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Book Summary: What are the grand dynamics that drive the accumulation and distribution of capital? Questions about the long-term evolution of inequality, the concentration of wealth, and the prospects for economic growth lie at the heart of political economy. But satisfactory answers have been hard to find for lack of adequate data and clear guiding theories. In this work the author analyzes a unique collection of data from twenty countries, ranging as far back as the eighteenth century, to uncover key economic and social patterns. His findings transform debate and set the agenda for the next generation of thought about wealth and inequality. He shows that modern economic growth and the diffusion of knowledge have allowed us to avoid inequalities on the apocalyptic scale predicted by Karl Marx. But we have not modified the deep structures of capital and inequality as much as we thought in the optimistic decades following World War II. The main driver of inequality--the tendency of returns on capital to exceed the rate of economic growth--today threatens to generate extreme inequalities that stir discontent and undermine democratic values if political action is not taken. But economic trends are not acts of God. Political action has curbed dangerous inequalities in the past, the author says, and may do so again. This original work reorients our understanding of economic history and confronts us with sobering lessons for today.
Book Summary: The main driver of inequality—returns on capital that exceed the rate of economic growth—is again threatening to generate extreme discontent and undermine democratic values. Thomas Piketty’s findings in this ambitious, original, rigorous work will transform debate and set the agenda for the next generation of thought about wealth and inequality.
Book Summary: An introduction to Thomas Piketty’s monumental work US Nobel Prize–winner Paul Krugman described Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century as “perhaps the most important book of the last decade.” It has sparked major international debates, dominated bestseller lists and generated a level of enthusiasm—as well as intense criticism—in a way no other economic or sociological work has in a long time. Piketty has been described as a new Karl Marx and placed in the same league as the economist John Maynard Keynes. The “rock star economist’s” underlying thesis is that inequality under capitalism has reached dramatic levels in the last few decades and continues to grow—and that this is not by chance. A small elite is making itself richer and richer and acquiring everincreasing levels of power. Given the sensational reception of Piketty’s not-so-easily digested 800-page study, the question as to where the hype around the book comes from deserves to be asked. What does it get right? And what should we make of it—both of the book itself and of the criticism it has received? This introduction lays out the argument of Piketty’s monumental work in a compact and understandable format, while also investigating the controversies Piketty has stirred up. In addition, the two authors demonstrate the limits, contradictions and errors of the so-called Piketty revolution.
Book Summary: Thomas Piketty's book Capital in the 21st Century has already attracted more serious attention than any economics book published in the last seventy-five years. This collection of 17 essays by some of the world's most prominent economists explores Piketty's book at depth and from various vantage points. Here is what economists around the world are already saying about this book. "Marx's Capital is strong on theory but, it detractors allege, weak on data. In a dialectic worthy of Hegel himself, the critics assembled here argue that Piketty's Capital stands opposite to Marx's, as strong on data but weak on theory. This combination--plus its exquisite timing--explains it critical acclaim. The juxtaposition of economic stagnation and obscene inequality in the aftermath of the financial crisis made it impossible for mainstream economists to continue ignoring inequality, let alone applauding it as they have done for so long. Piketty made it possible for them to acknowledge it without abandoning their comforting but false mainstream theories of capitalism. These authors in this volume applaud Piketty for his contribution to empirical knowledge, but reject his views on how this inequality came about. The true Capital for the 21st century is still yet to be written." - Steve Keen, Kingston University, London "Neoclassical economics spawned a utopian belief in capitalism with unregulated market forces. Thomas Piketty's empirical analysis has dealt a fatal blow to that belief by highlighting the recent huge redistributions of income and wealth to the ultra-rich. This raises a fundamental question for people around the world: How do we achieve a better world through economic policies? This global collection addresses that question and explores theoretical explanations for Piketty's empirical findings." - Ping Chen, Fudan University and Peking University, China "Are the theoretical explanations proposed by Thomas Piketty of the rising inequalities valid? What is the meaning of his