A landmark in contemporary social science, this pioneering work by Thomas Piketty explains the facts and dynamics of income inequality in France in the twentieth century. On its publication in French in 2001, it helped launch the international program led by Piketty and others to explore the grand patterns and causes of global inequality—research that has since transformed public debate. Appearing here in English for the first time, this stunning achievement will take its place alongside Capital in the Twenty-First Century as a modern classic of economic analysis.
Top Incomes in France in the Twentieth Century is essential in part because of Piketty’s unprecedented efforts to uncover, untangle, and present in clear form data about patterns in tax and inheritance in France dating back to 1900. But it is also an exceptional work of analysis, tracking and explaining with Piketty’s characteristically lucid prose the effects of political conflict, war, and social change on the economic pressures and public policies that determined the lives of millions. A work of unusual intellectual power and ambition, Top Incomes in France in the Twentieth Century is a vital resource for anyone concerned with the economic, political, and social history of France, and it is central to ongoing debates about social justice, inequality, taxation, and the evolution of capitalism around the world.
In light of Piketty’s history, every part of Hayek’s argument now looks doubtful…The tremendous amount of data he gathers and analyzes (from tax rates to the price of butter) point to unavoidable conclusions. High taxes on income and inheritances can keep inequality in check, or even make it fall…Inequality is not incomprehensible or uncontrollable. It is the result of political decisions…Piketty makes clear, at great length, exactly what would stem the tide.
Thomas Piketty’s Top Incomes in France in the Twentieth Century is in many ways a precursor to his famous Capital in the Twenty-First Century, a pioneering book in the methodological sense with empirical analysis that provides the core around which political and economic developments in France are woven and discussed.
Top Incomes in France is simply unavoidable for anyone wanting to understand the historical evolution of inequality in France, and it is the groundwork without which Capital would be nonexistent.
Top Incomes in France in the Twentieth Century provides an important, detailed, and analytically insightful discussion of the political and legislative history of taxation in France. This book will be of tremendous value to all those interested in issues of social justice, inequality, taxation, and the evolution of capitalism.
A door-stopping work of economic history.
- 1280 pages
- 6-3/8 x 9-1/4 inches
- Belknap Press
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