Academic journal article ETC.: A Review of General Semantics

Thomas Piketty. Capital in the Twenty-First Century

Academic journal article ETC.: A Review of General Semantics

Thomas Piketty. Capital in the Twenty-First Century

Article excerpt

Thomas Piketty. Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Cambridge, MA: Belknap/Harvard, 2014.

Modern economic growth and the diffusion of knowledge have helped the developed countries stave off apocalyptic fiscal inequalities. But such inequalities are getting worse and the rich are getting richer, as r (the rate of capital appreciation) continues to outpace g (growth in the economy). And this trend does not look like it is about to end any time soon. Enter Thomas Piketty, a professor at the Paris School of Economics and the author of Capital in the Twenty-First Century.

Using a plethora of data, Piketty argues the meritocratic values of democracy are being undermined by super-manager salaries (super-managers earn more than 500 times what shop workers earn) and inherited wealth (where birth matters more than labor or talent). With respect to the latter, Piketty offers dialogue from Honore de Balzac's novel Pere Goriot (1853), where the worldly Vautrin tells young, ambitious Rastignac that unless he can claw his way to becoming one of the five richest lawyers in Paris, Rastignac ought to seriously consider marrying up. …

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