. Old Joe made his fortune running scotch whisky during prohibition. But wait! The Kennedy's weren't Republican so I guess they don't count.

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