In conversation with Jared Bernstein, Thomas Edsall, and Victoria de Grazia
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French economist Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century,published in French in Fall 2013 and just translated into English (Harvard University Press), will reorient our understanding of economic history and transform the debate about wealth and inequality. Piketty's ambitious and original work analyzes historic data on capital and income distribution over the past three centuries from more than twenty countries to argue that the main driver of inequality is the tendency of returns on capital to exceed the rate of economic growth. As a result, the inequality of incomes and the preponderance of capital over work in the accumulation of wealth are, especially in the US, at historical highs, undermining our core democratic values. Because inequality is a global phenomenon, Piketty proposes a worldwide solution: a global tax on wealth combined with higher rates of tax on the largest incomes.
The book has generated considerable talk among economists and policymakers: Paul Krugman says it will be "the most important economics book of the year — and maybe of the decade, " and Branko Milanovic, an economist in the World Bank’s research department, declared that "we are in the presence of one of the watershed books in economic thinking."
Event co-sponsored by the Blinken European Institute and Maison Française of Columbia University