In Capital and Ideology, Thomas Piketty poses the intriguing thesis that ideology, or ideas about how society should be governed, is a powerful determinant for how society will be governed-as long as we take advantage of historical switch points. In this review essay I challenge this thesis by pointing out that many powerful ideas have run aground because of countervailing institutional arrangements. Oftentimes, they are leftovers from earlier times that precede the change and are now strategically employed for reconstituting private wealth. Clearly, ideology and institutions are deeply intertwined. I credit Piketty for putting ideology on the map of institutionalists in history, political sciences, sociology, and law. I therefore call for more research on the interaction of ideas and institutions.
Ideology and Institutions in the Evolution of Capital,
Analyse & Kritik
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