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Capital in the Twenty-First Century

Thomas Piketty

Translated by Arthur Goldhammer

ISBN 9780674430006

Publication date: 04/15/2014

A New York Times #1 Bestseller
An Amazon #1 Bestseller
A Wall Street Journal #1 Bestseller
A USA Today Bestseller
A Sunday Times Bestseller
A Guardian Best Book of the 21st Century
Winner of the Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award
Winner of the British Academy Medal
Finalist, National Book Critics Circle Award

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 Capital in the Twenty-First Century, Thomas Piketty 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 will transform debate and set the agenda for the next generation of thought about wealth and inequality.

Piketty 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. But economic trends are not acts of God. Political action has curbed dangerous inequalities in the past, Piketty says, and may do so again.

A work of extraordinary ambition, originality, and rigor, Capital in the Twenty-First Century reorients our understanding of economic history and confronts us with sobering lessons for today.

Praise

  • It seems safe to say that Capital in the Twenty-First Century, the magnum opus of the French economist Thomas Piketty, will be the most important economics book of the year—and maybe of the decade.

    —Paul Krugman, New York Times

Awards

  • 2015, Winner of the PROSE Awards
  • 2015, Winner of the Arthur Ross Book Award

Author

  • Thomas Piketty is Professor at École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) and the Paris School of Economics and Codirector of the World Inequality Lab.

Book Details

  • 704 pages
  • 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Belknap Press

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