Cover: Capital in the Twenty-First Century, from Harvard University PressCover: Capital in the Twenty-First Century in PAPERBACK

Capital in the Twenty-First Century

In May 2020 a full-length documentary film based on Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century opened via virtual screenings at independent theaters across the United States. Watch the Trailer »

“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

“The book aims to revolutionize the way people think about the economic history of the past two centuries. It may well manage the feat.”—The Economist

“Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century is an intellectual tour de force, a triumph of economic history over the theoretical, mathematical modeling that has come to dominate the economics profession in recent years.”—Steven Pearlstein, Washington Post

“Piketty has written an extraordinarily important book…In its scale and sweep it brings us back to the founders of political economy.”—Martin Wolf, Financial Times

“A sweeping account of rising inequality…Piketty has written a book that nobody interested in a defining issue of our era can afford to ignore.”—John Cassidy, New Yorker

“Stands a fair chance of becoming the most influential work of economics yet published in our young century. It is the most important study of inequality in over fifty years.”—Timothy Shenk, The Nation

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.

Read an excerpt from the Introduction »

Also Available As

Jacket: Capital in the Twenty-First Century

HARDCOVER | $39.95

ISBN 9780674430006

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Awards & Accolades

  • A New York Times #1 Best Seller
  • A Boston Globe Best Seller • A Chicago Tribune Best Seller • A Los Angeles Times #1 Best Seller • An NPR Best Seller • A San Francisco Chronicle #1 Best Seller • A Sunday Times Best Seller • A USA Today Best Seller

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