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Thomas Piketty

Translated by Arthur Goldhammer: Harvard Univ. Press, Cambridge, 1014, 685 pgs., index, end notes, tables, illustrations


Reviewer comments: This is a very interesting and important book. It is about much more than what is described in the press reviews I have read. The author is a French economist. Yes, the book is about economics and is full of the typical graphs, equations and econometric material so popular with economists today. But it's about much more - political/economy in its fullest meaning. Actually it is about public policy. The author takes for granted the status quo of what he terms the 'social state' what I would call the 'welfare state'. This is very reasonable as he is convinced or presumes that this established political structure is not about to change. His thesis is that under uncontrolled conditions capital is increasing more rapidly and greater than income and the result is to greatly increase the gulf between the tiny wealthy people and the mass of the poor people. But his thesis is obviously pre-arranged to support his political agenda, which is much more taxation especially for anyone either with income or even witl acrued wealth above average. He is a typical egalitarian who would use political force to make everyone equal.

Now I have a copy of a great analytical rejoinder book by Jean-Philippe Delsol and others titled Anti-Piketty. It describes the falicies and purposeful manipulations of data by Mr. Piketty much better than I can. So I will defer for the moment from a detailed study of the book. Just read Delsol.




Part One- Income and Capital


Chapter 1 - Income and Output


Chapter 2 - Growth, Illusions and Realities


Part Two: The Dynamics of the Capital/Income Ratio


Chapter 3 - The Metamorphoses of Capital


Chapter 4 - From Old Europe to the New World


Chapter 5 - The Capital/Income Ratio over the Long Run


Chapter 6 - The Capital-Labor Split in the Twenty-First Century


Part Three - The Structure of Inequality


Chapter 7 - Inequality and Concentration: Preliminary Bearings


Chapter 8 - Two Worlds


Chapter 9 - Inequality of Labor Income


Chapter 10 - Inequality of Capital Ownership


Chapter 11 - Merit and Inheritance in the Long Run


Chapter 12 - Global Inequality of Wealth in the Twenty-First Century


Part Four: Regulating Capital in the Twenty-First Century


Chapter 13 - A Social State for the Twenty-First Century


Chapter 14 - Rethinking the Progressive Income Tax


Chapter 15 - A Global Tax on Capital


Chapter 16 - The Question of the Public Debt




Return to Xenophon.