Capital in the Twenty-First Century

Summer 2014

Capital in the Twenty-First Century

by Thomas Piketty

Based on analysis of three centuries of data, Piketty shows that modern day capitalism tends to entrench inequality

An economics bestseller by a rock star economist, Piketty’s work has undoubtedly struck a raw nerve about the distribution of income and wealth being delivered in modern economies.

The core argument is that rising inequality is undermining capitalism. Specifically that with slowing economic growth in rich countries we are moving towards an inheritance-based system that is incompatible with a competitive economy and even a well-functioning democracy.

It is the wealth of data that the author brings to bear on the subject that is the strength of the book. Even as his preferred remedy for rising inequality, a progressive global wealth tax, has been criticised for being unrealistic, it is enlightening to discover that for much of the 1950s and 60s the top rate of income tax in America was over 90%.

The book carries echoes of Marx, even beyond its title, but this is not a communist manifesto. Piketty is strongly in favour of market forces as a means of promoting innovation and higher living standards.

This is a work of remarkable scale and ambition. And one that fully merits being read with an open-mind. As Andy Haldane, Chief Economist at the Bank of England, has put it: “enough has already been said and written about a book bought by many, read by few and understood by even fewer”

This is a unique website which will require a more modern browser to work! Please upgrade today!