The mismeasure of Capital

A response to McCloskey


  • Steven Pressman Colorado State University, United States



income inequality, McCloskey, Piketty, redistribution, wealth inequality


This paper is a response to Deirdre McCloskey's review essay, published recently in this journal, of Thomas Piketty's Capital in the twenty-first century. It argues that McCloskey has set up a number of straw men to attack. Furthermore, her three main arguments against Piketty are flawed. McCloskey wants human capital to be added to Piketty's measure of wealth; she contends that Piketty does not understand the supply-response mechanism; and she accuses Piketty of focusing on the wrong problem—inequality rather than poverty. This paper explains why these are all bad arguments.

Author Biography

Steven Pressman, Colorado State University, United States

Steven Pressman is professor of economics at Colorado State University, in Fort Collins, Colorado, and emeritus professor of economics and finance at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, New Jersey. In addition, he serves as North American editor of the Review of Political Economy, and as associate editor of the Eastern Economic Journal. His main research areas are poverty and income distribution, post-Keynesian macroeconomics, and the history of economic thought. Over the past three decades, Pressman has published more than 150 articles in refereed journals and as book chapters, and has authored or edited 17 books, including Understanding Piketty’s Capital in the 21st century (Routledge, 2015), A new guide to post keynesian economics (Routledge, 2001), Alternative theories of the state (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006), and Fifty major economists (Routledge, 2013), which has reached its third edition and has been translated into five different languages.




How to Cite

Pressman, S. (2016). The mismeasure of Capital: A response to McCloskey. Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics, 9(2), 145–166.