a review of Thomas Piketty, Capital in the Twenty-First Century (Harvard University Press, 2014)
by Frank Pasquale
Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century has succeeded both commercially and as a work of scholarship. Capital‘s empirical research is widely praised among economists—even by those who disagree with its policy prescriptions. It is also the best-selling book in the century-long history of Harvard University Press, and a rare work of scholarship to reach the top spot on Amazon sales rankings.
Capital‘s main methodological contribution is to bring economic, sociological, and even literary perspectives to bear in a work of economics. The book bridges positive and normative social science, offering strong policy recommendations for increased taxation of the wealthiest. It is also an exploration of historical trends. In Capital, fifteen years of careful archival research culminate in a striking thesis: capitalism exacerbates inequality over time. There…
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