first and second "laws" of capitalism? This book is indispensable for anyone seeking answers to these questions." - Andre Orlean, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris "By examining Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century from different angles, the 18 contributors to this invaluable book add enormously to our understanding of inequality and of policy options for reducing it. They point to the lack of a distinction between rentier income and earned income, to the severe limits of marginal productivity theory that Piketty employs and to the utopian nature of Piketty's only suggested remedy. - Norbert Haering, Economics Editor, Handelsblatt, Germany "Piketty's book Capital in the Twentieth Century served the cause of drawing the world's attention to inequality under capitalism in the long haul, based on a fresh and innovative look at new evidence. This book serves that cause even better by focusing on the inadequacies of Piketty's analysis of the processes and mechanisms leading to that inequality, and, therefore, on what needs to be done to address it." - C. P. Chandrasekhar, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi "Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century was the publishing sensation of 2104, focussing the world's attention on the huge and continuing growth in inequality that poses a serious economic, political and social threat to us all. In this important new book, 18 economists from Europe, North America and Asia offer sympathetic but critical appraisals of Piketty's theoretical framework, his empirical analysis and his radical policy proposals. This is not the last word on Piketty - whatever could be? - but it is indispensable reading for everyone who is interested in one of the most important challenges of our time." - John King, La Trobe University, Australia
Book Summary: Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century showed that capitalism, left to itself, generates deepening inequality. In this audacious follow-up, he challenges us to revolutionize how we think about ideology and history, exposing the ideas that have sustained inequality since premodern times and outlining a fairer economic system.
Book Summary: Condensed into a detailed analysis and a selection of continent-wide datasets, this revised edition of World Population & Human Capital in the Twenty-First Century addresses the role of educational attainment in global population trends and models. Presenting the full chapter text of the original edition alongside a concise selection of data, it summarizes past trends in fertility, mortality, migration, and education, and examines relevant theories to identify key determining factors. Deriving from a global survey of hundreds of experts and five expert meetings on as many continents, World Population & Human Capital in the Twenty-First Century: An Overview emphasizes alternative trends in human capital, new ways of studying ageing and the quantification of alternative population, and education pathways in the context of global sustainable development. It is an ideal companion to the county specific online Wittgenstein Centre Data Explorer.
Book Summary: Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century has been hailed as a masterpiece, making a powerful case that wealth inequality is not an accident, but rather an inherent feature of capitalism. But how many of us who bought or borrowed the book have read more than a fraction of its 700+ pages? And how many of Piketty's groundbreaking ideas have gone unappreciated, all for want of intellectual stamina? In this handy volume, Jesper Roine – whose own work was relied upon by Piketty – explains in clear and accessible prose the key concepts behind, and controversies surrounding, Piketty's landmark work.
Book Summary: Thomas Piketty is a fine example of an evaluative thinker. In Capital in the Twenty-First Century, he not only provides detailed and sustained explanations of why he sees existing arguments relating to income and wealth distribution as flawed, but also gives us very detailed evaluations of the significance of a vast amount of data explaining why incomes is distributed in the ways it is. As Piketty stresses, “the distribution question... deserves to be studied in a systematic and methodical fashion.” This stress on evaluating the significance of data leads him to focus on the central evaluative questions, and look in turn at the acceptability, relevance, and adequacy of existing justifications for the unequal distribution of wealth. In doing so, Piketty applies his understanding of the data to answering the deeply important question of what political structures and what policies are necessary to move us towards a more equal society. Piketty’s evaluation of the data supports his argument that inequality cannot be depended on to reduce over time: indeed, without government intervention, it is highly likely to increase. In addition, he evaluates international data to argue that poor countries do not necessarily become less poor as a result of foreign investment. This strong emphasis on the interrogation of data, rather than the building mathematical models that are divorced from data, is a defining feature of Piketty’s work.