Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Financial Times Explains Its Vicious Crypto-fascist, Puppies-in-a-Blender Attack on Thomas Piketty

A repost this morning had the line
If you read the comments on some of her gold posts from 2012-2013 you'd come away with the impression she practiced some debauched puppies-in-a-blender Ilse Koch/Cruella deVil cultism....
And I remembered how much I liked the over-the-top turn-of-phrase complete with hyphens.

From The Financial Times' Money Supply blog:

Follow up on problems in “Capital in the 21st Century”
Ever since the Financial Times wrote articles pointing to data problems in professor Thomas Piketty’s best selling book, there has been quite a heated reaction online and in print. In this post, I will give what I hope are some more relevant details, address a few misunderstandings and reply to some of the very legitimate questions that have been raised over the past few days.
For those that do not like lists, I apologise because this is something of a long list.

Many people online have suggested that the articles were a premeditated attack on professor Piketty, with suggestions that the FT’s motives were in making a splash or pursuing a political agenda. While the FT likes making a splash – it is a news organisation – the true motivation is much more mundane and clearly documented. On 15 May, Britain’s Office for National Statistics released data on wealth inequalities and editors asked me for an international comparison. I reached for prof Piketty’s book as a reference guide, but realised I could not use its comparisons because the British data he used were so different from the ones in the ONS study. In Capital in the 21st Century, the estimate of the top 10 per cent wealth share in 2010 for Britain was 71 per cent; the ONS data put the number at 44 per cent. Without much time, I wrote that the discrepancy raised “questions over the reliability of both Mr Piketty’s and the ONS’s calculations”. Over the next week I dug deeper in order to answer the questions I had raised but failed to answer at the time.

FT procedures
Many people have asked me whether the Financial Times gave prof Piketty sufficient detail of the reporting we planned and sufficient time to respond. The FT sent this detailed email containing all the apparent errors and the thrust of our proposed reporting at 18.37 on Thursday 22 May, requesting a response by 15.00 the next day. Prof Piketty did not ask for any extra time. He replied at 10.59 on Friday 23, May, well before the deadline we set with the response the FT published in full....MORE