Summary of Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty | Includes Analysis
Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century is a study of inequity, both historically and in the present. The book describes how the concentration of wealth has changed over time. Its central thesis is that return on capital is greater than growth over time, which means that capital and inequality inevitably increase. The book also considers the ways governments might address the increasing concentration of wealth in the future.
Many economists have argued that increasing worker productivity in the modern era will inevitably result in reduced inequality. The historical record suggests that this is untrue. For most of history, there has been a huge gap between the rich and poor with no real middle class.
That changed in developed countries during the twentieth century for a number of reasons. First, two world wars caused massive shocks to the status quo and resulted in severe losses to many holders of capital.
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Nicely structured summaries give a clear picture of how money works to create and maintain economic inequality. It interestingly does not pose any practical solutions to what the author describes as a political issue. If money is a political and not an economic issue then a political solution is what would seem to be needed. But none is suggested. Who then will possibly come forward to advance one? Market Capitalism and Economic Rationalism would appear to require a political breaking system, apparently from the beneficiaries of the problem! Guess that's not likely to happen any time soon. It is more than a little disturbing to think that some form of extremism may be the only way out!
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